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RENTING

Which Austrian state has the cheapest rent based on your salary?

Cost of living is always a question of wages versus expenditure. So where in Austria combines the best salaries with the lowest rents?

Salzburg
STR / AFP

The Chamber of Commerce in Salzburg is calling for more affordable housing as rents have soared over the past twenty years.

Rents in the Salzburg region have increased by 60 percent in 20 years, according to a housing and rental price survey by the Salzburg Chamber of Commerce (AK). 

The Chamber is calling for more 1,000 subsidised apartments to be built annually after comparing the 2000 costs of a 70-square-meter apartment in the city of Salzburg (€680) to the 2020 outlay (€1,100).

Rural areas have also seen a 60 percent rise over the past 20 years, 20 percent higher than inflation in the same period, the survey shows. 

READ MORE: Ten tips for finding an apartment in Austria

By contrast, in Burgenland, the cheapest state in Austria, rents recently fell.

Here’s what you need to know. 

How do rental prices compare to wages across Austria?

The Local took a look at some 2019 statistics compiled by the company Stepstone showing how average earnings compare across the country, which was reported at the time by the Kurier newspaper.

Obviously things are a little different at the moment during the pandemic, but hopefully wages will return to normal soon.

READ MORE: The words you need to know before renting a flat in Austria

Burgenland

Housing in Burgenland costs only €650 euros for a 70 square meter apartment. 

According to Stepstone, people on average earn approximately €45,138 a year in Burgenland as opposed to €47,176 in Salzburg.

However, once cheaper rents are taken into account people living in Burgenland may feel better off.

Vienna

Vienna is where people earn the most money in Austria according to the survey, with a gross average salary of €53,948. However, perhaps surprisingly, this is not the most expensive state to rent in.

Due to the large amounts of subsidised government housing in Vienna, it is only the second most expensive state in Austria. 

Despite this, rents increased sharply in Vienna in 2020 – by €15.8 per square metre (4.8 percent). Another thing to bear in mind is there is a big difference between the cost of renting in Vienna’s different districts.

Prices in the capital city range from €19.30 per square metre in the city’s First District (the most expensive district in Austria) to €12.60 in Vienna’s cheapest district – Simmering.

REVEALED: The best districts to live in Vienna

Tyrol

The most expensive state to rent in Austria is Tyrol, which recently saw an increase in rents of €16 per square metre (5.1 percent) in 2020.

This area includes two of the most expensive addresses in Austria: Innsbruck at €18.50 per square meter and Kitzbühel at €17.30 per square metre. 

READ MORE: Six things to expect when you move to the Austrian mountains

However wages here are significantly lower than Vienna’s, averaging out at €45,408. 

Vorarlberg

Wages are higher in Vorarlberg, averaging out at €50,816, with correspondingly high rental costs, at €15 per square metre in Bregenz and only slightly lower in neighbouring Feldkirk and Dornbirn.

Upper Austria

In Upper Austria, wages are also good, averaging at €47,383. However rental prices are lower than elsewhere in Austria, with rents averaging at €11.6 per square metre in Linz.

Lower Austria

In Lower Austria, the average salary is lower, averaging €44,985. However, rents are also lower, averaging €9.2 per square metre in Krems for example.

And many towns have fast rail connections to Vienna, meaning commuters can take advantage of the higher wages in Vienna’s capital city while enjoying lower rents outside its boundaries.

READ MORE: Why do so few Austrians own their home?

Carinthia and Styria

Carinthia and Styria may be in demand for second homes, but also have average wages above €45,000 per year and rentals averaging at €11.8 in Graz and a little above €10 per square metre in Villach and Klagenfurt.

So where can I stretch my rent euro the furthest? 

Perhaps surprisingly, your ‘rent euro’ stretches further in Vienna than you might think – given the high wages and the fact the rent is not the highest in the country.

Vienna’s size and extensive public transport network also means you may win out in the end by choosing an ‘up and coming’ neighbourhood where you might be able to find a bargain. 

Tyrol on the other hand is perhaps the toughest, as while rents are the highest in the entire country, wages are lower than all but a couple of states.

So if you’re fed up with your shoebox apartment in Salzburg, perhaps it’s time to look further afield to find a better deal in Burgenland, Lower Austria or Styria. 

