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Property Of The Month

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Small Castle overlooking River Danube

This family Castle until recently was operating as a small romantic Hotel. It is a great opportunity for a new owner to create a very special home or run again as a romantic hotel.

The schloss was first built in the year 1400. It has of course, since that time been thoroughly modernised.

It is situated near to the Danube river at Melk in Lower Austria. Across the Danube you can see the famous Abbey.

Vienna airport is within easy drive and therefore good access for overseas guests.

It was run as a select small hotel until rently. It has four luxurious suites and a further luxurious bedroom. It attracted many visitors, particularly couples for honeymoon stays or celbrating an anniversery.

It is a perfect property purchase for a discerning buyer wanting a special property with history.

The hotel has bar,dining room and guest relaxation areas all decorated in sumptious style. With these surroundings, one can be forgiven for feeling that one is the lord of the manor!!

The Schloss enjoys fantastic views across the Danube to the world famous Melk Abbey.

More specific details on request.

Priced at 2,250,000 euro - but now reduced for a quick sale

For further details or to arrange a viewing, please contact us.

Mortgage available.

Reduced Price: 1,825,000 euro Ref: AA/MK/Danube



Austria has so much to offer the holiday or investment property buyer





Austria has so much to offer the holiday or investment property buyer

Danube wine region in worldwide Top 10

The Danube wine region in Lower Austria has won an international award. An American wine magazine wrote an article about the ten best wine travel destinations. The Austrian wine region won second place.

It could even overtake renowned wine growing areas such as Italy, Portugal or South Africa.
The wine area Rioja in Spain came first in the ranking, North and South Forks of Long Island in New York third.

The "Wine Enthusiast Magazine" was founded in 1988 and is currently the biggest magazine (one edition is 100,000 copies) that is dedicated to the subject of wine and spirits.

The reward emphazises how attractive the Lower Austrian wine regions at the Danube really are, said Tourism State Secretary Petra Bohuslav (ÖVP).

Ski property for sale in Austria

Ski property for sale in Austria has always given good value and you can still find small studio apartments for under 50,000 Euro. Of course, if you are looking at the most popular resorts, such as Schladming with it's world ski cup reputation or Kitzbuhl, then you need to consider spending a lot more money!.  Just as in any popular resort in Europe, whether on the coast or in the mountains over looking a lake, it will demand a premium price.

However, if you are simply looking for a small holiday home or apartment then, then you can find some very good bargains in the less well known resorts..a simple rule of thumb is: if the big Tour operators are there then the price is going to be higher!!

Also, you need to consider that...different areas of Austria have differing criteria for what will be designated a holiday home and a main residence home. You can often see apartments on the web that are fantastic value, but are only for permanent living or equally long term renting.  This is to keep housing available for locals, so you must look elsewhere.  We rae here to guide as much as we can...if you have queries about an apartment just email us.

, just email us.

City and Town property.

Of course not everyone wants a home on a ski slope and many people prefer Towns and Cities.

You might be surprised to know that property in the Towns can be cheaper than the Ski Slopes or lakes.  This is where you can have it all..pavment cafe society and with a short drive you are on the ski slopes or at the lake, so why pay over the odds.?

Austrian Mortgage rates and buying in Austria

Yes, even in this current economic climate there are still mortgages available. They are generally 60-70% of purchase price.. if you are a non resident. Austria has been effected like all other countries but it does not have the problems caused by over extending the credit available on housing.

The current mortgage rate is between 2.25 -  2.50% dependent on type and also any special offers that the Banks are promoting(not many at the moment but you can still get fixed rates). To give an idea a 100,000 Euro mortgage will cost on average 450 euro per month. Also, you can pay back the mortgage at short notice with no penalties. So at present it does not make sense to keep your money in a high interest account. Perhaps best to put it all in Austrian property. Unlike the UK, it does not have any price corrections to worry about!!

Get an Austrian Mortgage Quote

We now have a dedicated Experienced Austrian Mortgage advisor on our team, so if you have need of some mortgage advice about buying in Austria or just an idea a of what it might cost per month, email us here in Austria: mortgages

Taxation in Austria

This is a very complicated area as in all countries and is dependent on the individuals tax situation..we have put below a link that give goods information for all the Austrian taxes.

What if I need any documents translated.

this Most Notaries are able to provide contracts i both languages, but if there are documents you need translated, then we can help. We have a registered Translator on our team of experts. Just email to us at

Mag. Josef Jäger
Sworn and certified interpreter/translator  A-4820  Bad Ischl

Certified translations of Notarial deeds, contracts (e.g. when purchasing real property, establishing a company, etc.), certified translation of personal documents. Interpreters services at courts of law, Notaries offices, law firms, etc

Getting healthcare in Austria

The question most asked by UK buyers!! Is it like our NHS? Click here for link to info on Austrian Healthcare

Austria proves to be a good option for property investment

Property for sale in Austria is still very reasonably priced, in comparison to the Mediterranean countries, as a studio apartment can start from as little as Euro 39,000! 

Driving to Austria to check out Property

Driving is very satisfying as you are completely in control of your journey and you also have a car to visit various areas and properties in Austria. Check out our Driving to Austria page for advice.

 Click for help to buy a property in Austria

Please visit our various property pages or email us, if you have a specific requirement.


Hiring a car is one of the best ways to get around and visit properties at your leisure

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Holiday Lettings

One of the best ways to get lots of holiday rentals for your new property is to use one of the major holiday sites... we and many of our property
owners can recommend our colleagues at Holiday Lettings.

Property Auctions Austria

Interested to pick up a property bargain at auction? There are many properties, both houses, farms and businesses that become available through auction.

Overseas buyers do not often get the opportunity to consider these bargains for their investment portfolio or even just to have as a project.

We will be featuring
on the page
properties that
come to auction.

Click here to contact us for further information

Apply for Free Currency Trading Account to save £££'s on your property purchase.


Have a property requirement or want information on a featured property? CLICK HERE to contact us.

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Big Change in rules for holiday letting of apartments!

Austria's system of property purchase can be confusing at the best of times..but with recent court rulings,. it has become even more difficult to buy the property to suit your desire for an overseas home..

