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PROPERTY

Renting in Austria: The vocab you need to understand apartment ads

Carrying out the Austrian apartment search without knowing German can be tough, but understanding these words and phrases will help you navigate the ads and find your future home.

Apartment kitchen
Even if you don't speak German, understanding just a few key phrases will simplify the apartment search significantly. Photo: Dmitry Zvolskiy/Pexels

The key details:

First, look out for apartments labelled as a Gemeindewohnnung or Genossenschaftswohnung. The former are social housing and the latter are co-operative apartments, and you can only rent these places if you have gone through the specific processes and fit the eligibility criteria. The monthly rents are often significantly cheaper than average, but there’s a reason.

When you find a place that catches your eye, take a look at the Mietdauer (duration of the rental period), which will either be befristet (time-limited, usually to either three or five years) or unbefristet (unlimited). If it’s time-limited, it may say Verlängerung möglich (extension possible). Make sure you check when it’s verfügbar (available). 

The Bautyp (type of building) will be listed as either an Altbau (built before 1955) or a Neubau (built after 1955). This detail isn’t just relevant to how the apartment looks, but also the rental law and costs that apply.

Occasionally, and particularly for short-term rentals, the apartment might note Anmeldung der Hauptwohnsitz nicht möglich (meaning it is not possible for the tenant to register the property as their main place of residence). This could cause you problems, because registration of residence is compulsory in Austria.

Apartment features

Apartments will often be classified based on how many rooms they contain, excluding the bathroom, so a 2-Zwimmer Wohnung (two-room apartment) has a bathroom, bedroom, and a living-dining room.

You should see which Stockwerk (floor) the apartment is on. Austria counts floors starting with 0 for the Erdgeschoss (ground floor), so Stockwerk 1 means you have one flight of stairs to climb.

Here are some other terms to look out for:

Balkon – balcony
Dachterrasse – roof terrace
mit Aufzug – with a lift/elevator
Einbauküche – built-in kitchen
Parkplatz – car parking space
Keller – cellar 
Waschmaschine – washing machine
Waschmachineanschluss – connection for a washing machine (this means you don’t get the appliance itself, but you should be able to have one installed easily)
Geschirrspüler – dishwasher
Elektrische Rollläden – electric blinds
Klimatisiert – with air conditioning

Some apartments may even be teilweise möbliert (partially furnished) or vollmöbliert (fully furnished), in which case it should either say precisely which items are included, or you need to ask the landlord. 

Rent:

The rental cost should be broken down into the Nettomiete (net rent), MWSt (Mehrwertsteuer or VAT) and Betriebskosten (service charges, which covers things like upkeep of the building and common areas, garbage disposal and so on), with these three costs giving you the Gesamtmiete (total rent), sometimes called Bruttomiete (gross rent).

The ad should tell you if Strom (electricity), Heizung (heating) and Gas (gas) are included.

Many landlords will also ask you to take out your own Haushaltsversicherung (household insurance).

Extra costs:

On top of your rent, expect extra costs including a Kaution (deposit), Ablöse (compulsory one-off fee to buy any furniture that you’re required to take over), and a Provision (estate agent fee) if the rental is being arranged through an agency. If you rent privately, you may be able to find an apartment that’s provisionsfrei (free of the agent’s commission).

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PROPERTY

Is now a good time to buy property in Austria?

With reports that demand for property is falling in Austria, could now be a good time to buy? We take a closer look at the data to find out.

Is now a good time to buy property in Austria?

Anyone planning to buy a home in Austria will be aware that prices and demand have been rising over the past couple of years. 

But Austrian broker association Remax is now saying that demand is falling with signs that “the market is starting to turn”.

In the first half of this year, 74,258 newly purchased properties were registered in the Austrian land register (Grundbuch). This is three percent less than during the same period in 2021, according to data from Remax.

FOR MEMBERS: IN FIGURES: Everything you need to know about who lives in Vienna

However, this figure is still 15.7 percent more than in the first half of 2019, which reflects the boom in the Austrian property market since 2020.

Also, despite the number of transactions going down this year, the value is actually up by 10.8 percent to €21.73 billion, which shows property prices are not yet coming down.

Bernhard Reikersdorfer, Managing Director of Remax Austria, said: “The growth was primarily supported by Vienna and Styria, but also by Upper and Lower Austria. 

“This means that real estate trading turnover has increased by a third in the first half of the year since 2019 and 2020, and more than doubled when compared to 2015 and before that.”

‘Inflation is driving up costs’

The Remax report says property market trends in Austria are being influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, inflation and the energy crisis. 

This has led to a change in prospects for some people, which is being seen as a drop in demand in the property market and a reduction of new construction projects on privately owned land.

READ ALSO: READER QUESTION: When should I turn on my heating in Austria this year?

Anton Nenning, Remax Austria expert, said: “Inflation is driving up the new construction costs – first through the material and now through the staff – and is now gnawing away at the equity capital saved for new acquisitions. 

“This means that many financing transactions that could be processed easily and cheaply a year ago are suddenly a case for selected experts who can still find a way even in tricky situations. For many, however, this simply means a project stop.”

As a result, the market for single family homes in Austria is heating up as they are sometimes cheaper than building a new property on private land. 

What is happening in Vienna?

Austria’s capital city remains the second best performing property region in Austria (behind Lower Austria). The value of all property sales in Vienna increased by one billion in the first six months of 2022, bringing the total to €6.68 billion.

Donaustadt is the best performing property market in Vienna with 1,903 properties sold, followed by Favoriten with 1,096. Donaustadt even overtook Graz and Kitzbühel to record the highest value in property sales.

The five largest real estate transactions in Austria also took place in Vienna during the first six months of the year. 

A plot of land (258,269 m²) in the 22nd district became the country’s most expensive property when it was sold for €86 million.

READ NEXT: Living in Austria: Is Vienna a family-friendly city?

What are the property trends outside of Vienna?

Vienna might be Austria’s capital city, but it doesn’t have the hottest property market in Austria right now. Instead, that title belongs to Salzburg and Styria.

Property sales in Styria are up by 9.2 percent and the overall transaction value has increased by 18.5 percent. In Salzburg, both sales and transaction values increased by 3.6 percent.

In the Alps though, the opposite is taking place with sales down by 10.7 percent in Vorarlberg and by 6.4 percent in Tyrol.

However, Tyrol is still recording some high prices (despite the overall decrease in sales) with the state’s most expensive property selling for €19.6 million in Kitzbühel earlier this year.

Lower Austria is currently the country’s best performing state for the number of sales, although the province recorded a decrease for the first time since 2013. 

The Remax report named Mödling as the most popular district for property in Lower Austria.

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