Cost of living: Where are rents rising fastest in Austria?

Once again the west of Austria records the highest rental prices, but where exactly are prices going up the fastest? Here's the latest data from Statistics Austria.

Cost of living: Where are rents rising fastest in Austria?
The cost of rent is rising across Austria, but where is it going up the fastest? Photo by Dimitry Anikin on Unsplash

Inflation is rising steadily in Austria and housing costs are significantly contributing to the higher cost of living – especially in Salzburg that continues to have the highest prices in Austria.

According to the latest data from Statistics Austria, the average rental price in Salzburg during the first three months of 2022 was €10.17 per sqm.

To compare, Burgenland – the region with the lowest rental prices – recorded an average of €6.57 per sqm, and the national average was €8.50.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Could Austria scrap the broker’s fee on apartment rentals?

Vienna was the fourth most expensive place for rent in Austria with the average price for a sqm at €8.79. Vorarlberg was second at €10.07 per sqm, and Tyrol was third at €9.53.

The average national monthly rent (including operating costs) in the first three months of 2022 was €567.50 for an apartment, up by 1.3 percent from Q4 in 2021, when it was €559.10.

In Q1 2021, the average national monthly rent was €551.30.

The average costs are influenced by a number of factors, such as whether the building is old or new (Altbau or Neubau) and the size of the property.

READ MORE: Why some households in Vienna are set for a gas price hike

More people living alone in Austria

The Statistics Austria data also reveals that more people are now living in single-person households.

In 2010, the share of people living alone in Austria was 36.2 percent, but in 2022 the figure was 38 percent – an equivalent of 1.5 million more single-person households.

This is significant because people living alone often have a heavier financial burden and are more impacted by rising living costs.

In Austria, 10 percent of households already spend almost half of their budget on housing, with single women over the age of 60 most affected by this.

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Austria looking to cut energy bills in old residential buildings

The Austrian government is planning to reduce gas bills for people who rent Altbau apartments, one of the measures to cushion rising prices.

Austria looking to cut energy bills in old residential buildings

Austria has plans to reduce gas bills for people renting an Altbau, or old buildings, which often fall under rent control laws.

Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) is looking into how a price reduction for gas heating could be implemented after the idea was floated by Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens), broadcaster ORF reported.

READ ALSO: ENERGY CRISIS: Will Austria have enough gas for winter?

“The tenants get a high bill but have zero leeway to change their heating system themselves,” Kogler told Austrian media.

Austria’s ÖVP leading party said there is “no ban on thinking” and any idea should be debated and evaluated.

The old residential apartments have a central heating system and tenants cannot adjust it themselves. At the same time, Kogler wants to create incentives for apartment building owners and landlords to convert to renewable heating systems.

Opposition parties divided

The SPÖ is in favour of the measures, while right-wing FPÖ says they make “tenancy law even more confusing”.

Unsurprisingly, the landowners’ association (ÖHGB) said they saw Kogler’s proposal as impractical populism. Furthermore, they complain that changing the heating source is not an easy matter in Austria, where many options, such as heat pumps or district heating, are not available everywhere.

READ ALSO: Where are energy prices going up (again) in Austria?

There are currently around 250,000 apartments in Altbau buildings, most of them in the capital Vienna, and heated with gas.

Rising energy prices

The costs of gas (and electricity) are increasing in Austria, as The Local reported. State-run distributors EVN and Wien Energie announced earlier this month that prices were set to go up as of September.

In Lower Austria, around 50 percent of EVN consumers should expect to pay at least €100 more monthly. The hike will affect those on a “classic tariff”.

READ ALSO: Five of the biggest challenges facing Austria right now

At Wien Energie, electricity prices will go up by €36 a month (based on an annual consumption of 2,000 kWh), and gas prices will increase by €60 a month (based on 8,000 kWh). However, those with a price guarantee or floating tariff will not be affected.

Austria is looking to cushion the increasing costs for its population and is working on an electricity price cap. Earlier this year, the government sent out €150 energy vouchers people could use to get a discount on their yearly energy bills.

Regionally, similar measures have already been taken, especially in Lower Austria, where a €250 million funding plan was recently announced.

Vienna has announced an extensive package with one-off payments of €200 and structural measures that will benefit more than one million residents in the Austrian capital, as The Local reported.