Property For Members

EXPLAINED: Property buying rules for international residents in Austria

Hayley Maguire
Hayley Maguire - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: Property buying rules for international residents in Austria
Austrian house prices are slated for a drop. Photo by Datingscout on Unsplash

Austria has strict rules when it comes to foreigners buying property, but there are some key differences depending on where you are from.


Buying property is a dream come true for many and one of the most expensive purchases most people will ever make.

So it makes sense to understand the rules around buying a home in Austria, especially for those living as international residents.

Here’s what you need to know about buying property in Austria as a foreigner.

READ MORE: Tenant or landlord: Who pays which costs 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, 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 Austria as a resident, or you simply want to purchase a holiday home in Austria, it is possible.

FOR MEMBERS: REVEALED: Where in Europe have house prices and rent costs increased the most?

Property buying rules for third country nationals

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 becomes more difficult to buy property in Austria – even for permanent residents.

In principle, permanent residents from a third country have to go through an authorisation process to gain a special permit to buy property. This can take up to six months and the rules vary depending on the province (more details on this below).

To obtain a permit, applicants need to provide proof of citizenship, a valid permanent residence permit, a contract for the property, an excerpt from the property’s current listing in the Land Registry and an overview of the intended use of the property (for example, as a main home).

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 overseas buyers.

Brits with an Article 50 Card

British people currently living in Austria as a resident will come under one of two categories – those with an Article 50 Card and those without.

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. 

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

As a result, there is no need to apply for the special permit to purchase property in Austria. This was further confirmed to The Local by the British Embassy in Vienna, and the UK government recently issued a notification in its official Living in Austria guide.

But for any British people that have moved to Austria in post-Brexit times, they will be considered as third country nationals.


Regional rules within Austria

Despite the national rules for buying property in Austria, there are key differences in two major cities and some western states.

For example, in Graz, third country nationals do not need the special permit to buy a home.

Likewise, in Vienna, if a married couple is buying property and one spouse is an Austrian citizen, they do not have to go through the authorisation process to get a permit.

However, in Tyrol, which has high levels of tourism and holiday homes, only EU, EEA and Swiss nationals are allowed to buy property as a foreigner. This was highlighted in a 2021 case of a Serbian couple denied a permit to buy a house, despite living and working in Tyrol for 20 years.

For this reason, it's always a good idea to check the property buying rules for foreigners within a province before starting the process.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also