A Guide to Buying Property in Austria

Essential information when buying property and real estate in Austria

Non-Austrian citizens are allowed to buy Austrian property and real estate for investment:~

If you are an EU citizen you have the same rights and responsibilities as Austrian citizens in all matters, including the purchase of homes in Austria. In some areas of Austria you are allowed to buy property as your main home or as a holiday home or for rental. However, there are traditionally some areas where properties may only be bought as a primary residence unless the property has second home status, for example this rule is very strong in the Tirol and in *Salzburgerland.

*PLEASE NOTE: Salzburgerland has introduced a change to the law in this province, relating to property purchase, which has the effect of toughening existing law so that it is likely to be applied as strictly as that found in the Tirol. The principal effect is that property in the whole of Salzburgerland can only be purchased as a primary residence, unless it has designated second home status.

Purchase Process:~

An offer to purchase a property in Austria is a legal document and as such it is made in writing. This will be prepared for you by the estate agent and is called a 'kaufanbot'. All of the associated purchase costs (listed below) will be detailed in the 'kostenaufstellung' form which will accompany the offer document. After you have signed the offer document it will be submitted to the vendor who will have a fixed period of time, usually 7-10 days, to accept your offer by signing the offer document. After this time if the offer remains unsigned by the vendor, the offer lapses. Before submitting an offer you must have your finances in place, including a written mortgage offer, where applicable, because from the point of signing you cannot back out! There is no such thing in Austria as an offer 'subject to contract'. 

Once the offer is signed by both parties, a lawyer, (who acts for both parties in Austria), will draw up a contract and the completion date will be agreed between you and the vendor. You will be expected to transfer the purchase price, plus the purchase costs, into the lawyer's trust account well before the completion date. The contract will be checked and witnessed by the Notary who also acts as an intermediary between the two parties. Once completion has taken place, and the buyer has been entered into the Land Registry, with unencumbered title, the purchase price will be paid to the vendor.

The timetable for the purchase must be agreed between the parties and the whole process can take as little as 6-8 weeks.

Valuations and Surveys:~

Valuations and surveys of property are very unusual in Austria because the properties tend to be extremely well built, to withstand the extreme temperatures, and are only built by Master Builders. However, if you are proposing to buy an older property, requiring renovation, you may wish to pay for a survey, by one of the builders who are qualified for this, in order to ascertain the extent and likely cost of any renovations. 

The Additional Purchase Costs:~

The additional costs associated with buying a property in Austria amount to 10-11% of the purchase price. These are:

Stamp Duty 3.5%

Land Registry  1.1%

Estate Agent Fees 3% (plus VAT @ 20%)

Lawyer/Notary Fees up to 1.5% up to a maximum of 2.5% (plus VAT @ 20%)

Running Costs:~

The price of utilities in Austria is much the same as in the UK and your estate agent will help you to get these changed into your name after purchase. The easiest way to pay them is via direct debit through your local bank in Austria. As winters in Austria are comparatively severe, you are likely to pay double the amount you would pay in the UK for your heating bills. Local authority charges, which will include refuse and metered water and sewage, are generally cheaper than those in the UK and can also be paid through your local bank. Banks here are incredibly friendly and it is very easy to open an account with your passport and home address.

Capital Gains Tax:~

*** New rules have recently been introduced in Austria regarding capital gains tax payable on property sales. The old rule was that up to 50% of profit was payable if selling within 10 years. The new rule is that capital gains tax is payable at a rate of 25% of the profit made on all sales of property. There is no time limit and this tax is payable whenever a property is sold at a profit.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the information given on these webpages is correct, it is offered as general advice only and you must always satisfy yourself as to its accuracy. No responsibility, of any sort, can be taken by Live Austria, the company or its agents. We recommend that you should always take professional legal advice before purchasing any property.