It has been recently reported in Der Standard Newspaper, that the high court had ruled that Holiday letting was detrimental to home life of residents in an apartment building.  So even if you have a designation of Second Holiday does not mean you can rent it for short stays.  The court ruled that any stay between 2 - 28 days was a holiday let.

It means that if you want to rent your holiday apartment, you need the written permission of all other owners in the building. If one resident in an apartment building is against such letting, then you cannot do so.  You can still have as your holiday home for friends and family but not commercial letting.

What can we advise?,..well this is difficult, until some resident makes a complaint to an Austrian Lawyer or/ and until someone challenges it in the European court, perhaps under human rights law, we would advise to only buy into an apartment if you want purely for your own and family use.  Itf you want for an investment, we would advise buying a holiday home...a house with no other residents!!  We have many on our pages that are cheaper than an apartment in the overpriced Salzburg, Tirol and Vorarklberg areas.

The other possibility is to buy a house with Friends and Family...this way you are in total control. .

We will be adding to this information as an when we get more clarification.


Massive Increase In Vienna Property Prices

Austria's national bank says property in Vienna in the first quarter of this year is probably about 22 percent overvalued. And the bank also noted that despite the fact that the property was overvalued, prices had increased in the first quarter by 8.1 percent.

It is part of an almost unbroken trend that has seen the price of property in the Austrian capital double since 2005, and when looking at the whole country has seen property prices rise by a third.

The statistics were compiled from figures held by the Austrian national bank and the Vienna University of Technology. The one-off study project that looked at the basic price indicators across the country estimated that while in Vienna there was an overvaluation of around 22 percent of what the property was really worth, in the rest of the country property was generally undervalued by about eight percent.

The National bank said that while excessive prices were being charged in Vienna, that was generally in line with what was going on in other main European cities according to the National bank's chief economist Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald.

The increase in value this year of property in Vienna of 8.1 percent compares with an increase last year in the first quarter of the year of 11.4 percent. Outside of Vienna the price increase was around 2.2 percent compared with 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

The Austrian national bank warned that the price rise was not an indication that the was going to be a property bubble that soon burst. They said other factors were at play including demographic factors influencing demand, the general wealth of the population and the availability of land and property.

The national bank looked at the situation in other countries for example the Netherlands where in the capital there was a 26 percent overvaluation that later corrected itself with an 18 percent drop in prices. Ireland had been the most significant overvaluation of property values around 45 percent over what they were really worth and in Spain it had been 30 percent. The price correction in Ireland had seen the falling value of 46 percent, and in Spain a fall of 37 percent.

But in Vienna prices are being driven up by Russian, German and Arabic investors who are particularly interested in snapping up luxury property.

According to a study by the British real estate agents Frank Knight the lure of purchasing a villa or similar luxury property in the capital would probably mean around 483 super rich people would be living in the city by 2023. That would be an increase of 26 percent on the current level of superrich. According to the estate agents a superrich person is somebody who has more than 22 million EUR.

Only London and Dublin saw higher price increases than the Austrian capital in the last year as a result of luxury property purchases fuelling the price rise.


Prices to continue to rise across Austria.

The price of property in the cities in Austria has now increased so much that as many as 50% of apartments for sale have a price tag of 300,000 euros or more.

With the shortage of desirable and available property many apartments are being renovated.So with the large price increase in the market, the renovating to a high standard, plus increased demand has all lead to higher prices for property.

Outside the capital, and other cities, in the suburbs property prices were not far behind.


Apartment sales drop in Austria

According to the brokerage firm Re/Max, the number of the real estate sales in Austria has declined around 8.3% in the last year. The exact number of properties which were sold and bought accounts to over 80,000 units, which translates into 16 billion euros. Apartments were the most popular type of property sold last year, accounting for 28,000 of the units sold, but there has still been a 9.3% decrease from the last year.

"Many investors, who wanted to secure their financial assets by purchasing property, have already done it in the previous years", says the chief of the Austrian department of Re/Max company, Bernhard Reikersdorfer.

Reikersdorfer also believes that one of the reasons behind the decrease is the difficulty for many young families to get credit from the banks to buy a house. In Vienna the sales-offers declined, and so the purchase of condos also declined around 9.6%. The lack of offers had also an effect on the prices of the properties available. The average prices for apartments rose around 10%.

The new owners of the properties had to put their hands deep in their pockets, when the average price in Vienna was around 200,000 Euros. Half of the apartments in Vienna cost between 105,000 and 270,000 Euros.

The difference in the prices and the sizes of the properties were also huge. In the central area of the Austrian capital, a square meter costed 10,000 Euros and in the 10th district, Favoriten, which lies only around 10km away, the price went down to 1,916 Euros.

Vienna also got came out top as the most expensive state for buying property in Austria this year with Salzburg and Vorarlberg following it's lead with average prices of 191,000 and 187,000 Euros respectively. The cheapest properties can be found in the states of Steiermark where the average price is 109,000 Euros and Burgenland, with an average price of 72,000 Euros.

Austria takes Hungarian land law issue off EU agenda

Austria has withdrawn its criticisms of Hungary's new land laws from an EU ministerial agenda, news that has been welcomed by Hungary's farm minister.

The two countries have been in a dispute over changes to Hungarian land law, which are due to go in into effect on 1 May when foreign farmers' rights of use to Hungarian farmland will cease.

The change in legislation has been described as "unacceptable" by the Austrian minister Andra Rupprechter as it affects Austrian farmers who have paid in advance to use the land and fully complied with the regulations.

The Hungarian Parliament also on Tuesday approved a law that will make it easier and more effective for Hungarian authorities to take action against invalid ownership of farmland in the country. Austrian farmers will also not be able to use old or new laws to legally claim ownership of lands in Hungary.

It is not clear exactly why Austria has removed the issue from the EU ministerial agenda, although Hungarian farm minister has described it as a step in the right direction and said that the EU ministers' council did not have the authority to discuss the matter.

