How Salzburg plans to create more affordable housing

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How Salzburg plans to create more affordable housing
A street in central Salzburg. City leaders are particularly concerned about the number of day trippers the city sees, prefering overnight guests. Photo: zhang xiaoyu on Unsplash

The government in Salzburg is discussing a new draft law that aims to ensure there is more affordable housing in the city.

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What's the problem?

Salzburg, which lies on the border with Germany, has been experiencing a housing crisis, fuelled by property investors, not enough building space and increasingly tourism-focused infrastructure.

Rents in the city have been rising faster than anywhere else in Austria. 

"In the last five years, prices have risen enormously. Much more than income levels,” said Inge Strassl, project leader for housing research at the Salzburg Institute for Housing and Regional Planning (SIR) last September. 

Since 2005, Salzburg has topped the charts for rent costs compared to other Austrian states, according to recent reports. A typical rent in Salzburg has gone up from 6.50 euros per square meter up to 9.90 euros by 2020.

READ ALSO: Why is finding housing in Salzburg so difficult?

What are authorities doing?

The government is looking at addressing the issue, although many details remain unclear. 

The new coalition, made up of the liberal-conservative Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) and the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) has been discussing the draft of a new housing subsidy law, broadcaster ORF reported.

The law will create an "Alliance for Affordable Housing" for the population from 2025. This alliance would include the Chamber of Commerce and Labour, banks, municipalities, and property developers.

At the moment, Salzburg’s more affordable subsidised housing makes up around a quarter of the city’s housing stock.

A large aim of the new legislation will be to build more affordable homes. 

Land-Invest, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the province of Salzburg, is to be expanded and financially strengthened to secure affordable building land.

"Land-Invest should act as a land bank that purchases land for the state," said Salzburg's head of government Wilfried Haslauer (ÖVP).

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Martin Zauner (FPÖ), the regional councillor for housing, also emphasised that more available land to construct housing was needed. 

"We need land," he said. "For this, we need the municipalities. We want to support them in developing and mobilising building land."


Housing targets or financing models for subsiding housing were not presented after the meeting on Monday.

However, the coalition has set a deadline for the new law. They say it is due to come into force on January 1st, 2025.

What's the reaction?

As we mentioned above, the high cost of housing in Salzburg has been a concern for politicians in the area for a long time.

Opposition parties welcomed the move to address the housing crisis - but urged for more details to be published. 

"It is good that the provincial government is now bringing advisors on board," Gerald Forcher, of the Social Democrats in Salzburg, said in a statement.

"Above all, the Chamber of Labour has repeatedly demanded a housing offensive and supported us in our demand to build at least 1,000 rental flats per year."

The Green party said: "How many affordable flats does the provincial government now want to implement? There are no answers to this question."


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