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Five things that will get more expensive in Austria in May

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Five things that will get more expensive in Austria in May
Austria has many lakes where water activities can be enjoyed. (Photo by Alex HALADA / AFP)

With Austria still facing high inflation, many prices are set to rise in May. Here's what you need to know.



Starting May 1st, 2023, the benchmark rents for existing contracts in Austria were increased by 8.5 percent, impacting around 380,000 tenants. 

This increase follows the earlier hike in benchmark rents for new contracts on April 1st. The rent rise applies to older apartments built before July 1st, 1953, but with contracts signed after February 28th, 1994. This increase will also affect private contracts with rental agreements based on inflation or benchmark rent rates. 

The move has drawn criticism from tenant associations, who claim that the increase will lead to an even more challenging situation for those looking for affordable housing. On the other hand, landlords argue that the increase is necessary to cover the properties' rising maintenance and renovation costs. The debate over affordable housing in Austria has been ongoing for some time now, with the government announcing measures to address the issue in its 2023 budget - but falling short of a rental cap. Some critics say more needs to be done to provide long-term solutions.

READ ALSO: READERS REVEAL: What is it like to rent a home in Austria?


Since last year, the process of granting loans and financing in Austria has come under intense criticism from customers. This is mainly because lending in Austria has been subject to tightening laws since August 2022. 

These stricter regulations include an equity ratio of at least 20 percent and a maximum instalment amount of 40 percent of household income for those taking on a mortgage.

Furthermore, rising interest rates due to the European Central Bank's (ECB) key interest rate hike have been causing financial strain for many borrowers. 

As the ECB plans to increase interest rates at the beginning of May, those with a variable interest rate or those seeking new financing may face significantly higher costs than just a few months ago.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Austria’s new property buying rules could impact you


Traffic fines

Starting May 1st, 2023, several changes to the 41st Motor Vehicles Act 1967 (KFG) have been enacted, including increased penalty amounts for certain violations. 

The use of a cell phone while driving without a hands-free device will now result in a €100 fine, up from the previous amount of €50. In addition, penalties of up to €140 may be imposed when violations are detected through distance or speed measurements.

The penalty for violating the obligation to wear a seat belt while driving a car or a crash helmet on motorcycles or mopeds has also increased. The immediate penalty on the spot will now be €50, up from €35. Fines of up to €100 are possible for violations reported later. 

It's important to note that such violations can have not only financial consequences but also civil and criminal consequences, such as reduced claims for damages or insurance benefits.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Austria in May 2023


Leisure and travel

Inflation has been a major issue for Austria in recent months, and the latest estimate by Statistics Austria shows that it is still rising. The inflation rate in April is expected to be 9.8 percent, up from the 9.2 percent rate in March. This is an unwelcome development for consumers and businesses as prices for goods and services continue to rise.

According to Statistics Austria Director General Tobias Thomas, the increase in leisure, travel, and services is especially pronounced. This means that people who are planning to go on holiday this spring or summer can expect to pay more for their trips, which could have a significant impact on their budgets.

The Economic Research Institute (WIFO) was surprised by the increase, and it is not yet clear where the increase is coming from. Price increases in travel and flights may have contributed to the rise in inflation. However, other factors could also be at play, the institute said.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: Can Austria’s government get inflation under control?


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