Buying in Austria

Buying a property in Austria is mostly defined by EU-standard with some local variations.

The normal procedure is that the buyer does a purchase offer including the main facts that are crucial for a following purchase contract prepared by a lawyer or notary public. Signing of a purchase contract has to be documented by a notary public for registration in the land register.

There are two stages of a contract. Firstly when an offer (even hand written or spoken) is accepted it is binding following Austrian law although everything than a written contract is hard to proof. The second step to get into real estate ownership is the registration in the land register. Until registration the seller still is owner although he is obliged by the contract.

During these two phases the purchase price (or parts of it) normally are paid to an escrow account which is established by the contract preparing lawyer or notary public. There are serious laws regulating escrow procedures with obligate insurance. So there is nearly no risk in the money transfer at a property deal. The seller gets his money after the buyer is secure to be registered in the agreed legal and financial position.

Depending on the agreed time frame between signing the contract and handing over of the property the splitting of the purchase price may vary.

Ground transfer:

In general all EU citizens are treated the same as Austrian buyers. Nevertheless there are local legal differences, that vary within the 9 Austrian states. The different ground transfer laws are executed by the local municipalities controlled or overruled by the state authorities.

Acquiring permanent residences is free for EU citizens. Non EU citizens need a special permission that takes several months and is only given if they are going to work in Austria or there is another reason that appears recognizable for the common interest.

Acquiring a second residence is restricted in most western states of Austria and more liberal in central and eastern states. Most restrictions are in Tyrol and Vorarlberg, similar in Salzburg and Carynthia. More liberal are Upper Austria, lower Austria, Burgenland and Vienna.

Mayors are mainly deciding which properties or how many properties in a village or region are allowed to be acquired for second residential use. In general existing second residences can be sold/acquired for this use again. In many regions no new second residential areas are dedicated. There are local annual taxes for second residences which are not significantly high.

Hard to work with is the fact that there are some legal restrictions that have not been executed in some states for years.

Additional information about the buying process in Austria:

In Austria, restricitions regarding the purchase of secondary residences exist. In general, the purchase of secondary residence has to be approved by the local authorities. However, citizens of the European Union are able to acquire real estate without any restrictions in case they establish their legal residence in Austria.

The sale of real estate requires a notarised sales contract upon which the purchase price is deposited in an escrow account. Ownership is subsequently transferred with registration with the land registry.

Associated costs may include lawyer´s fees, notary fees (approx. 1 % to 2 % of the sales price plus VAT), registration fees (1 %) and property transfer tax (3,5 % of the sales price).

Commissions of real estate brokers vary, but will mostly be based for both buyers and sellers at approx. 3 % of the purchase price (plus VAT).

Some information about the current market:

Prices for luxury apartments are currently based between € 4.000,-- and € 10.000,-- per m² in Vienna.

Detached villas and similar properties fetch between € 3.000,-- and € 6.000,-- per m² in Vienna.

An average medium sized villa in a good location will usually cost arround € 1,5 – 2 million in Vienna.

The most sought areas in Vienna are the city center and the 13 th, 18 th, 19 th district.

Vienna has a very high living standard and it´s currently very popular for wealthy people from eastern europe to have a second home in the city center of Vienna. The prices for luxury apartments increases drastic over the last years.

Wealth tax in Austria is lower than in many other european countries.

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