Property in Austria – Guide to Buying Property in Austria

Thinking of buying a property in Austria? This informative article will help you to understand the Austrian property market in addition to outlining the actual buying process to acquiring a property in Austria.


The Austrian Property Market

In considering an overview of real estate in Austria, the most striking fact associated with real property in that country is the fact that overall the costs associated with real estate in Austria is higher than any other country in Europe. In addition, the cost of living in Austria generally is higher than any other country in Europe at the present time.

With this in mind, it is also important to note that the tax rate in Austria when it comes to the buying and selling of real estate in that country also runs rather high. For example, any capital gains that are experienced on the sale of real estate is taxed in Austria as regular income at the significant rate of 34%. There are exceptions to this taxation. First of all, a piece of real estate that is used as a primary residence is exempt from this tax. Additionally, all real estate that is held for ten yours or more is exempt from this taxation as well. Therefore, many people, including foreign nationals, hold on to investment real estate for at least ten years before turning around and selling the property for a profit.

Historically, Germans have been the primary group of foreign nationals that have taken to purchasing real estate in Austria.

Investment Property in Austria

As will be discussed in greater detail later, foreign nationals have a history of investing in real estate in Austria. In recent years, significant steps have been taken and made to streamline and simplify the manner in which foreign nationals can invest in real estate in Austria. This particular is true when it comes to foreign nationals from the countries that make up the European Union.

A foreign national that is interested in investing in real estate in Austria needs to keep in mind that the cost of real estate in that country is higher than in any other country in Europe. Thus, for the most part, individuals who find themselves investing in real estate in Austria tend to be a bit better heeled and tend to have a higher amount of disposable income.

The tax implications of buying and selling real estate in Austria also need to be kept in mind when it comes to a foreign national making an investment in real estate in that country. These implications are set forth and discussed previously .

Residential Real Estate in Austria – Single Family Properties

Foreign nationals do make the purchase of single family residences and dwellings in Austria with some regularity. Far and above, the greatest number of foreign nationals who are purchasing single family residences in Austria are Germans. Italians are coming in at second place with citizens from other EU nations coming in rather far behind. Of course, there are some people from other nations that are also making the purchase of single family residences in Austria.

Most people who are foreign nationals who are purchasing real estate in Austria are doing to to establish second homes. For the most part, these homes are being used as retreats and for holiday purposes .

Residential Real Estate in Austria – Apartments

Some foreign nationals have taken to purchasing apartments in various locations throughout the country of Austria. For the most part, these foreign nationals are purchasing these apartments in the more urban areas in the country. In addition, some foreign nationals are found to be purchasing apartments in some of the resort communities in that country.

Apartments in Austria do not necessarily come cheaply. Indeed, as has been referenced elsewhere, the costs associated with real estate in Austria tends to run far higher than what is found in other countries around the world .

Holiday Property in Austria

Austria is a prime vacation spot in the European community in this day and age. Indeed, Austria has been a haven for travelers and tourists for many, many years. With this in mind, a goodly share of the real estate that is trading on the marketplace at this point in time involves property that is intended for vacation and holiday purposes.

Many foreign nationals who are purchasing vacation or holiday real estate in Austria actually are finding these purchases to be rather lucrative. For example, these foreign nationals are buying real estate — purchasing vacation properties — that they then utilize in part for their own holiday purposes. However, in addition to using these properties for their own personal holiday purposes, many foreign nationals have commenced the practice of renting or leasing these properties to other people. It is this letting process that has proven profitable over the course of the past couple of decades for an ever growing number of foreign nationals.

Most real estate experts who have spent any time analyzing and considering the market in Austria have concluded that this trend will continue well into the future. Because buying and then renting vacation property has proven to be a solid and profitable investment for so many people, even more foreign nationals are attracted to such real property ownership all of the time. This factor, coupled with the tax benefits to be realized by holding onto real estate for a period of at least ten years, has rendered these investments truly sought after at this point in time.

Specific steps to buying real estate property in Austria

There are some restrictions on the manner in which foreign nationals can purchase and possess real estate in Austria. Indeed, historically there were some more significant steps that a foreign national had to undertake in order to be able to buy and own real estate in the country. However, in recent years, there has been a general relaxation in regard to the laws that govern foreign ownership of real estate in Austria.

The most significant changes and relaxations in the laws governing foreign ownership of real estate pertain to foreign nationals from the European Union nations. Simply, since the formation of the EU and since Austria’s reception into the EU, any foreign national within the EU can purchase real estate in Austria with ease. Indeed, for all practical purposes, at this juncture, a citizen from the EU stands in essentially the same position that a citizen of Austria stands when it comes to the purchase and ownership of real estate in that country.

When it comes to foreign nationals from non-EU nations, there remains one rather significant restriction on the ability of these foreigners to buy and own real estate in Austria. In short, before a foreign national from an non-EU can purchase real estate in Austria, that person must obtain permission from the local authority office in the locality in which the foreign national desires to make the purchase of real estate.

Generally speaking, approval from the local authority is easy to come by and will be granted in the vast majority of instances. Additionally, this approval normally is forthcoming in a very short amount of time.

Once a foreign national has identified a piece of real estate that he or she is interested in purchasing, an oral offer is made to the seller. If the seller accepts the offer — or, if the seller puts forth a counteroffer that is acceptable as such to the buyer — a purchase agreement is prepared. In Austria, more often than not, a solicitor or lawyer handles the affairs associated with the buying and selling or real estate.

As a matter of normal routine, the buyer will post a deposit in the amount of 10% at the time the purchase agreement is executed. The deposit will be held in escrow, pending the completing of the sales transaction itself. If the sale falls apart through no fault of the buyer, the buyer will have his or her deposit returned.

When the completion date rolls around, the seller will be responsible for making certain that all contract provisions that apply to him or her have been satisfied. More often than not this primarily includes making certain that the property is free from any encumbrances that might interfere or impede the conveyance of the real estate to the buyer.

At the time of the completion date, the buyer will need to have his or her financing in place and in order. At the time set for the completion of the transaction, the buyer will pay the remaining balance due and owing on the purchase agreement. Once this payment is made, ownership of the real estate will transfer by operation of Austrian law to the buyer. However, the new ownership of the real estate — the ownership of the buyer in the real property — will need to be registered with the Austrian Land Registry.

The process of fully registering the real estate with Austrian Lad Registry can take up to three or four months in some instances. It is not a quick process, more often than not.

When it comes to obtaining financing for the purchase of real estate in Austria, Austrian banks generally will lend money to citizens of that country and foreign nationals alike .

Property Abroad always recommends using a Solicitor or Lawyer

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off