Austria sees biggest increase in property prices in Europe
Property in Austria has seen the highest rate of price growth in 
Europe since the Lehman brothers bank crashed, throwing the region and 
other countries housing markets into an economic downturn.
The financial crash largely bypassed the property market in the country, according to a recent report published by Knight Frank, a real estate consultancy.
Whilst Austria saw a 34% rise in mainstream house prices since 2008, Vienna saw an even bigger rise of 55%. Prices for luxury properties in the city range between 15,000 Euros and 18,000 Euros per sq m.
The most prestigious properties in the first district of Vienna, an area registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can see prices as high as 20,000 Euros per sq m.
Most of the sales are to second home buyers from around the world, many of whom are from Russia, Eastern Europe, the US, Germany and Switzerland. Some interest has come from even further afield, with the number of web searchers for Viennese homes by people based in Asia increasing 11% in the first nine months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
International demand for properties in the capital has been driven up by the cities reputation for being a safe and private place to live and it's relative economic and social stability. The fact that Vienna has also topped the quality of life rankings by consultancy firm Mercer for four years has also helped to attract second home buyers to the region.

Austrian central bank downplays real estate bubble fears

The Austrian central bank has downplayed concerns over whether the real estate bubble in Vienna and the rest of the country could shake financial stability.

However the central bank said on Monday it will be monitoring the situation by creating a new fundamental price indicator.

Residential real estate in Austria increased 39% between 2007 and 2013, the highest increase seen in the Eurozone. Vienna saw particular price hikes with the top-end of the market attracting foreign buyers looking for second homes.

About the risk of a housing bubble in the country, the Austrian central bank said on Monday: "The risk to financial stability from increasing real estate prices is gauged to be low.

Low interest rates from the European Central Bank have been pointed to as one of the reasons for the price increases as it makes mortgages less expensive.

Germany is also experiencing rises in real estate prices but the central bank Bundesbank has also said it doesn't present a risk. "It is very unlikely that this will result in macroeconomic risks or dangers to financial stability," the bank said in October, although highlighting that house price corrections in cases of over evaluation may lead to "perceptible" losses in wealth for some.

Largest luxury chalet in Kitzbühel goes on sale

By Maddy French

A thirteen bed luxury chalet in the most expensive ski resort in Austria has been put up for sale for 35 million Euros by agency Savills Alpine Homes.

The home in the exclusive Kitzbühel in Tyrol includes a 16-seater cinema, a gym, sauna, spa and temperature controlled wine cellar. It's believed to be the largest private home in the resort.

The sale comes at a time when the Austrian property market remains the strongest in Europe, seeing the highest rate of price growth on the continent since the Lehman brothers bank crashed in 2008. Property in the Alps has been particularly successful, with prices rising 34.7 percent since 2008. This compares to 26 percent in Switzerland and just 0.9 percent in France.

Kitzbühel is located one hour from Munich and ninety minutes from Salzburg and Innsbruck airports. It's also home to the iconic two mile downhill skill slope on the World Cup circuit, Hahnenkamm, which nearly all the rooms in the luxury chalet look over.

Dec - Second home renting problems

The problems relating to holiday renting of apartments are starting to become more of a problem, particularly in Salzburgland area. Recently one of our Austrian colleagues related that, whilst selling a property,..they were asked by the British buyer if there were problems with second homes.

The agents lawyer's checked and found that there had indeed been problems and this was in Salzburg area. The apartment owner wantyed to rent his apartment for holidays, for which it was designated as Secondary holiday home. It is European law that no house management company or local Gemeinde can change the designation of a property.

But the other permanent owners in the building were not happy, so they went to court in Salzburg and the ruling was in favour of the permanent residents!!!  This flies in the face of European law, and seems to be a new under the table method to get holiday homes redesignated.  We will be speaking with other colleagues in various local regions and get them to check also the attitude for second homes.

In the meantime, we would advise buyers to check thoroughly the designation of an intended property purchase and more importantly ask the House management companies for their opinion of the other residents in the will save yourself a lot of heartache and loss on investment!!

The upcoming areas of Austria to the east do not seem to have this problem...possibly because these areas are not as rich as Salzburg and Tirol, so rely more on income from overseas investors in property.

Nov - Important update Property Tax

This past year, there have been important tax changes in Austria for all Property owners, Austrian and other nationalities. These changes are starting to take effect, now that second home owners are putting property on the market.

The new rules affect every overseas property owner and second home owner. The new tax is 25% flat rate on the property capital gain at the time of selling.  So, a...  20,000 euro profit means 5,000 euro to the tax man.

The system for the taxation is via the notar at the time of selling. The Notar has to arrange to pay the 3.5% government tax for the Buyer. He now also has to make a declaration to the Tax authorities for the potential profit on the sale.  You can of course offset a lot of the costs that were involved when you purchased and also all renovations etc.  It means that one now needs to keep records of all costs for a property during ownership and to give a lis tof the costs to the Notar when selling. He is then able to deduct the costs that would be allowed for deduction and give the tax office a figure of tax to be paid.

For the UK and other countries in Europe, there are double taxation the seller. can maybe offset this tax against their own tax bill in their country of residence.

It is early days yet and we are sure that more information and any potential problems will come out sooner or later.

The property market in Austria has slowed as in other areas of Europe, but the local market has remained consistant.  There are many new individual houses being built, but not large blocks of housing.

The apartment market remains strong, as the demand from workers moving jobs around austria continues to stimulate demand.

There are local property price bubbles around the major lakes...which is forcing buyers to look further away from the lake areas. 

Popular region at this time is Carinthia in Austria's southern alps on the border with Italy.  The main demand coming from Italians and Hungarian buyers.

August updates:

Houses on edge of the city much sought after

A new study carried out by market researchers in Austria has revealed most young people dream of owning heir own house on the edge of a city.

The study carried out by GfK on behalf of Raiffeisen Bausparkasse asked 1,325 young people aged between 18 and 39 about their current and ideal living situation.

According to the study the majority dream of owning their own house in the countryside but near to a major city.

68 per cent of those asked want to buy their own house. Currently 46 per cent of those asked are living in a village, 27 per cent in a big city, 15 per cent in a mid sized city and 12 per cent in a small town.

