Purchase of real estate in Austria

You don’t have to be a skiing enthusiast to enjoy Austria. The country’s magnificent nature, its exciting and changing history as well as a multitude of cultural offers guarantee good experiences all year round. There are gradually quite a few Danes who have fallen for the charm of this country, which is so different from our own flat world. They are therefore considering acquiring a holiday home in popular areas such as Tirol, Carinthia or Styria. The offer is relatively large and very varied, but on the other hand there is also a great international demand for attractive holiday homes in the right location.

Although Austria, in contrast to Denmark, has relatively relaxed rules for EU citizens’ purchase of real estate in the country, there are many special regional conditions that apply, which the buyer must be aware of. In the following, only a number of general matters regarding the purchase and taxation of real estate in Austria are taken into account. Since, depending on the chosen federal state, special conditions will always apply in connection with the individual purchase, we advise the buyer to secure the necessary legal assistance already early in the project, but in any case before signing the contract to the dream home.

Where can you buy a holiday home?

Holiday homes can generally be purchased in all 9 Austrian federal states, but since Austria has protected certain regional areas by means of the country’s planning law in order to preserve the possibility of effective farming and forestry, there are various restrictions. It can therefore e.g. be necessary to obtain a special permit from the Grundverkehrsbehörde in the federal state in question before the transaction can take place.

It is important to be aware of which permits, if any, must be obtained. An oversight on this front costs a hefty fine in the range of several DKK 100,000 as well as a possible forced auction of the property.

What costs should you expect with the purchase?

By agreement, the buyer pays the purchase price in whole or in part into a client account with the notary, while the necessary permits from various authorities are obtained.

The tax on the purchase of real estate (Grunderwerbssteuer) in Austria is according to Grunderwerbssteuergesetz 3.5% of the purchase price. If you buy from a family member, this rate is reduced to 2% of the purchase price.

The fee is due after all necessary permits have been obtained and before the land registration in the name of the new owner. Only when the relevant tax authority (Finanzamt) has received the amount does it send the buyer the so-called Selbstberechnungserklärung, a document which is a prerequisite for the buyer to be registered as the new owner of the property.

Austrian property tax, which is calculated from the property’s tax value, currently amounts to 1%. If a mortgage deed is issued with security in the property, a 1.2% fee is calculated on the amount that must be registered.

A one-off fee of 43 Euro is due at the registration.

In Austria, contracts relating to the purchase of real estate must be registered with the help of a notary, who must also ensure that all formalities in connection with the transfer of the property are observed. The notary’s fee is generally between 1-2% of the purchase price.

If you have found your dream home, it is advisable to contact a lawyer who can assist with the purchase. It often turns out that it is very difficult to get an overview of the legal, linguistic and practical problems in connection with a real estate transaction on a foreign market, when condition reports, printouts of land registers, copies of priorities, easements, etc. have to be obtained.

In many cases, it is appropriate to contact a Danish lawyer who, in collaboration with an Austrian colleague, can solve the task.

If there is a real estate agent involved in the transaction, you must expect approx. 3% of the purchase price in broker’s fee. This fee is subject to VAT. Austrian VAT is currently 20%.

Lawyer Sandra Moll Dirscherl advises on the purchase of real estate in Austria. She answers questions about this and you are welcome to contact her.