Austria This landlocked central European nation, often known as 'the heart of Europe' is renowned for its spectacular mountains, crystal clear lakes and green valleys. Austria's cities have plenty to recommend them to property buyers with a blend of modern architecture, historic buildings, and continental charm. Austria boasts a strong artistic and musical tradition and its snowy peaks offer excellent winter sports. 'Austria offers the same quality of skiing in high-altitude resorts as in the French Alps, but properties are up to 50% cheaper. Mountain properties are priced according to the quality of local skiing and the amount of rent they can generate. Prices in Austria are rising by 6 to 7% a year and you can avoid the 50% capital gains tax after ten years of ownership.

Foreign residents mainly consist of Germans and some Italians, with the principle language being German.

Capital gains made by residents are taxed as ordinary income at 34%. Your principal home will be exempt unless you sell within five years. All property is exempt after 10 years.

There have been restrictions on Foreign Ownership, with permission to buy property required from the local authority office, with restriction also on buying holiday homes in certain areas. Since joining the EU, Austria will be obliged to change these laws so that they apply equally to Austrian and EU citizens.

Buying property in Austria has long been a popular activity for German and Italian second home buyers, but is increasingly of interest to the British due, to its growing accessibility via low cost airlines. Those thinking about buying property in Austria should be aware that the cost of living is among the highest in Europe. Property prices in Austria are still very favourable to those in Britain.

Austria in the EU including links to Austrian government sites and Tourist Information.

Popular Locations: Ski resorts are popular areas for outside buyers. Summer holiday homes for activity and outdoor pursuits are also well supported during the summer season. Vienna is rich in culture.

 

The cost of Living: The cost of living in Austria is higher than most other EU countries. Austria also enjoys a high standard of living. EU membership will start to reduce the price of imported goods.

 

Buying in Austria: A deposit of lO% is usual but not always necessary in Austria. It is returned if the sale falls through. Property sales are usually handled for both parties by a solicitor/lawyer. The purchase agreement and the documents can be signed before an official at an Austrian embassy abroad and translated if required. When the purchase contracts are signed the funds are deposited in a trustee (escrow) account until completion takes place. The owner details will then be registered in the land registry and can take a few months. The taxes and fees are then paid by the solicitor/lawyer and the agreed purchase price paid to the vendor.



Legal representation: An Austrian solicitor/lawyer would normally have to be employed to handle the sale and buying contracts.

 

Fees/Charges: Total fees should be around 8 to 9% of the buying price and will include property transfer tax of 3.5% and notary fees around 3-4%. The ownership registration should be 1% with stamp duty 0.5-1%, the land registry fees averaging a payment of around 300.



Property Tax: Will be between 0.4-0.9% of the properties assessed value and should be lower than the market sale value. Wealth tax of 1% of your net worth irrespective of your resident status is charged for Austrian property owners.



Mortgages: Can be arranged from Austrian banks for both residents and non residents with variable interest rates and payment terms.

 

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Disclaimer: This guide is for information only and should not be relied upon as definitive. Details have been obtained from various sources and although we have done everything possible to ensure that it is correct, we cannot accept responsibility for it or guarantee its accuracy. This is because processes and laws change frequently, and may also vary dependant upon personal circumstances. You are welcome to use the information provided, but should always obtain confirmation of specific details and get independent specialist and legal advice in the country that the information refers to.

20-10-2009