Around one quarter of hose asked want to live in a completely rural environment, 27 per cent want to live in a village which is near to a mid or large size city and 21 per cent want to live in a big city but prefer not to be right in the centre but on the outskirts.

Around half of those asked currently live in their own personally owned accommodation - 29 per cent of those in their family home or with their parents or relatives.

A quarter live in rented accommodation, 13 per cent in a housing association apartment, ten per cent in their own apartment, two per cent in a rented house and five per cent in another apartment such as a student apartment.

79 per cent of those asked said they were very happy with their current living situation

Only about ten per cent said they were unhappy with their living situation - most of these were renters.

By middle age 68 per cent hope to have their own house, 15 per cent their own apartment, 7 per cent want to live in a rented apartment, 2 per cent in a rented house and one per cent in another form of accommodation.

People are becoming more mobile - 39 per cent of those asked said they were prepared to move for private and business reasons. In 2005 it was just 27 per cent.

In the under thirties category one in two people would be prepared to relocate.

July Updates

Tenants should check running costs

Landlords in Vienna who try charging tenants extras in fees could face legal proceedings.

By the end of June, landlords were told they had to produce a detailed operating cost statement to ensure no hidden extras had been included.

Legal expert Christian Boschek from the Viennese Chamber of Labour said: "It’s possible that some try to cheat by sneaking things in.

"Tradesmen invoices in connection with repairs in the house, for example. If the landlord engages a painter or a installer, these are costs that have nothing to do with operating costs."

Lawyers’ fees and operating charges are also not supposed to be counted in the operating costs. If these do appear in the statement delivered by the landlord, tenants can request that the bill be put right.

If this fails, it is possible to take action through the conciliation body of the Viennese department for housing issues (MA 50). The body will then decide whether the bill is correct or not and to what extent it has to be corrected.

Boschek said: "Any mistakes have to be declared. If the landlord does not correct the operating costs statement, legal procedures are possible."

Statement can be challenged up to three years after receipt.

June Update.

Salzburg property prices increase further

The real estate prices have remained high in Salzburg. The rents increased by almost 11 percent in 2012. This is apparently due to the scarce supply.

Houses and owner-occupied flats have been a popular financial investment. As many investors lost high amounts on the stock markets in 2008 and 2009, a part of the investors changed to the allegedly safe real estate market.

This led to increasing prices of houses and owner-occupied flats. As the supply in Salzburg is scarce, the rents have increased by 10.9 percent. In contrast, the prices increased by not even half in Linz and decreased in Eisenstadt.

In total, the upward trend of real estate prices has slowed down. A current price comparison of the Chamber of Commerce shows that the increase in prices will slow down in general.

Real Estate Trustees demand an extensive reform of rental law from the National Council. However, they state that this reform needs to be well thought out and is not compatible for the election campaign.

5,500 new millionaires in Austria

2012 has been a successful year for the wealthy in Austria. The numbers of Austrian millionaires has increased by 5,500 people (10%) to 77,600 people. They own a third of the total private assets.

In total, Austrian millionaires own assets of 245 billion Euros. Every Austrian millionaire owns 3.15 million Euros on average.

Family Porsche/Piech are on top of the list of the super-rich with 40.9 billion Euros. This was shown by the most recent asset report of the investment house Valluga AG from Liechtenstein.

"This record result is mainly thanks to the booming capital markets and the strong real estate market", the authors of the study stated.

The study only considers the financial assets without real estates that are not used. Austrian billionaires own more than a third of the total Austrian private assets (33.4%).

The highest density of millionaires is in Vienna, with 1,130 millionaires per 100,000 residents. This is followed by Lower Austria and Salzburg. Burgenland is at the bottom of the list with 590 millionaires per 100,000 residents.

The number of millionaires in Vienna has increased by nine percent to 19,500 in 2012. This was followed by Lower Austria (17,200), Upper Austria (12,500) and Styria (9,600).

Dietrich Mateschitz is in second place with assets of 7.5 billion Euros. This is followed by Family Flick (6.3 billion Euros), Novomatic boss Johann Graf (4.5 billion Euros), real estate tycoon Karl Wlaschek (4.2 billion Euros), Heidemarie Horten (3.2 billion Euros), Family Swarovski (2.6 billion Euros), entrepreneur Wolfgang Leitner (2 billion Euros), Frank Stronach (1.9 billion Euros) and the siblings Patricia, Emil Alexander and Marie-Rose Kahane (1.8 billion Euros).

The increase of the super-rich is, however, no Austrian phenomenon. The number of millionaires increased in the German-speaking region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) to 1.13 million people in 2012.


May Updates:

Parndorf centre invests in expansion plans

Well,... as in the rest of Europe, property purchases have slowed.  Local agents report little new properties becoming available for sale.  The feeling is that the insecurity being felt by all of Europe is to blame...but on the otherside of the coin, it seems that people are extending their properties as opposed to selling!  The other good news is from the commercial sector...there are projects in hand for new shopping malls and centres. The popular designer outlet in Parndorf, Burgenland, is going to get bigger: from now until 2016, the outlet will be extended by 3,600 m2, with 30 new shops and restaurants being built. However, this will also cost the company a lot.

"Do not ask me about a certain date, this depends on the authority approvals", said the manager of the "Region Nordeuropa" Thomas Immelmann at the annual press conference in Vienna yesterday (Thurs).

The environmental impact assessment was filed a short time ago. The operator McArthurClen has invested a "large amount in the tens of millions" into the expansion of the outlet in Parndorf.

McArthurGlen operates a total of 21 outlet centres and Parndorf is the biggest with a sales area of 42,000 m2. The Austrian market is saturated in regards to outlet centres (Parndorf and Salzburg).

The revenue of Parndorf has increased by nine percent in the business year 2012/2013. The number of visitors has increased to 4.2 million people.

Due to the location in Burgenland, which is close to the borders to Slovakia and Hungary, many customers from these countries come to Parndorf. The number of customers from Non-European countries such as Russia, the Ukraine, China, Korea, the US etc. is also increasing.

Mr Immelmann said that the firm has representatives in these countries who work together with travel agencies. Almost 250 travel groups with 9,600 people visited Parndorf last year.

