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Property For Members

Property buying rules for international residents in Vienna

Hayley Maguire
Hayley Maguire - [email protected]
Property buying rules for international residents in Vienna
Are international schools in Vienna worth it? Photo by Arno Senoner on Unsplash

Buying a home in another country – even as a resident – can be a tricky process. Here’s what you need to know about buying property in Vienna as a foreigner.

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Vienna is famous for having affordable housing and a stable rental market.

This is part of the reason why Austria’s capital regularly tops the best place to live lists and also why so many international residents choose to make the city their home.

But what about buying property as a foreigner in Vienna? 

Here’s what you need to know before jumping into the property market. 

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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.

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.

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So this means whether you are an EU citizen already living in Vienna as a resident, or you simply want to purchase an investment property in the city, it is possible.

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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 Vienna – even for permanent residents.

In principle, any permanent residents from a third country in Austria have to go through an authorisation process to gain a special permit to buy property

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.

But in Vienna, the rules are slightly more relaxed than the national laws, making the process easier for some Viennese residents.

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What is different in Vienna?

The rules for foreigners buying property in Austria are regulated by the Foreign Nationals’ Property Acquisition Act of each province, which is why property buying rules vary across Austria.

In Vienna, the key difference is that 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.

But for couples in Vienna where both partners are international residents, or non-EU individuals, the authorisation process still applies.

However, Vana Doranovic, an estate agent at Tristar, told The Local in a previous article: “In practice, we very often broker apartments in Vienna to non-EU citizens, and we have yet to experience a rejection from the Grundverkehrskommission.”

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Brits with an Article 50 Card

British people currently living in Vienna 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. 

As a result, there is no need to apply for the special permit to purchase property in Vienna, or anywhere else 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 Vienna in post-Brexit times, they will be considered as third country nationals and so subject to the country’s property buying rules for foreigners.

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