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PROPERTY

Housing in Austria: Where are prices steady – and where are they on the rise?

Since 2015, the cost of housing in Austria - whether that be in an apartment, house or for vacant land for building - has been on the rise. Here’s where costs have risen - and by how much.

Housing in Austria: Where are prices steady - and where are they on the rise?
Where are house prices on the rise in Austria? Photo: Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

With its stunning alpine scenery, Habsburg-era architecture and opportunities for winter sports and summer hiking, Austria is a great place to live.

House, apartment and land prices reflect that, with prices for all soaring in the past five years, according to data recently released from Statistics Austria.

So which federal states are seeing the largest increases in house and apartment costs and where can you pick up land to build your own property for the cheapest price?

Before you get too excited though, a word of warning.

The statistics show across Austria house prices increased on average by around 26 percent and apartment prices by 36 percent between 2015 and 2020, meaning it’s getting harder to find a bargain.

Apartments

Apartment prices have rocketed in Lower Austria (54.4 percent) and Upper Austria (52.5) between 2015 and 2020, but most of all in Vorarlberg, where they have risen by an enormous 55 percent over five years. Styria saw the smallest increase over five years, of just 27 percent.

READ MORE: Is it better to buy or to rent property in Austria?

Houses

House prices in all federal states increased between 2015 and 2020.

The largest increases were in Tyrol (53 percent) and Vorarlberg (66 percent) while Styria had the smallest increase of just 18 percent.

Building land

Land suitable for building on actually slightly dipped in price across Austria between 2015 and 2010. In Burgenland land cost around seven percent less to buy in 2020 than five years previously.

However, the picture was very different in Vorarlberg, where the cost of land increased by 46 percent between 2015 and 2020 and in Vienna where it increased by 38 percent. 

Here’s a breakdown of the changes in prices on a state-by-state basis, with reference to houses, apartments and vacant land suitable for building. 

Burgenland

Beautiful Burgenland is one of the cheapest places in Austria to buy property, as the Local has previously reported.

See the following link for more information. 

READ MORE: Where is the cheapest place to buy property in Austria?

However, as always with property, location is everything, with prices increasing the closer you get to Austria’s capital. This means  it is far more expensive to buy in the Eisenstadt area, for example, than in Burgenland’s cheapest district, Güssing.

Across Burgenland house prices actually increased by 21 percent between 2015 and 2020. Apartment prices rose by 31 percent.

Following the national trend, land for building decreased in value by seven percent.

Carinthia

Famed for its gorgeous lakes and proximity to Slovenia, Carinthia has also seen its house prices rise. An apartment in Carinthia cost 31 percent more in 2020 than it did in 2015, while a house rose by 26 percent in the same period. However, the cost of buying land to build on fell by five percent.

Lower Austria

As the Local has reported before, Lower Austria includes some of the cheapest properties in Austria, mostly found close to the border with the Czech Republic.

As in Burgenland, prices rise as you get closer to Vienna. There were increases in land prices (four percent), house prices (29 percent) and apartment prices (a whopping 54 percent) from 2015 to 2020.

READ MORE: Can foreigners buy property in Austria?

Upper Austria

Upper Austria is a similar picture to Lower Austria in terms of house price increases. Land prices rose by 6.7 percent, house prices by 34 percent and apartment prices by 53 percent from 2015 to 2020.

Salzburg

In 2020 Salzburg was the third most expensive state in Austria to buy a house or an apartment, making it relatively more affordable than in 2015, when it was the second most expensive state in Austria. Since 2018 Salzburg has been overtaken by Vorarlberg in terms of property prices.

From 2015, Salzburg’s land values increased by 18 percent, house prices by 40 percent and apartment prices by 28 percent over a five year period.

A house in the countryside in Austria. Photo: Harry Dona on Unsplash.

Styria

Beautiful Styria remains relatively more affordable compared to neighbouring Salzburg.  Its house prices are less than half of those in Salzburg, although it the cost of buying increased by 18 percent between 2015 and 2020. Its apartments saw price inflation of 27 percent over the same period. Land prices stayed the same.