The firm neither wants to open on Sundays nor plans to enter the market on the Internet. The next late-night shopping will take place on 22 August 2013.


April Updates:

Austrian regulations changing for overseas buyers

It seems that in some regions of Austria, the regulations for second homes are becoming much tougher. This is having an effect on the property market.

The local governments in some regions are making it more difficult for foreign buyers in particular.  This is understandable for buyers from outside the EU, but some regions are causing difficulties for other European nationals. This is causing concern for buyers and the property market is starting to reflect this.

Interest in property in the popular Salzkammergut region has fallen over the past 6 months, with buyers waiting to see what will happen this coming spring/summer.

One of the most welcoming regions for other EU nationals to buy, is in the Waldviertal.  They are actively promoting their area for people to invest for either permanent living or holiday homes. This has had the effect of greater interest in this region for buyers.

The Waldviertal is in Lower Austria the region between Linz and Vienna.

March Updates

Austrian land being built on at an alarming rate

An average of 20 hectares of agricultural and green land is built on each day in Austria – that's the equivalent surface of an average cultivated farm per day. Experts are asking for a change in the planning law and are calling for more cooperation between municipalities in construction projects.

The president of the agricultural chamber Gerhard Wlodlowski said recently that it is almost exclusively high-quality agricultural lands that end up as building projects.

Compared to European statistics, the building on agricultural land in Austria is higher than average. In the past 50 years, the agricultural land available fell by 300,000 hectares and meadowland went back 570,000 hectares – the equivalent of a city the size of Salzburg. At the same time, the number of abandoned industries and commercial premises shot up. These could cover one third of the space needed each year.

Only a third of the mountain land in Austria is suitable as a settling place – 15 percent of which is already used. Wlodowski said: "Everyday around 11 hectares of agricultural land is used for transport, industry, economy and housing. If one counts the recreational and mining areas, that is over 20 hectares a day."

The increasing building has negative impact on the environment and climate. Meadows and agricultural land are responsible for various functions, such as regulating the ecosystem. These are also the living space for animals and plants act as a protective measure in holding back or saving rain water. They take part in conserving biodiversity and  storing carbon. Last but not least, they are a living and relaxation space for humans.

With every modification to the CO2-rich soils, the climate – and the global warming – is accelerated and the risks of storms increases. Chairman of the Austrian Hagel insurance company (Hagelversicherung) said the consumption of the land urgently needs to slow down.

Gerling Weber from the institute for spatial planning at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna (BOKU) asked on public radio that planning laws are changed. One should build sparingly, instead of always building on new meadowland. He said: "First of all, always look at what is available. And then, go for the meadowland. At the moment, it's the opposite."

He added that political motives often prevent efficient construction. He said: "The bigger the competition is between the communities, the more yielding they become with regards to the offering of such plots of land – which absolutely does not conform with the ground sparing regulations."

President of the eco-social forum Stephan Pernkopf said: "Active space policies is not only important because of ecological factors." The growing urban sprawl leads to rising costs. Compact housing structures are, on the contrary, a great relief for budgets.

Environment minister Nikolaus Berlakovich (ÖVP) doesn't believe the municipality policy is failing. There the belief that usage of ground should be slowed-down and planning laws are already being modified. He said: "There are already positive examples in all regions of planning projects whereby resources and energy consumption are reduced.

Berlakovich asks fore more cooperation between the communities to spare meadowland. He said: "the land must be worked on together, efficiently used – in the housing for individuals but also in creating new economical zones."


February updates

Holiday homes and secondary residency

We have had requests to try and clarify the holiday home usage regulations. As local gemeindamt are asking owners to state whether main or secondary residence. Each area of Austria tends to have an interpretation...but here is a snippet from EU law:

Concerning real estate transactions between EU- and EWR-Citizens in Austria there is a valid supremacy of community law against the internal laws since 2000.

The purchase of real estate takes place in execution of the laws according to the basic liberties of the residence law and the freedom of capital transactions stipulated in the EG contract and the EWR agreement.

Mayor and the community of the real estate are strictly bounded to the EU law and therefore an eventual prohibition of use, limitation of use and compulsion of use are not permitted.

There is no commitment to a formal establishment of residence in the community as according to EU law this is not prescribed for the first, second and third residence.


Austrian Chamber of Commerce plans International English School in Salzburg

The Austrian Chamber of Commerce and the regional educational board are planning to build an international school in Salzburg where students will be taught in English.

There are now concrete plans to open the school in 2016. "Salzburg will thus attract even more international qualified employees with children." says Manfred Pammer, Deputy Managing Director of the Chamber.

"The school will provide education in English for 10 to 19-year-olds. Qualified employees are more likely to work abroad when their children’s best possible education is ensured."

Up to this point, Salzburg has not been offering the opportunity of education in English from the age of 10 to 19. Herbert Gimpl, president of the regional educational board, says that the inhabitants of Salzburg will also benefit from an international school.

The Chamber of Commerce plans to take over the maintenance of the international school on the premises of the tourism school Salzburg-Klessheim. It has not been decided yet whether the school will be built on a different venue though.

January Updates:

Famous Hotel Panhans sold for 5 milllion Euro

One of Austria's best known hotels – the Hotel Panhans with its spectacular panorama view over the Semmering region - has been sold for five million Euros.

The hotel which went into liquidation has now been saved after a long drawn out insolvency case.

The Mostviertler company IBS is said to have transferred five million Euro to the liquidator Gernot Hain and the insolvency proceedings have been closed by the court.

IBS Umwelt- und Verkehrstechnik GmbH an architectural and engineering company owned by Thomas Schellenbacher (75 per cent share) and Ukrainian Igor Palytsia (25 per cent share) have bought 92 per cent of the shares in the hotel.

The traditional hotel reportedly had debts of around 3 1/2 million euros which are owed to two banks and various other creditors.

So, will it become luxury apartments or an updated hotel...The hotel is expected to be renovated and to be run in the future as a hotel. watch this space.

According to information available the firm Pöchlarner IBS Umwelt- und Verkehrstechnik GmbH, and architects and engineers office has a turnover of around 3,000,000 euros a year according to figures for 2010.


