New apartment prices in Austria are highest in Europe

A new study by consulting firm Deloitte shows new apartments in Austria are the most expensive in Europe.

New apartment prices in Austria are highest in Europe
Photo by Ezequiel Garrido on Unsplash.

The Property Index shows the average square metre price for a new apartment in Austria is now €4,457 – an increase of 5.84 percent from last year.

This means a 70 square meter apartment costs an average of 10.6 times the national annual salary with the increase in prices being driven by ongoing high demand from private buyers and investors.

Gabriele Etzl, real estate expert and partner at Jank Weiler Operenyi / Deloitte Legal, said: “Despite the year of the Corona crisis, housing prices in Austria continue to rise. 

“The rising construction costs and the high attractiveness of real estate as an investment form are the main reasons for this price development.

“At the moment everything indicates that this trend will intensify in the next few months.”

READ MORE: Seven common mistakes to avoid when buying a home in Austria

The report also shows that Austria is a leader in Europe for the number of housing initiatives with 10.9 construction projects for every 1,000 inhabitants in 2020.

The Property Index by Deloitte follows the results of Austria’s real estate price index, published by the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, which revealed an increase in the cost of rent and real estate prices in 2020. 

It showed the price of homes rose by an average of 3.7 percent across the country in 2020, while apartments rose by an estimated 4.6 percent. 

Free land which could be built on rose by a much higher 7.5 percent.

The Local reported in June that house prices have increased the most in Tyrol (53 percent) and Vorarlberg (66 percent) while Styria had the smallest increase of just 18 percent.

What about elsewhere in Europe?

The Deloitte Property Index shows that in Germany, the UK and Israel, the square meter price for new apartments averages over €4,000.

However, when the prices are compared with the average earnings, Serbia is the most expensive place for a new apartment in Europe where the cost is 15 times the gross national salary.

This is followed by the Czech Republic at 12.2 times the national salary, and Slovakia and Austria at 10.6.

Ireland is the most affordable with prices at 3.1 times the national salary.

FOR MEMBERS: Can foreigners buy property in Austria?

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Can British people in Austria claim the winter fuel payment from the UK?

It’s no secret that winter is set to be expensive with rising energy costs. But some British people in Austria might be able to access financial support through the UK benefits system.

Can British people in Austria claim the winter fuel payment from the UK?

In the UK, there are various benefits available to help eligible people through the cold winter months – one of which is the winter fuel payment.

And, as the rising cost of living in Austria takes a chunk out of household budgets, some British people are wondering if they can still claim this benefit while living in Austria.

To find out, we took a closer look at the rules for claiming the winter fuel payment from the UK while overseas.

FOR MEMBERS: What are the rules about turning on the heating in the workplace in Austria?

What is the UK’s winter fuel payment?

The winter fuel payment is a tax-free payment to help older people with heating costs during the cold winter months.

Eligible people are those born on or before 25th September 1956 who were living in the UK during the qualifying week (starting the third Monday in September).

How much people receive depends on their age and whether anyone else in the household is also eligible, but the amount is usually between £100 and £300.

Those living in a care home or nursing home only qualify for the benefit if they are already receiving pension credit, income-based job seekers allowance or employment and support allowance.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What will happen to Austria’s property market in 2023?

I’m a UK national living in Austria. Can I claim the winter fuel payment?

As with most issues related to bureaucracy, the answer to the question above is: it depends.

Official guidance from the UK government states that you may be able to claim the winter fuel benefit from abroad if you are at least 68 years of age, live in Switzerland or an EEA country, have a genuine link to the UK (such as family) and you’re covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

Additionally, having previously claimed the winter fuel payment in the UK before moving abroad is not a requirement.

So, in theory, some British people living in Austria will be able to claim this benefit from the UK, as long as they were already in Austria by 31st December 2020.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How does the Austrian pension system work?

However, only those that lived and worked in the UK for most of their life can claim the winter fuel payment, according to the online checker on the UK government website. 

This means if you moved to Austria for retirement and you meet the other criteria, then you probably will be eligible. But if you lived and worked in Austria for most of your adult life, maybe not.

How to claim the winter fuel payment?

To make a claim for this benefit for the first time, you will need to call the Winter Fuel Payment hotline on +44 (0)191 218 7777. The phone lines are open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (UK time).

Alternatively, you can apply by post by filling in the IPCF091 form.

To apply for the winter fuel payment, you will need to provide your National Insurance number and bank details. The authorities will also ask for a copy of the Article 50 Card to prove that you were living in Austria by 31st December 2020.

Find out more about the application process at the UK government website.