Tyrol

Tyrol is one of the most sought-after places to buy a house in Austria, and has some of its highest property prices. As The Local has previously reported, in 2020, properties in Innsbruck reached an average price of €6,170  per square meter according to figures from Immowelt.

Statistics Austria notes in Tyrol, a buyer would have to pay €467,000 for an average house with a living space of 140 square meters on a 661 square meter property.

House prices rose here by a huge 53 percent and apartment prices by 36 percent between 2015 and 2020.

Vorarlberg

Vorarlberg property prices are booming. This state had the largest increase in land prices in Austria (46 percent) as well as the largest increase in house prices (65.8). The cost of an apartment also soared, rising by 55 percent from 2015 to 2020, making this state the second most expensive in Austria to buy property.

Vienna

Austria’s capital Vienna has the most expensive property prices in Austria, in terms of land, apartments and houses.

It has also seen some of the largest price rises between 2015 and 2020. In 2020 land cost 38 percent more than in 2015, an apartment increased on average by 36 percent and a house by 34 percent.

REVEALED: The best districts to live in Vienna

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PROPERTY

EXPLAINED: The rules for buying property in Graz as a foreigner

Buying property as an international resident in Austria is not a standard process across the country, and there is a key difference in the Styrian city of Graz.

EXPLAINED: The rules for buying property in Graz as a foreigner

Graz is Austria’s second largest city (after the capital, Vienna) and attracts people from all over the world to live and work.

But what about buying property as a foreigner in Graz? What are the rules?

Here’s what you need to know before jumping into the property market in the Styrian capital city. 

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: Property buying rules for international residents in Austria

Who is classed as a foreigner in Austria?

Foreign nationals are defined by the Austrian Federal Government as those that do not have Austrian citizenship.

However, when it comes to buying property, there are varying rules for different foreigners, mostly depending on whether someone is from an EU country or not (rather than whether they have an Austrian passport). 

Property buying rules for EU and EEA citizens in Austria

In Austria, it’s relatively easy for citizens from EU and EEA countries and Switzerland to buy property as a foreigner.

This is because these citizens are granted the same rights as Austrian nationals under EU law.

So this means whether you are an EU citizen already living in Graz as a resident, or you simply want to purchase an investment property in the city, it is possible.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How Austria’s new property buying rules could impact you

Austrian rules for third country nationals

In Austria, the term ‘third country nationals’ refers to anyone who is not from an EU member state, an EEA (European Economic Area) country (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Switzerland. 

For this group it usually becomes more difficult to buy a home in Austria – even for permanent residents – due to strict property buying rules.

In principle, any permanent residents from a third country in Austria have to go through an authorisation process to gain a special permit that will allow them to buy property. 

The reason for the special permit is to ensure there is sufficient housing available for Austrian citizens and to avoid surging property and land prices from interest by non-EU buyers.

But in Graz, the rules are more relaxed than the national laws, making the process much easier for foreigners wanting to invest in property in the city.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why Austria’s rising property prices are causing alarm

What is different in Graz?

The biggest difference in the rules for foreigners in Graz is that there is no requirement to gain the special permit to buy property, unlike in other provinces and cities across Austria.

This means, as long as someone is a permanent resident in Graz (and they have the funds), they can buy property – no matter where they are from.

Brits with an Article 50 card

Since Brexit became a reality in January 2021, there has been some confusion in Austria about the rights of British people to buy property in the Alpine Republic, so here’s a brief explainer.

For those in possession of an Article 50 Card – a post-Brexit residency permit that grants British people living in Austria before December 31st 2020 pre-Brexit rights – they are still treated the same as those from EU member states.

FOR MEMBERS: How can British second home owners spend more than 90 days in Austria?

This should apply across Austria and was confirmed to The Local by the British Embassy in Vienna. It was also highlighted by the UK government in its official Living in Austria guide.

As a result, there is no need for British people with an Article 50 card to apply for the special permit to purchase property in Graz, or anywhere else in Austria. 

But for any British people that have moved to Austria in post-Brexit times, they will be considered as third country nationals and subject to the rules detailed above (although not in Graz where the permit is not required).

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