December Updates:

Recession forces Manor house owners to sell up.

Austria's manor house and chateux owners are being forced to sell up, saying they can no longer afford to pay the running costs.

And estate agents dealing with the high-class properties say they can't remember a time when so many multi-million euro properties were on the market - but the only buyers that seem to be interested and have the money are from Russia.

In Lower Austria alone there are reportedly 15 manors up for sale and current statistics show they are likely to remain on the market for years rather than months before finding a buyer. In Lower Austria it includes Schloss Trautmannsdorf, Ebreichsdorf, Hohenau, Kirchstetten and Walpersdorf.

Those who have put their properties on the market include Maria Antonia Schramek who inherited her manor house Schloss Payerbach from her father and said although it had many fond memories she could no longer afford to keep it.

The property is on sale for 2.6 million euros and she hopes that it might be sold to an artist who would take up residence there .

But she is one of the few people prepared to admit that she is selling up for financial reasons – many Austrians don't even want to publicly advertise their properties because of the embarrassment associated with having to give them up and they attempt to sell them in private circles – mostly without success.

Bärbel Langer is another one that recently sold her property Schloss Ebenfurth which she purchased and together with her daughter wanted to renovate – but was forced to sell after she was unable to meet our obligations. It now belongs to a Serbian popstar.


Energy efficiency rules now in force for property

A new law has come into force across Austria making it compulsory for properties to include information about their energy efficiency as part of a plan to cut down on CO2 gas emissions.

The EU wide initiative means that properties which have not been thermally insulated or have inefficient heating end up with a poorer rating and should therefore be negatively rated when being sold or rented.

The idea is to offer incentives to property owners to make sure that they make their buildings energy efficient by forcing them to get an "Energieausweis" certificate.

Failure to do so in a property coming onto the market from now on will result in fines of up to 1,450 euros.

The certificates can be obtained from officially approved suppliers found here

Georg Thor from the Salzburg-based energy advice office said that it will mean in future it is easier to evaluate the real worth of property.

But certificates are not without cost – with firms charging up to 500 euros per certificate.

Gerald Hubner from the Real estate Association said: "A proper certificate will mean a saving in costs and problems at a later date. Property owners need to know what sort of problems there are with their property and potential buyers or renters will want to save money with a proper certificate giving them an indication of the running costs of a location."

November updates:

Vienna wants clarity over unfair flat rental contracts

Vienna is demanding changes in the rules governing rental contracts for property which have become incredibly complicated with the various changes in recent years.

They say it is now no longer possible to have the overview, according to the man responsible for housing  in Vienna, Wohnbaustadtrat Michael Ludwig (SPÖ).

He said there needs to be more transparency in the way properties are rented.

At the moment there are 2 completely different forms of rental contract. One is the old category rental contract (Kategoriemieten) and the other is the new location worth contract (Richtwertmieten).

Anybody who rents a flat is now automatically in the Richtwertmietzins category but those who rented under the old contracts still have those rules applying.

The problem is that even the new contract is difficult to control – for example the law controls how much is charged per square metre but there are various extra charges that can be added such as the distance from public transport and how noisy the immediate neighbourhood is.

That means for example that although a flat owner might demand extra for the fact that the location is peaceful – that might also mean it miles away from public transport.

But on the other hand allowing more because of the close proximity of public transport was a category that applied to almost every flat in the first district where public transport was everywhere.

The city wants the national government to change the law accordingly to make it fairer and in particular the way the rental amount possible to be charged is evaluated.

They said for example that people renting flats almost always took advantage of the opportunities to charge for extras such as the nearness of public transport, but failed to deduct for the disadvantages of their property such as not having a bath.

October Updates

New retail chain shop opens

A new fashion retail chain is in Austria. The extremely popular Primark brand, opened  on 27 September 2012 in Innsbruck SILLPARK... its first store in Austria.  We hope there will be more.

Primark has more than 230 stores in Ireland, England, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Portugal and Belgium.

Austria now has appeared on the expansion map of the chain store and can only benefit from the new development. Primark is in the lower price segment, but with a high quality promise. It has waived traditional advertising and is therefore only in highly used locations with lots of footfall. It is medium to large sales areas that are of interest to the company.

September Updates

Problems with housebuilding financing.

People building houses and renovating properties in Austria claim financing is the biggest problem.

The Linz based Market-Institute carried out a study of property builders and renovators in Austria and found that 10 per cent of those asked would advise against carrying out building work altogether!.

The largest problem according to those asked was financing. 37 per cent of people building houses and 24 per cent of those renovating in Austria have said they had problems with financing their build and claim their project was much more expensive than originally planned.

This is a considerably larger number than in 2009 when only 25 per cent and 23 per cent of people claimed there were problems with the financing.

In addition 23 per cent of people who have built or are building properties claim to have problems with appointments, and late and incorrect deliveries.

17 per cent of those asked said they had problems with workers, the build quality and errors. The same number of people complained about the lack of time, the large amount of work and their itinerary.

Only seven per cent of those asked said they were plagued by unforeseen complications.  Just two per cent complained of stress and problems between people involved.

81 per cent of those who have already completed their building project advise all those considering a building project to consider the financing very carefully before beginning.

75 per cent of those asked advise getting price comparisons of different offers before beginning.

69 per cent would recommend to people they know, who want to build a house, to explore energy saving possibilities to try and keep costs as low as possible.

Just 63 per cent of those asked recommend exploring grant and tax opportunities.

But 10 per cent of those asked said they would totally recommend people to stay away from building a property as they had too many problems.


Property prices rise in Austria

The prices for houses and apartments in Austria have risen once again in the first half of 2012 compared to 2011 prices.

Vienna saw significant rises in certain parts of the city and areas of Lower Austria such as St Pölten and Krems also saw rises.

There are also significant differences in prices in different provinces for example property costs on average 3,000 Euro per square metre in Mödling but only 590 Euro per square metre in Waidhofen an der Thaya in Lower Austria.

Property expert Alexander Ertler said: "The fear over losing money through inflation and mistrust in the financial markets is encouraging increasing numbers of Austrians to invest and try and find security in the property market."

