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Property news in Austria: Numbers moving from cities to countryside rise

Property news in Austria: Numbers moving from cities to countryside rise
Image by Dimitry Anikin.
Stay up-to-date on the latest Austrian property news with The Local's weekly roundup.

Thinking of buying a house, moving house or investing? Or are you just curious about the property market in Austria? 

Here’s what you need to know this week.

Nationwide growth in real estate sales

A new report by REMAX, the largest real estate network in Austria, has revealed around 77,000 properties were sold in the first half of 2021 – an increase of 14 percent on the previous year.

The biggest drivers of growth were in Lower Austria (+2,421), Vienna (+1,828), Upper Austria (+1,324) and Carinthia (+1,220). The lowest growth was recorded in Salzburg and Styria.

REMAX suggests the increase is due to more time spent at home as a result of the pandemic and more people turning to property as an investment. 

However, in Burgenland, the increase in the number of properties sold in the first half of this year was even higher at almost 30 percent. 

But the southern Burgenland districts of Jennersdorf, Oberwart, Güssing and Oberpullendorf continue to be among the districts with the cheapest property prices in Austria. 

The most expensive retail sale in Burgenland was a retail park in Kittsee, in Neusiedl am See, for €23 million.

An increase in moving from the city to the suburbs

According to an ORF article, the demand – and prices – for homes in urban suburbs in Austria is increasing as more people seek to swap city life for the countryside.

Figures show that in 2020 more people moved from cities, such as Linz, Wels, Graz and Vienna, to the surrounding suburbs, known in Austria as “the bacon belt” (Speckgürtel), than the other way around.

For example, in 2016 more people moved to Vienna than left (+1,138), but in 2020 more people left the city than moved in (-3,431). 

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Despite the trend, Rudolf Giffinger, Head of the Urban and Regional Research Department at the Vienna University of Technology (TU), told ORF that some people may struggle to move to the countryside as financing options are “insufficient” when compared to rising prices.

Additionally, the trend of moving out of urban centres to more rural areas is cited as socioeconomic and being driven by people that can afford it, as well as those who can take advantage of new flexible working conditions.

Der Standard reports that single-family homes and plots of land are in high demand in the bacon belt, with many brokers revealing they have long lists of people searching for a new home outside of city centres.

The Graz bacon belt is also expanding – along with prices. Plots that were €25 per square metre two years ago, are now selling for €100 per square metre.

Students save money in shared apartments

A recent Immowelt survey shows that students can save around €200 per month by living in a flat share rather than renting a studio apartment up to 40 square metres.

The study looked at the rent prices for studios and shared apartments in 12 university cities, including Vienna and Innsbruck.

The results revealed students in Vienna can save €213 per month by opting for shared accommodation. In Innsbruck and Dornbirn, it was €207 a month.

However, in Steyr, Upper Austria, the saving was only €100, and in Villach, Carinthia, it was €90.

In Vienna, the average cost for a studio apartment is around €550, but a spacious apartment between 70 to 90 square metres costs around €1,010.

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