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24 June 2016: Why UK citizens will continue to buy property in Austria

After today’s unexpected referendum result to leave the EU, UK buyers are asking about the repercussions when buying property in Austria.  Below we have listed a few pointers which may help when deciding to invest in Austrian property.

2016 is still a good time to invest in Austria:  this year Austria will receive another record number of summer and winter tourists from inside and outside the EU which will drive local investment in tourism infrastructure and support growth in rental income by our fully-managed rental programme.  On the back of these positive numbers we predict the solid capital growth within the Austrian tourism property market to continue: 16.5% in the last 4 years versus a fall of 5.7% in France (source: Knight Frank, June 2016).

Austrian ski property prices outperform Switzerland & France

No real change for UK buyers in the short term: if Article 50 is triggered by the UK government, we predict no change for the following two years as we negotiate our exit and trading relationship with the EU.  Purchases before conclusion of the exit will not be affected retrospectively – once you are in Land Registry your ownership cannot be reversed.  UK buyers should always consider the Sterling / Euro exchange rate to ensure they negotiate a good deal when converting their currency but there are many outside factors which affect the exchange rate and we predict Sterling will strengthen once the uncertainty has been removed.

Non-EU citizens are already buying our Austrian properties: should a UK buyer’s status in Austria change once we have left the EU, non-EU citizens may buy Austrian properties through limited companies with a registered office inside the EU and there is no requirement for the shareholder to be a European citizen.  Furthermore, with 1.2m UK citizens living in EU member states and 2.9m EU citizens living inside the UK, we predict both the EU and UK governments will agree a fair deal for both sides without delay.

Tax:  the UK has an extensive network of international double tax treaties. The double tax treaty with Austria will remain unaffected.  To provide balanced and accurate advice to our clients, Kristall Spaces has negotiated a very reasonable tax package with an Austrian accountancy firm specialising in tourism rental properties.  UK buyers may engage the tax advisors at the time of purchase to ensure a seamless registration with the Austrian tax authorities and advise on local tax issues during the purchase and process VAT rebates and tax returns.

Mortgages: Austria has always welcomed British buyers who invest in their tourist destinations.   All Kristall Spaces apartments come with a rental obligation and the tax authorities waive the 20% VAT on the purchase price in return for your agreement to rent the property and support the growing numbers of visiting tourists to the resort (40million people per annum).  Your property is classified as a small business and the rental income may be used to service a mortgage with a local bank. Financing a part of your purchase in Euros and servicing the mortgage with Euro rental income acts as a ‘hedge’ against Sterling / Euro exchange rate fluctuations.

Property for sale in Austria - visitor numbers

About Kristall Spaces ski properties: we carefully choose our developments in high demand locations so they sell out fast (95% before construction is complete).  We have an international mix of owners from inside and outside of the EU who choose our ski apartments (average Price per sqm € 5,500 – except St Anton € 11,500) based on their affordability compared to Swiss and French resorts, access to high altitude slopes / glaciers and increasingly their dual season status (Oetz receives nearly as many visitors in summer as winter).

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Stanford University: hiking improves your mental state

Even without the snow, the Austrian Alps draw visitors from all over the world to hike through its stunning, majestic scenery.  The dual season of Oetz, for example, receives nearly as many tourists in summer as winter with the Acherkogelbahn starting up on 4 June and running through 9 October to whisk walkers up to 2,020m in just 8 minutes as a starting base to a choice of high alpine walks.

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We all know hiking is great exercise which provides plenty of physical benefits, but recent studies have suggested it can have positive mental effects, ranging from improving mental health to enhancing creative thinking.

Hiking to Improve Mental Health

A recent experiment at Stanford University has provided evidence that walking through natural surroundings produces a measurable reduction of “morbid rumination” — brooding to you and me. Gregory Bratman of School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences divided his volunteers into two groups, one of which was sent on a for 90-minute walk through countryside, the other for the same distance through an urban area.

While it’s not surprising that the first group felt more relaxed, questionnaires before and after the walk also showed that they saw a reduction in their morbid rumination, a state which, in more extreme forms, can lead to mental illness.  The second group showed no reduction, even though they’d walked the same distance.