There is an increasing demands for houses on the outskirts of Vienna. For the same amount of money you can get considerably more living space than in a property in the city centre.

This is impacting on the price, for example houses in Korneuburg have increased in price by an average of 17 per cent. Apartments in Wiener Neustadt have increased in some parts by 25 per cent.

In Vienna's Mariahilf district the average price per square metre is 4100 Euro - this is an increase of 16 per cent on last year.

In comparison the cost of rental property only increased relatively moderately in the first half of the year on average by 1.6 per cent.

Ryan Air connection to stay

The Ryanair connection between London and Linz in Upper Austria is not to be scrapped, it has been announced.

In the new winter flight plan announced by Ryanair there will be collections between Linz and London on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Linz Airport is suffering form a reduction in flights. German airline Air Berlin announced that it was cutting the number of flights to Linz.

Between December 24th and January 2nd the Lufthansa route between Frankfurt and Linz has also been cancelled.

At the start of August the management of Linz Airport held a meeting where it was agreed they were going to attempt a new marketing concept and work with airlines to come to new arrangements.

Airport Director Gerhard Kunesch said the victory to keep the Ryanair route was a "significant victory".

The new Ryanair flights can be booked as of now.

It is hoped by next summer that Air Berlin flights could be reinstated but that is dependent on the economic outlook of the airline.

August updates

Find a builder service helps rule out the cowboys!

Finding a decent builder or contractor can be hard enough - but for a foreigner in Austria it can be a daunting task.

But a new service tested recently by the Austrian Times offers a free way to get professional quotes from recommended professionals - eliminating the cowboys in the process.

The new free bidding website supports users in finding the cheapest and most reliable contractor for work around a property.

The Austrian platform that went online this spring, aims at joining customers with the most suitable service companies and professionals for domestic jobs and contract work.

Founder and CEO Georg Tanzer, 36, said: "No matter if you want your garden fence repaired or need advice for the planning of a natural pond or if you want a thorough, professional cleaning of your property with including floors and windows, you’ll find a professional for almost every job on our page."

Registration on is free for potential customers as well as for companies offering their services. Customers benefit from the possibility to start free biddings to receive proposals from different companies and being able to choose the most suitable contractor according to price and earlier customer’s ratings.

Focussing on service quality and reliability, won't allow offers by non registered professionals, (cowboy workers) while regular companies benefit by getting more jobs thanks to the free exposure, the online rating system, and a regular voting for the company of the month.

While is already cooperating with banks, insurance companies and phone companies, Georg Tanzer wants to intensify these cooperations. He said: "One of our aims is to create a win-win situation for profi-book customers as well as for the cooperation partners."

Contractors have the option to pay a monthly fee of 16 Euros to boost their presence on the site that generates revenue by getting a share of each successful contract between a customer and a contractor.

The company behind profi-book is located in Oberhausen, Lower Austria, and is in its present start-up phase concentrating on professionals and customers from the eastern half of Austria but coverage of all of Austria is planned for the end of 2012.

Company spokeswoman Sonja Sagan said:" Right now about 200 professionals and contractors are registered at We are aiming for 500 registered professionals and a volume of orders worth 250,000 Euros by the end of 2012."

At the moment it's in German but will soon be adding an English version.


British firm to build Salzburg hotel complex

A major hotel village is to be added to the infrastructure of the tiny Lungau village of St. Margarethen in Salzburg province.

A British investor is planning to build a 360 bed hotel by the Aineck ski lift station down in the valley.

The approval for the project has already been won and building work will begin this year. The new project will increase the number of beds for visitors in the village by 50 per cent.

It currently has 750 beds – with the new complex it will reach 1,100. That is also a major boost to local tourism – bringing almost 80 new jobs, according to mayor Gerd Brand (SPÖ).

He said: “It is a constant aim to generate jobs here in the Lungau, exactly as we have here.” The Lungau will also benefit during the building stage of the 35 million euro project, he said.

Hallstatt makes peace with Chinese copycat

Austrian residents in the picture postcard Alpine village of Hallstatt are to sign a deal with a Chinese carbon copy village which officially opens on June 2.

Residents of Hallstatt in Austria were furious when their village was copied and rebuilt in China but now a legal challenge over the copyright breach has been dropped, and instead a delegation including Halstatt mayor Alexander Scheutz is to travel to China to sign the friendship treaty between the two.

Scheutz said locals had decided that the decision by the Chinese to create a copy was in fact a compliment and can only help to further spread the fame of his own village of 900 residents.

Never afraid to ‘borrow’ or  imitate, Chinese planners were accused of making the ultimate counterfeit with a settlement copied wholesale for the benefit of wealthy industrialists and located just an hour or so by chauffeur-driven limousine from their grim factories in in Boluo in Guangdong province.

News of the plans for a fake version of the idyllic lakeside village generated a mixture of astonishment, amusement and finally threats of a legal challenge when it was revealed that ‘spies’ from a Chinese developer had been secretly preparing detailed blueprints on furtive European trips, posing as tourists.

No expense was spared on the project. The original buildings were copied and reproduced with startling precision by the China Mine Metal Group. It includes Hallstatt’s 1860 Protestant Christuskirche (Church of our Lord)  at the heart of the town. But the church will not be used to worship – it's a restaurant and concert hall.

Horse-drawn carriages and flocks of white doves have even been imported to lend authenticity to the project where a new villa here built in the style of a 300-year-old lakeside home is being offered at between 200,000 and 500,000, GBP, much higher than the real thing in Austria.

Some things don't measure up. The fake lake, for instance, is not just muddy, it is 50 times smaller than the original, a stagnant shallow pool. Then Chinese Halstatt lacks the two-mile-high snowy mountains that surround the real thing, and instead is ringed by parched yellow hills, a few hundred feet above sea level.

And while the 800 residents of the real Hallstatt breathe pristine mountain air, China’s ‘Alpine’ residents will gaze out only as far as the smog allows across the nation’s black industrial heartland. Pollution is chokingly high in Guangdong province, known as the workshop of the world, causing sickness in almost half the residents.