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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

Eight habits that show you’ve embraced life in Austria

Living anywhere as an international resident will have an impact on your life, but if you recognise any of these habits then you have truly embraced the Austrian lifestyle.

Eight habits that show you’ve embraced life in Austria

Life in Austria can be similar to many other European countries, but there are some aspects that are distinctly Austrian.

Here are eight habits that show you’ve integrated into the Austrian way of life.

FOR MEMBERS: 23 essential articles to help you navigate life in Austria

Indulging in coffee and cake

Coffee and cake is almost as integral to the food culture in Austria as the Wiener Schnitzel.

So say goodbye to the diet, ignore any thoughts of guilt and get stuck into a slice of Sachertorte, Punschkrapfen or Linzer Torte

Preferably with a delicious coffee on the side.

READ MORE: Caffeine, war and Freud: A history of Vienna’s iconic coffee houses

Participating in winter sports

Austria, especially the west of the country, is a winter sports enthusiasts dream.

The Alps offer an almost endless choice in ski resorts, gondolas and mountain huts, with winter sports options ranging from skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing and Langlaufen (cross-country skiing).

Needless to say, if you live in the Alps, winter sports quickly become a central part of the lifestyle during the cold months. After all, it’s healthy, fun and even a bit dangerous (if that’s your thing).

It’s also a great way to explore the landscape of Austria and get a deeper understanding of the central role of winter sports in Austrian culture.

Downing tools for lunch

Lunch in some other countries (especially places like the UK) is often a sad sandwich while sitting at a desk. 

In Austria however, lunch is an important part of the day and many people sit down at midday with their colleagues or families to enjoy a proper cooked meal.

This is a prime example of the healthy work-life balance that residents in Austria enjoy, and is a much-better habit to embrace than working through a lunch break.

Wearing house shoes

In most Austrian households, people do not wear outdoor shoes inside. Instead, they opt for house shoes, otherwise known as slippers in English or Schlapfen in some Austrian dialects.

Also, many Austrian homes do not have carpet on the floor, which means walking around with bare feet or just socks in the winter can get cold – fast.

So if you’ve invested in a pair of house shoes or, even better, you have a backup supply for guests, then you have fully embraced life in Austria. 

READ ALSO: ‘I’ll probably return to the UK’: Moving to Austria as a Brit post-Brexit

Being punctual

Typically, Austrians are punctual people and don’t appreciate lateness.

For this reason, many international residents make an extra effort to be on time (or early), and it’s not uncommon to become stressed if you know you will be five minutes late.

As frustrating as this can be, it’s actually incredibly polite to be early for a meeting and not a bad habit to pick up.

sparkling water

(Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash)

Drinking sparkling water

People like to drink sparkling mineral water in Austria.

In fact, sparkling water is so popular that if you order a Mineralwasser (mineral water) in a cafe or restaurant, the sparkling variety is often served unless stilles Wasser (still water) is specified.

Want to be more Austrian? Then simply switch from still to sparkling water.

Stripping off

Countries in Central Europe are much more comfortable with nudity than other nations, and it’s no different in Austria.

The main place to expect an encounter with naked people in Austria is at the sauna. There are even some saunas that have a naked-only admission policy and won’t let people in if they are wearing swimming gear.

People also like to get naked at lakes – especially at the more remote or quieter locations – or at least go topless (for the women). 

The reality is, no one bats an eyelid. So put your prudish instincts aside and don’t be afraid to strip off.

READ ALSO: What are the rules on working overtime in Austria?

Taking sick leave

Employees in Austria are entitled to six weeks of paid sick leave (the number of weeks increases the longer the worker has been employed in the same company).

This means workers are more likely to take sick leave if they are unwell, rather than dragging themselves into the workplace and infecting their colleagues.

The downside though is that Austria has strict rules when it comes to taking sick leave with explicit orders to stay at home. Workers can even expect to be monitored by private detectives to make sure they really are resting at home, as reported by The Local.

For international residents in Austria, this can be hard to tolerate. But the upside is that you’re not expected to show your face in the office when sick, simply to comply with a culture of presenteeism.

And that’s a habit worth embracing.

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