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Where have housing prices risen in Austria during the pandemic?

Despite the economic impact of the pandemic, housing costs have risen dramatically across Austria - particularly for houses with gardens. Here’s what you need to know.

Where have housing prices risen in Austria during the pandemic?
Photo: SAUL LOEB / AFP

The economic impact of the pandemic has been as significant as it has been long. It is now the biggest economic crisis since the Second World War. 

One sector however has seen a dramatic spike in value – housing. 

Buying and renting have both increased in cost significantly in 2020 compared with 2019. 

READ MORE: Is it better to buy or to rent property in Austria? 

A study published by Austrian real estate platform ImmoScout24 showed a considerable rise in demand and cost for housing across the country. 

House prices rose by an average of 11.6 percent in Austria in 2020 – with demand increasing by 49 percent. 

The demand for apartments also rose by around 7.4 percent, while rents rose by five percent. 

Where has the demand for houses risen the most in Austria? 

The impact of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has meant that homes with gardens are more popular than ever. 

“Although our current trend study shows that Austrians are basically satisfied with their living situation, the dream of owning their own house has become firmly entrenched for many in 2020,” said ImmoScout managing director Markus Dejmek. 

The demand has been greatest in the extended suburbs of Vienna and Graz, where urban residents have been looking to get a little more green space. 

The increase in house demand has also been felt in a number of other Austrian states. 

According to ImmoScout, demand has been particularly strong for second homes or holiday homes. 

The highest increase was in Carinthia, where demand grew by approximately 76 percent. 

In Lower Austria (63 percent), Styria (59 percent) and Burgenland (55 percent) demand also grew dramatically. 

Where have apartment prices risen the most in Austria? 

Housing and apartment prices also saw a spike across the country. 

Austria’s west saw the greatest increase in house prices, with apartment prices increasing by 18.2 percent in Tyrol, 13.2 percent in Salzburg and 12.1 percent in Vorarlberg. 

Apartments also became more expensive in 2020. Burgenland saw a cost increase of 17.1 percent for apartments, while prices rose in Styria (12.4 percent) and Lower Austria (10.2 percent). 

While costs in Vienna rose less sharply, this was largely because prices are already high in the capital. 

The price of apartments rose in Vienna by 7.4 percent to €5,340 per square metre, while the price for houses rose by 4.9 percent to €4,990 per square metre. 

“The expensive west with Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Salzburg again increased in price significantly in 2020. But the belt around Vienna also recorded considerable price increases in 2020,” Dejmek said. 

Rents also on the rise

Across Austria, rents rose on average 14 euros per square metre in 2020 – an increase of five percent on prices from 2019. 

Rents increased sharply in Vienna – by €15.8 per square metre (4.8 percent). 

Rents also rose in the west of the country. In Tyrol, there was an increase of €16 per square metre (5.1 percent). 

Tyrol remains the most expensive state in Austria to rent a property, while Vienna is the second most expensive. 

In Vorarlberg, there was an increase of 4.1 percent – or €15 per square metre, making it the third most expensive state for rentals in Austria. 

Rents declined in only one Austrian state – Burgenland, where they fell by 2.4 percent or €9.30 per square metre. 

Burgenland remains the cheapest state in Austria when it comes to rental prices, followed by Lower Austria where the costs are €11.20 per square metre (a 0.5 percent increase on 2019 prices). 

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COVID-19

Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Austrians expressed shock and anger this week over the suicide of doctor who had been the target of a torrent of abuse and threats from anti-vaccination protesters.

Austria in shock over doctor's suicide following anti-vax abuse

The bells of Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral rang out in memory of Lisa-Maria Kellermayr on Monday, and hundreds of people held a candle vigil outside, after the 36-year-old doctor was found dead at her practice on July 29.

She had long been the target of death threats because of her criticism of the widespread anti-lockdown protests of 2021.

An autopsy later confirmed that Kellermayr had taken her own life.

Austria has found itself deeply polarised over coronavirus restrictions and in particular a government policy –subsequently dropped — of making vaccination against the coronavirus compulsory.

Kellermayr — whose practice was in the region of Upper Austria where immunisation rates are particularly low — had frequently complained of the menace.

“For more than seven months, we have been receiving… death threats from those opposed to coronavirus measures and vaccinations,” she wrote at the time, sharing a message from one internet user who said they would pose as a patient in order to attack her and her staff.

She described how she had “invested more than 100,000 euros” ($102,000) in measures to ensure her patients’ safety and was on the brink of bankruptcy.

Then, at the end of June, Kellermayr announced on her professional website that she would not be seeing patients until further notice.

Daniel Landau, who organised a memorial vigil for her in Vienna, said that Kellermayr had become a virtual recluse for several weeks. “She didn’t dare to leave” her office, Landau told AFP.

Fanning the aggression

On Saturday, the head of Austria’s doctors’ association, Johannes Steinhart, said that while aggressive behaviour towards medical staff was not new, it had been “fired up and noticeably aggravated” by the debate over Covid-19 and vaccines.

The police, who had previously suggested Kellermayr was exploiting the situation for attention, insist they did everything to protect her. The local prosecutor’s office also rejected suggestions it could have done more.

“As soon as we received the police report (identifying one of the suspects), we sent it over to the relevant authorities in Germany,” spokesman Christoph Weber said.

On Friday, prosecutors in the neighbouring German state of Bavaria said a 59-year-old suspect was being investigated by a specialist hate speech unit.

At the beginning of the week, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen visited the small town of Seewalchen where Kellermayr lived to lay flowers in her memory.

After news of her death broke, he had appealed to Austrians to “put an end to intimidation and fear”.

‘They’re gagging us’

But on some Telegram groups, the hateful messages continue.

“Some people are celebrating her death; others believe the vaccine killed her,” said Ingrid Brodnig, a journalist and author who investigates online disinformation.

“Stricts laws exist” already against online hate, but not enough is done to implement them, Brodnig said.

One government minister has floated the idea of a separate prosecutor’s office to target such cases. Doctors and researchers have also been targeted elsewhere.

French infectious disease specialist, Karine Lacombe, described how she had been vilified for her work as part of a collective of doctors combatting coronavirus-related disinformation.

She, too, complained that the response from the authorities in the face of threats was not robust enough, and has scaled down her public appearances this year.

“You end up thinking that the risk isn’t worth it,” she told AFP. “In that sense (the aggressors) have won, they are gagging us,” she said.

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