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PROPERTY

Housing in Austria: Where are prices steady – and where are they on the rise?

Since 2015, the cost of housing in Austria - whether that be in an apartment, house or for vacant land for building - has been on the rise. Here’s where costs have risen - and by how much.

Housing in Austria: Where are prices steady - and where are they on the rise?
Where are house prices on the rise in Austria? Photo: Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

With its stunning alpine scenery, Habsburg-era architecture and opportunities for winter sports and summer hiking, Austria is a great place to live.

House, apartment and land prices reflect that, with prices for all soaring in the past five years, according to data recently released from Statistics Austria.

So which federal states are seeing the largest increases in house and apartment costs and where can you pick up land to build your own property for the cheapest price?

Before you get too excited though, a word of warning.

The statistics show across Austria house prices increased on average by around 26 percent and apartment prices by 36 percent between 2015 and 2020, meaning it’s getting harder to find a bargain.

Apartments

Apartment prices have rocketed in Lower Austria (54.4 percent) and Upper Austria (52.5) between 2015 and 2020, but most of all in Vorarlberg, where they have risen by an enormous 55 percent over five years. Styria saw the smallest increase over five years, of just 27 percent.

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

Houses

House prices in all federal states increased between 2015 and 2020.

The largest increases were in Tyrol (53 percent) and Vorarlberg (66 percent) while Styria had the smallest increase of just 18 percent.

Building land

Land suitable for building on actually slightly dipped in price across Austria between 2015 and 2010. In Burgenland land cost around seven percent less to buy in 2020 than five years previously.

However, the picture was very different in Vorarlberg, where the cost of land increased by 46 percent between 2015 and 2020 and in Vienna where it increased by 38 percent. 

Here’s a breakdown of the changes in prices on a state-by-state basis, with reference to houses, apartments and vacant land suitable for building. 

Burgenland

Beautiful Burgenland is one of the cheapest places in Austria to buy property, as the Local has previously reported.

See the following link for more information. 

READ MORE: Where is the cheapest place to buy property in Austria?

However, as always with property, location is everything, with prices increasing the closer you get to Austria’s capital. This means  it is far more expensive to buy in the Eisenstadt area, for example, than in Burgenland’s cheapest district, Güssing.

Across Burgenland house prices actually increased by 21 percent between 2015 and 2020. Apartment prices rose by 31 percent.

Following the national trend, land for building decreased in value by seven percent.

Carinthia

Famed for its gorgeous lakes and proximity to Slovenia, Carinthia has also seen its house prices rise. An apartment in Carinthia cost 31 percent more in 2020 than it did in 2015, while a house rose by 26 percent in the same period. However, the cost of buying land to build on fell by five percent.

Lower Austria

As the Local has reported before, Lower Austria includes some of the cheapest properties in Austria, mostly found close to the border with the Czech Republic.

As in Burgenland, prices rise as you get closer to Vienna. There were increases in land prices (four percent), house prices (29 percent) and apartment prices (a whopping 54 percent) from 2015 to 2020.

READ MORE: Can foreigners buy property in Austria?

Upper Austria

Upper Austria is a similar picture to Lower Austria in terms of house price increases. Land prices rose by 6.7 percent, house prices by 34 percent and apartment prices by 53 percent from 2015 to 2020.

Salzburg

In 2020 Salzburg was the third most expensive state in Austria to buy a house or an apartment, making it relatively more affordable than in 2015, when it was the second most expensive state in Austria. Since 2018 Salzburg has been overtaken by Vorarlberg in terms of property prices.

From 2015, Salzburg’s land values increased by 18 percent, house prices by 40 percent and apartment prices by 28 percent over a five year period.

A house in the countryside in Austria. Photo: Harry Dona on Unsplash.

Styria

Beautiful Styria remains relatively more affordable compared to neighbouring Salzburg.  Its house prices are less than half of those in Salzburg, although it the cost of buying increased by 18 percent between 2015 and 2020. Its apartments saw price inflation of 27 percent over the same period. Land prices stayed the same.

Tyrol

Tyrol is one of the most sought-after places to buy a house in Austria, and has some of its highest property prices. As The Local has previously reported, in 2020, properties in Innsbruck reached an average price of €6,170  per square meter according to figures from Immowelt.

Statistics Austria notes in Tyrol, a buyer would have to pay €467,000 for an average house with a living space of 140 square meters on a 661 square meter property.

House prices rose here by a huge 53 percent and apartment prices by 36 percent between 2015 and 2020.

Vorarlberg

Vorarlberg property prices are booming. This state had the largest increase in land prices in Austria (46 percent) as well as the largest increase in house prices (65.8). The cost of an apartment also soared, rising by 55 percent from 2015 to 2020, making this state the second most expensive in Austria to buy property.

