Pros and cons of living in Vienna

Vienna is a popular destination among tourists and expats. Read more about the pros & cons of living in the capital of Austria.

April 11, 2023

The Austrian capital attracts expats from all over the world and is considered to be the most liveable city according to the 2022 Global Liveability Index by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Whilst families with children choose to reside in Leopoldstadt and Donaustadt, those who wish to enjoy a vibrant lifestyle choose Innere Stadt and Landstraße.

About 75% of residences in Vienna are rented with an average rental cost of EUR 834 in the centre. In terms of housing for purchase, 1 sq. m in the historical heart of the city costs EUR 17,140 and EUR 4,530 in the outskirts.

Quality of living in Vienna

Vienna is a popular destination among tourists and expats who want to experience a harmonious lifestyle in one of the most breathtaking and historically rich European capitals. In 2022, the Austrian capital was named the most liveable city for the third time in 5 years, according to the 2022 Global Liveability Index, published by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) every year. Vienna reached a score of 99.1 (out of 100) in the final index of the most liveable cities, reaching 100 in the fields of stability, healthcare, education and infrastructure, and 96.3 in environment and culture.

In 2019, according to the Mercer's Quality of Living city ranking, Vienna topped the ranking for the 10th time since 2009, which can be explained by its developed public transport, infrastructure, healthcare system, a wide range of cultural facilities and places of interest, and many other reasons. Taking into consideration the ongoing changes in living conditions all over the world, the release of the ranking was suspended during the last few years.

Note: Vienna, being one of the greenest cities in the world, is known for its parks that are ideal for walking and relaxing with your close ones. Read more about the city’s famous parks in this article.

Best neighbourhoods in the Austrian Capital

Vienna is divided into 23 municipal districts. Those wishing to enjoy living in the heart of the Austrian capital whilst easily being able to get to famous landmarks, might be interested in the Innere Stadt, the 1st district of Vienna, which is one of the most desirable areas among tourists.

Here you will find Rathaus, Museum of Art History, Peterskirche, Vienna State Opera, Burgtheater, Albertina Museum, as well as other famous sights. Innere Stadt is home not only to places of interest, but also to luxury hotels and designer properties. Landstraße, the 3rd district of Vienna, boasts sights such as Belvedere Palace, Vienna Concert Hall, KunstHausWien and many more.

Families with children might be interested in Donaustadt, the 22 district, which offers the famous Danube Island, which is an ideal place for spending time with your close ones whilst enjoying nature, water sports, sunbathing, dining in gourmet restaurants and watching the city from a bird’s eye view from the Danube Tower. Another option is Leopoldstadt, the 2nd district, which is home to Prater, offering roller coasters and attractions of all kinds for both adults and children. Among its famous rides are the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel, Super Autodrome, Prater Tower and Olympia Looping.

Students prefer living in rented apartments in Josefstadt, the 8th district, and Alsergrund, the 9th district, as they’re both within close proximity to the University of Vienna, which is one of the largest institutions of higher education in Europe. Alsergrund is also home to Sigmund Freud Museum and the WUK, which is an open cultural space, where many art and social events take place.

Renting a flat in Vienna

The average price of renting a 1-bedroom apartment in the heart of Vienna is EUR 834 per month, ranging from EUR 700 to EUR 1,200. The same type of residence outside the city centre will cost from EUR 540 to EUR 900 per month. A 3-bedroom apartment in the centre of the Austrian capital will cost from EUR 1,100 to EUR 3,000 per month depending on the size, location and quality of the property, with an average rental price of EUR 1,640. The cost of a 3-bedroom residence outside the city centre can vary from EUR 900 to EUR 1,900.

In comparison to other European cities, Vienna is more attractive for tenants. Thus, the average rental price for a 1-bedroom apartment in the centre of the Austrian capital is 64.4% and 36.3% lower in comparison to London and Paris, whereas the average rental prices for this type of residence in these cities are EUR 2,067 and EUR 1,309 respectively.

While renting an apartment in Vienna, keep in mind that several costs should be taken into consideration, including security deposit which is equal to 3–6 months’ gross rent.

Note: If you have just moved to Austria from another country or moved from one home to another, you should register at your new address within three days. In case you move out, you should deregister within the same period of time.

Process of buying an apartment in Vienna

According to Statistics Austria, in 2022 residential property prices in Austria went up by 11.6% on average. Q4 2022 showed the first decrease since 2016 which reached 0.6% in comparison to Q3 2022. Prices of new homes grew by 14% in comparison to 2021, while secondary homes saw a 10.5% price rise.

The average cost per sq. m in the 1st district of Innere Stadt is about EUR 17,140 in terms of apartments with a size of up to 50 sq. m, whilst a residence of the same size in the 22nd district of Donaustadt will cost about EUR 7,380 per sq. m.

The lowest price per sq. m in the Austrian capital at the moment is in the 17th district of Hernals at EUR 4,530. The average price of buying a 1-bedroom apartment with a living area of 50 sq. m in the centre of Vienna is EUR 857,000, in Donaustadt — EUR 369,000, and in Hernals — EUR 226,500. In the centre of Paris 1 sq. m within an apartment costs EUR 12,200, and in London — EUR 12,380, which means that purchasing a residence in Vienna is a more profitable investment if you wish to move to Europe or just purchase an apartment in one of the most vibrant cities on the continent.

Note: Buying a real estate unit in Austria leads to additional costs which is equal to almost 10% of the property price, in which the payment goes to real estate agents, lawyers, taxes, etc.

Utilities & Bills

When purchasing a residential property in Vienna, it’s possible that you will be able to transfer utilities from the previous owner with no issues. This will save time, as you won’t need to find a new supplier. If there are no connections in your new property, you will need to set them up, which can take several weeks.

In terms of renting a residence in the Austrian capital, it is most likely that everything is already connected, and the landlord will include payments for utilities within your monthly payments. However, you should be familiar with the utility prices before signing the contract. Those renting a serviced apartment for a short term stay usually get utilities included in their rental payments.

The average utility costs in Vienna for an apartment with an area of 85 sq. m is about EUR 225, whilst the average price for the Internet with a speed from 60 Mbps and unlimited data is EUR 30.

Note: Over 80% of electricity generated in Austria is made from renewable sources which include hydroelectricity, wind and biomass.

Benefits & Drawbacks of living in Vienna

In accordance with the Expat Insider 2022 ranking, 21% of expats moved to Austria because they were finding a job, 14% came to the country because their partner/lover lives here and 13% decided to continue their studies here. It’s worth noting 94% of expats appreciate the travel opportunities, 83% of those surveyed stated that the Austrian healthcare system is affordable. Moreover, 53% of expats rate the cost of living in a positive way and 64% of them are happy with their financial situation.

However, foreigners moving to Austria sometimes face difficulties. Thus, 34% states it’s not easy to get used to Austrian culture, while 52% finds it difficult to make friends with local residents. Moreover, even though Austrians speak English, in accordance with the 2022 EF English proficiency index from EF Education First, the country was ranked 3rd after the Netherlands and Singapore, so knowing German is essential to enjoying life to the maximum in Austria. All these issues can be overcome if a person is interested in Austrian traditions, its lifestyle, and is open-minded with making friends with Austrian nationals.

If you are interested in moving to Vienna and wish to learn more about real estate here, do not hesitate to contact our Luxury Immobilien GmbH brokers, who will assist you with the process of choosing the property, preparing all the documents, getting a mortgage from a local bank if it’s necessary, right through to getting the keys of your new home.
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Anna Pilnikova
Real estate agent