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About Austria

Austria is a country within the European Union and a member of the Schengen Area. It is renowned for its winter sports, its alpine scenery and its fantastic cities, particularly the capital Vienna, which has been a European hub for thinkers, artists, composers and writers for centuries. It is in the upper ranks of world economies and in terms of property, its various ski resorts are the main attraction for overseas buyers, who find the prices here very competitive.

About Austria

Capital: Vienna
Currency: Euro
Language: German
Schengen Area Member: Yes

Austria is a country within the European Union and a member of the Schengen Area. It is renowned for its winter sports, its alpine scenery and its fantastic cities, particularly the capital Vienna, which has been a European hub for thinkers, artists, composers and writers for centuries.

Austria covers an area of 83,878 square kilometres with a population of 8.7 million residents, including 1.3 million foreign citizens (15.3% of total population). It is a federal state consisting of nine provinces and each province has its own capital. Vienna is Austria’s most densely populated province, whilst the Tyrol has the lowest population. Transport links are good within Vienna and the provincial capitals, and there are four airports in Austria serving international and domestic routes.

Austria joined the European Union in 1995, which has made it more attractive to buyers from within the EU, who have increased freedom to buy. The capital Vienna, sitting famously on the ‘Blue Danube’ is one of the most attractive cities in Europe and is renowned for its music culture, its grand architecture and its historic cafes. Austrians are generally welcoming to newcomers and outside city life, there are many rural areas worth exploring, such as the famous Tyrol and its capital Innsbruck, or Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart.

Austrian economy

The Austrian economy grew by 1.5% in 2016. Its GDP at current prices was approximately €349.5 billion in 2016 and GDP per inhabitant equalled €39,990. This puts Austria in the upper ranks of EU and world economies and it offers a commensurate lifestyle. Its primary economic sectors are: food, steel, machinery, chemicals, vehicles, electronics, wood and paper. It is also famous for its winter sports tourism.

Austrian culture

Although Austrians are German speakers (although their German is very different), this does not make them culturally identical with their German neighbours. They aren’t given to travelling and are happy to stay around or near their hometowns and you could say that they value stability more than excitement. You will find that people are very polite and although they may be fascinated by you as a foreigner, they will resist from asking too many personal questions. In return, it is best to apply this rule when you meet locals for the first time. Most Austrians speak English, but you will integrate faster if you make an effort to learn German.

You will also find that leisure activities, such as going to the opera, are not reserved for the rich in Austria. Practically all cultural activities are extremely accessible and there are massive discounts for students, for the young, the elderly and the unemployed. On top of that, theatre, ballet, concert and opera tickets are generally quite cheap, even if you are paying full price.

Location and price


Austrians have a long tradition of renting rather than buying and in Vienna some 75% of properties are rentals. However, foreign buyers have been snapping up property for sale since Austria joined the EU, which meant a relaxation of the foreign ownership rules. As a result, prices have risen in the Austrian capita, but they are still lower than in many other European capitals. Do note that Austria doesn’t appreciate buyers trying to ‘flip’ property. You have to live in your property for a minimum of five years, or pay capital gains tax at a flat rate of 25%.

Austria offers the most affordable ski properties and its lovely Alpine villages offer great hospitality and a fantastic holiday environment. Austrian property prices are sure and steady and are slowly appreciating. The popularity of Austrian ski resorts even in summer, when hikers visit, means that owners can make good rental income from properties here. Most people buy ski homes in one of three provinces: Salzburgerland, the Tyrol or Vorarlberg. Of these, the Tyrol is most expensive, especially around the resort of Kitzbuhel. If you opt for the less glamorous provinces, such as Carinthia, you will find that chalet and apartment prices are significantly lower.

The acquisition of property must be registered in the government land register. It is recommended that you seek a notary or lawyer to advise you and to help carry out this procedure. When purchasing an apartment or a house you should put aside approximately 10 percent of the purchase price for additional costs (e.g, notary, taxes, official administration, financing fees, estate agent commission).

Living in Austria

Within three days of moving to Austria, you have to register with the municipal administration. You only need to bring the residence registration form and your passport.

Adapting to Austrian life

The Austrian government has introduced several measures to help foreigners integrate. Every non-EU citizen with a Red-White-Red Card, automatically signs the Integration Agreement, under which he or she is required to attend German classes to attain level A2 of the European language level assessment framework. EU citizens do not have to attend classes, but it is advisable to learn German, especially if you plan to live in Austria year round.

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