Vienna

Austria’s capital Vienna has the most expensive property prices in Austria, in terms of land, apartments and houses.

It has also seen some of the largest price rises between 2015 and 2020. In 2020 land cost 38 percent more than in 2015, an apartment increased on average by 36 percent and a house by 34 percent.

REVEALED: The best districts to live in Vienna

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PROPERTY

Where to find property in Austria for under €100k

Austria is not known for being a cheap country and property prices are higher than in some other European countries, but it's still possible to find property bargains, some for even under €100k.

Where to find property in Austria for under €100k

Property prices are rising in much of Europe, and Austria is no exception.

The graph below from the European Union’s statistical agency Eurostat shows the sharp upwards trajectory over the past few years with property price increases in Austria outpacing those in the European Union  as a whole.

And a new survey found that the average price per square metre for new apartments in Austria rose by 11 percent last year, making the country Europe’s second-most expensive market.

It’s no surprise, then, that property ownership in Austria remains low.

According to Eurostat, 55.2 percent of people owned their home in Austria in 2021 – well below the 70 percent European average. That’s the third lowest percentage in Europe after Switzerland (41.6 percent) and Germany (51.1 percent).

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

So, where can we find cheap(er) homes in Austria – either properties that are move-in ready or those that could be excellent investments for those who enjoy fixer-uppers (or huge DIY projects)?

To find these gems, we used a property website that allowed us to search for real estate in the whole of Austria (instead of just a few main cities) and showed us homes with at least three rooms.

The price limit was set at €100,000 (while our colleagues in even-more-expensive Switzerland had theirs set at a much heftier CHF 500k, around €515k).

As of August 2022, we found 25 houses and 34 apartments meeting these criteria on sale.

As you might expect, many of these need (a lot of) work, but the good news is you can definitely still nab a home for under €100,000 with gorgeous views, small plots of land or lake access.

austria map
Houses below €100k are mainly in the south and east of the country. Property map from Wlllhaben.at.

What types of properties are there?
Looking at houses first (see the map above, which also shows the average purchase price across Austria’s different regions), a few things stand out:

The vast majority of the immediately liveable properties are on the tiny side – most are around the 40 square metres mark and billed as holiday homes – but many come fully furnished, a bonus if you’re working to a tight budget.

You will find bigger ones (the largest we saw was 124 square metres), but then they are likely to be complete renovation projects.

If you head for the border, you’ll get more house for your euro in southern and eastern Austria. Many of the properties we saw were in peaceful Burgenland, Austria’s least populous state.

And if you’re happy to buy just over the border in Hungary, Slovakia or even cross into Croatia, you’ll get more space – and less work – for your money.

You might think cities would be a complete no-no for snapping up bargain properties, but when we looked, we actually found a few properties a short drive from Vienna that were below our top price.

House or apartment?
When it comes to apartments, you’ll get more square metres  – we found flats within this price bracket were around 70 square metres on average – and a slightly greater choice of location for your money

READ ALSO: ‘Concrete gold’: Austria ranks as Europe’s second most expensive property market

Plus, the apartments we found were generally in much better condition – some are even newly renovated and fabulous – so you wouldn’t have so much, if any, work to do.

But there is, inevitably, a compromise: you might get a terrace or a balcony, but most won’t have a proper garden, and certainly no land or outbuildings, which many of the houses we found did have.

If you opt for an apartment over a house, you’ll usually have a slightly greater choice of location. Property map from Willhaben.at.

Even when you do find cheap properties, though, they are sometimes quite literally too good to be true. Some may require completely gutting, others may not be connected to the grid or might need costly lease renegotiations.

So, whether you go for a house or an apartment, you need to make sure you do your homework and carry out a thorough inspection first.

While renovation projects can be great investments, they’re time-consuming and can be very costly.

Before you take the huge step of purchasing, be honest with yourself about your own skill levels and how much time you have for a project – it’s easy to get caught up in the romantic idea of the end result of a gorgeous renovation – and get estimates for any work that needs to be done.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why Austria’s rising property prices are causing alarm

If you’re looking at buying somewhere to rent out, check average monthly rents for that area to be sure it’s worth you putting all the hard work in and that you’ll get a good return on your investment.

Whatever your reason for buying, check the property’s location carefully – some have poor access or no connection to basic services.

And it’s important to be mindful of extra costs, too: besides renovation costs, you’ll also have to fork out for property taxes, monthly charges, as well as any lease renewal costs and other living expenses.

These can all vary depending on the type of property and where it is.

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