Austria has seen an increase in residential construction in recent years. In 2021, the activity in residential construction was the highest since the 1980s, according to data from Statistik Austria.
Around 71,2000 flats were built across the country in 2021, which exceeded the already high level of the two previous years by 5 percent and is the highest result since the beginning of the 1980s, the data institute said.
The provinces with more activity were Vienna (23 percent of all completed apartments were built there), followed by Upper Austria (19 percent), Lower Austria (17 percent) and Styria (14 percent). However, the province of Tyrol, in Western Austria, had the highest construction activity per inhabitant, according to the data.
FOR MEMBERS: Is now a good time to buy property in Austria?
Based on annual average population figures, about 7.9 apartments per 1,000 habitants were built in 2021 overall.
The highest rates were registered in Tyrol (9.0), followed by Upper Austria and Styria (both 8.8). The numbers in Vienna include only new homes in new buildings – not any renovations to add apartments to already existing blocs.
Rising costs and fewer new buildings
However, inflation has also been felt in the construction sector, according to a separate report by Statistik Austria.
“In October 2022, construction costs for residential buildings were +7.6 percent, significantly above the October figure of the previous year, but down slightly by 0.3 percent compared to the previous month of September,” said Statistics Austria Director General Tobias Thomas.
The Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) currently expects the completion of new homes to stagnate this year and decline by 2 or 3 percent in 2023, according to Der Standard.
The reasons are inflation, higher construction costs, delivery problems and the new stricter lending guidelines that prevent some people from being able to borrow and finance a home, Wifo economist Michael Klien told the daily.
Austrian housing researcher Wolfgang Amann told Der Standard that, from 2024, the stricter rules would have more impact leading to a “massive drop” of 24 to 30 percent in the completion of single-family homes.
From August 2022, anyone applying for a mortgage in Austria is subject to new rules related to equity and terms and conditions for loans, as The Local reported.
The most significant change to house-buying rules in Austria is that there is now a mandatory deposit of 20 percent of the value of a property, including additional costs. Previously, banks were simply issued with recommendations about a minimum deposit.
Additionally, the monthly loan instalment may not exceed 40 percent of the monthly disposable net household income, and the financing term may not exceed 35 years.
So, what will happen to the property market?
Peter Marschall from Marschall Real Estate in Vienna told The Local: “In one scenario, the political situation is not so bad and property prices and demand go down a bit but not dramatically.
“In the worst case scenario, the war in Ukraine is still ongoing or getting worse, the economy is bad and bankruptcies are increasing.
“The question is, how bad will it get? I hope not as bad as some people predict, but it’s difficult to see into the future right now.”
Justin from Amazing Austria told The Local that he expects prices to fall across the entire property market in Austria next year. However, it might increase transactions in some segments.
Justin said: “Predictions for 2023 are that the market will definitely slow at the lower end.”