Promotional literature claims: ‘You can go to Viennese cake shops, a beer house and a romantic Austrian-style square,and there will be a famous international school and kindergartens so children can have a wonderful childhood and get the best education.’ The facilities will include a mountain-top swimming pool, the region’s only mountain sports club, and restaurants serving the best of European cuisine.

There are some geographically improbable extras, too. Hallstatt, China, will include a replica of the street where Mozart was born, Getreidegasse, complete with a Mozart library and a period ironmonger. Getreidegasse is actually in Salzburg. The neighbouring street is named after Vienna’s Belvedere Palace, 200 miles from the real Hallstatt, although the developers have stopped short of trying to reproduce the 18th Century castle.

Wealthy Chinese are the world’s biggest buyers of fine French wines, and a taste for European culture is seen as a mark of sophistication. Luxury homes are often modelled on French chateaux while historic neighbourhoods in China’s own cities are bulldozed to make way for glitzy apartment blocks and shopping malls. China might have thousands of years of history and culture, but such things don’t seem to count.

Because the original is a UNESCO world cultural heritage site locals in Austria had announced plans to take legal action over the copy – but they have now decided that he the Chinese project is actually good advertising - and an honour.

The original Hallstatt’s website even now carries a motto: ‘Hallstatt – the original.  Photographed a million times.  Copied once.’

Mayor Scheutz said: "We only just got the news that the other Hallstatt is almost finished and we are a bit surprised that they've done it so quickly. They haven't really been keeping us informed about their plans but the feeling here now is that it is an honour that they have done this.

"We contacted the Chinese developer and now we have been invited to the official opening will take place on 2 June. They also asked if I could bring a traditional Austrian band with me and I'm going to bring the local Salinenmusikkapelle Hallstatt band with me, complete with lederhosen."

At the same time the Mayor plans to sign the friendship treaty with the Chinese recognising their twin origins.



June - update

Austrian economy recovers, says OECD

The Austrian economy will manage to grow by nearly one per cent this year, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This is good news for the property market and those considering where in Europe to invest in a property.

The Paris-based institution announced that the small alpine state’s economy had chances to do 0.8 per cent better in 2012 than in 2011 before achieving an improvement of 1.6 per cent in 2013.

OECD analysts warned that the economy in some countries in Europe would not manage to recover in the foreseeable future due to exaggerated austerity measures. Francois Hollande, the new president of France, might feel strengthened by this statement. The left-winger emphasised the importance of growth aspects in upcoming EU agreements – a point of view which contradicts ÖVP Finance Minister Maria Fekter’s stance. She labelled Hollande’s visions as "nonsense" in a recent interview.

The OECD’s economic forecast follows predictions by the European Commission (EC) which warn from a decrease of the average GDP in the Eurozone of 0.3 per cent this year compared to 2011. The EC said the Austrian GDP would grow by 0.8 per cent at the same time. Fekter announced that an improvement of 1.2 per cent was possible in her opinion. ÖVP Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner predicted the domestic economy to do "around one per cent" better in 2012 than in 2011.

The Austrian Institute for Economic Research (WIFO) said in its most recent forecast that the Austrian economy will increase by 0.4 per cent from 2011 to 2012. The institute did not correct its prediction ever since issuing it in February – despite positive indicators for Austrian firms which are strongly engaged in export.

Austrian National Bank (OeNB) Governor Ewald Nowotny announced yesterday the bank had plans to alter its forecast for the Austrian economy. The OeNB recently said that the Austrian GDP will edge up by 0.7 per cent from 2011 to this year. Nowotny explained that he saw good chances for a growth rate of one per cent.

10/4/12- update

Austrian Property even cheaper for the UK buyer

With Sterling sitting around the 1.20 - 121, Euro property prices in Austria are even better value. Couple this with an Austrian mortgage, currently around 2.75%. then you have a good formular for butying in Austria


Austrian know-how helps UK House Builders

With temperatures of minus 20 degrees and more in winter and snow that lies on the ground for months at a time compared to temperatures of over 40 degrees in summer Austrian house builders know a lot about extremes.

Little wonder then that they are world leaders in the passive house - or Passivhaus in German - that refers to the standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. The result is an ultra-low energy building that requires little energy for space heating or cooling.

And that knowledge and experience that the Austrians have gathered over the years is now offering opportunities for Austrian companies abroad – especially in the United Kingdom which is admittedly a "late starter" when it comes to such sustainable building.

But According to the Austrian foreign trade centre in London it is now making impressive efforts to catch up, which points out that the UK’s climate targets are very ambitious and demand a radical change of thinking. The mindset, not only of the population in general, but also of the building industry has changed and the impact of this exciting process, which only started a few years ago, is already beginning to show.

The word "Passivhaus", previously a completely unknown term, is already beginning to appear in English usage. The UK "Passivhaus Trust" is an umbrella organisation for building professionals with a specific interest in Passivhaus design and although it was only founded a year and a half ago it already has 150 members – the Austrian foreign trade centre in London is one of the founding members.

Indeed, it seems that Passivhaus design has certainly caught the UK’s attention as it is being successfully lobbied in Parliament to introduce the "Passivhaus standard" into English building regulations. In any case, from 2016, all buildings in England and Wales will be Co2 neutral, i.e. very energy efficient and built sustainably. An even bigger market will arise therefore for the subsequent thermal insulation of old buildings.

Austria is seen as a model example for sustainable building and industry professionals listen intently to the achievements of Ursula Schneider, POS architect from Vienna, and about the experiences and developments in Austria.

As a country, at Ecobuild in London, the leading trade fair for sustainable building, Austria had the biggest presence with 500 square metres of exhibition space and 28 exhibiting companies on one group stand. A further six Austrian companies took part independently. From solar energy solutions, bio-mass heating, heating pumps, windows, the Tirol wood companies and pre-fabricated houses, the "Made in Austria" brand dominated with a strong presence.

There was also a particularly special feature on the foreign trade centre’s group stand that caused much interest this year. The stand featured a "Passivhaus Kaffeehaus", a full scale model of an actual Passivhaus with integrated products, provided by the Austrian exhibitors. During the fair the Austrian P

lakeside bargain houses building plots traditional wooden chalets guesthouses, hotels & businesses new build city investment