Terms of property acquisitionby non-EU and non-Austrian citizens

Real estate purchase terms and conditions for a foreigner in Austria: federal regulations. How can non-EU residents buy properties? Acquisition purposes: for part-time residence, permanent living, commercial and resort. Austrian regions where real estate is not available for purchase. Buying features in Vienna.

December 27, 2019

Buying real estate property in Austria seems to be not so simple for those who do not reside in Euro countries. Austrian municipalities claim for a number of demands one should know to make purchasing successful.

Foreigners stand for persons residing in other countries than European Union and legal entities established abroad. The same thing with companies registered in Austria, but where major shares belong to the foreigners.

Federal regulations of property acquisition

Austrian government protects the state land from speculations when high-income foreigners buy properties in different countries all over the world for resell. For that reason, there have been introduced certain restrictions for non-residents aiming for real estate ownership. If a citizen of the third country decides to sell housing within 10 years from the proprietorship right entered, he has to deduct tax 34% of the price.

The information about obtaining an apartment or a house in Austrian capital Vienna as well as in other provinces is recited in the Acquisition of Property by Foreigners Act.

Federal republic Austria is composed of 9 states – Bundeslander. Important to know, that each province lays down its own laws.

Note: The requirements to purchasing procedure in Vienna considered to be the most favorably disposed towards foreigners. On the contrary, in Salzburg, Vorarlberg and Tirol the respective rules appear much severer. One of the main reasons for that is a close proximity of Germany, from where prosperous people wish for buying homes. Anyway, the responsible authority watches for every real estate transfer and does not allow to sell the most lucrative facilities.

How can a eu-citizen buy a property

Individuals residing in the countries of the European Union and EEA-member states enjoy the same rights as the natives in Austria. To be exact they are free to obtain any real estate in Vienna and other cities. The exception is provided by the areas of farmlands. Restrictions for their usage refer to all persons living in EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Buying real estate by non-eu residents

A private person is granted a right for property ownership in Austria only if he has an EU residence permit. Though the number of regions where it is possible to obtain housing is limited to several: Upper and Lower Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Vienna suburbs. These areas are not extremely sought after among tourists. But here is commercial property available for selling.

Practically any kind of real estate property can be acquired by legal entities, on condition when 51% shares held by EU-residents. A company, registered in Austria should produce good returns, because the costs for its keeping and taxes turn out rather high.

Please note, when establishing a legal entity in Austria, it is necessary to commission a notary or a lawyer and he would possess 51% of a company.

Citizens of the third country intending to buy real estate first should apply for approval of the Land Commission (Grundverkehrskommission). It is available to send the documents online. Pendency of the application can take from 3-4 weeks up to several months. When acquiring property in Graz foreigners do not have to get special permission.

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Purchase particularities: for permanent or temporal residence

It is impossible to obtain property for part-time living, i. e. less than 6 months a year. The authorities in Austria take preventive measures from real estate pre-emption as "the second home" by foreigners:

  • Municipal Council reservation

This scheme works in cities mostly attractive for tourists: Vorarlberg, Salzburg and Tirol. Many foreigners look for owning properties to gain rental income or to have vacancy home to stay at.

  • An official statement of property usage

From the very beginning a purchaser should ratify that he acquires real estate for permanent residence. If thereafter a proprietor fails to observe the rule the inspection committee will inflict penalty 25 000 Euro.Prices for real estate in Austria are generally lower than in prosperous Germany or anywhere else in other well-fare European countries and many wealthy people strive to buy it, that is why Austrian authorities have to depress the demand and keep the prices from overshooting. City municipality should provide maintenance of all buildings, but the state does not gain any profit from that.

Is it possible to acquire resort properties

It is hardly possible to obtain real estate in resort regions of Austria. The law allows acquisition only as the main place of living for privates with residential permit or domicile and registered as the Austrian taxpayers. If you choose the country as the main domicile you will have to spend here not less than 180 days per year.


  1. When buying a property in Austria an EU-citizen are granted equal rights as Austrians themselves.
  2. Generally, private persons do not have rights for real estate acquisition, but legal entities registered in the European Union are free to buy commercial properties.
  3. Requirements for purchasing in Vorarlberg, Salzburg and Tirol appear to be the most complicated and strict, because these are very popular touristic destinations.
  4. The alpine republic comprises 9 lands, each of them sets its own restrictions and regulations for real estate acquisition.
  5. Non-residents can easily buy real estate in Graz – approval for property ownership is not required.

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Anna Pilnikova
Real estate agent