Bratman went further, though, and examined changes in a part of the brain called the subgenual prefrontal cortex, which is known to control brooding. The volunteers who’d enjoyed the countryside walk had lower activity here after they’d finished, supporting the results of the questionnaire.

Other Mental Benefits of Hiking

Another study, this time by the University of British Columbia, demonstrated that aerobic exercise, such as hiking, increased the capacity of the hippocampus (the part of the brain that is involved in memory forming, organising, and storing). This improves memory, both in the short term and by slowing down the loss of our memory power as we age.

At the other end of the life-span, a study by Frances E. Kup and Andrea Faber Taylor has shown that children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) benefit from exposure to “green outdoor activities”. Their ability to concentrate improves, suggesting that this might also help anyone with attention problems.

A study by Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer suggested that hiking through a natural environment also improves mental creativity. Volunteers who spent several days hiking in the countryside with no technology to distract them scored higher in creative exercises on their return than before they started.

All-Round Benefits

There’s still plenty more work to be done on these studies, such as determining the relative importance of the walking itself and the surroundings, as well as whether it enhances the effects or detracts to have company.

It seems clear, though, that hiking through beautiful scenery is good for us both physically and mentally. And you don’t find hiking more exhilarating nor scenery more sensational than Tirol.

Check out the following websites for hiking inspiration in Oetz and Galtür.

oetz summer walk

There’s something about the combination of the mind-blowing landscape and the good humour and generosity of the Tiroleans that’s irresistible to walkers, from beginners to tough mountain-hurdlers.

Brexit and buying property in Austria

UK buyers looking to buy property in the Austrian Alps are asking lots of questions but not being put off by a potential Brexit.

According to a recent survey conducted by A Place in the Sun, 70% of Brits say that Britain leaving the EU would not prevent or even postpone their plans to purchase a second home in Europe.

The effect of a Brexit and the free movement of capital from the UK to the European Union is likely to be minimal for a number of reasons.

Here are some of the key questions and answers from UK buyers.

If I buy now and we Brexit, what happens with my ownership rights as non-EU citizens cannot personally buy in Austria?

This is not quite true. Non EU-citizens can buy property in Austria.

The right to buy or own property in the EU by a Brit is not going to be materially diminished, whatever happens.

Should we vote to leave the EU in June 2016 (40% probability according to HSBC and UBS) it will take at least two years for the exit to take effect, during which time you retain the same rights as any EU citizen.

Furthermore, there are 1 million Brits who own properties in the EU and lots of EU owners here, so it is extremely unlikely that the host countries will suddenly impose restrictions.

Swiss or Norwegians have not been penalised and there are lots of Americans, Russians and Chinese with property in Europe.

In any event, you can opt to buy property through a limited company which has a registered office inside the EU and it is no longer necessary for the shareholder or ultimate beneficiary to be a European citizen.

Will the double tax treaty with Austria still be in place if we Brexit or could I end up paying tax on my rental income twice and future capital gains etc?

A Brexit would have no impact on the UK’s extensive double tax treaty network, which is not based on EU membership.

The double tax treaties we have signed with EU countries will remain unaffected because the agreements to ensure people are not taxed twice on the same money are made individually with each country.

Should I buy now or wait in case we don’t Brexit and the exchange rate gets better? 

The Sterling / Euro exchange rate will see some fluctuation between now and June depending on the polls but the cost of a Brexit has been mostly factored into the equation by the large institutions.

For added security buyers can lock in today’s exchange rate for the next two years by paying a deposit of 5 to 10% now.  Our Forex partner can assist with this.

Should I take out an Austrian euro mortgage or a UK mortgage?

European banks have strong lending divisions that have created mortgage products aimed at UK buyers and these will continue even if Brexit happens.

Austria welcomes British buyers who invest in their tourist destinations and even after Brexit, a British buyer would find it easy to get a mortgage in Austria.

Kristall Spaces apartments come with a rental obligation when owners are not using the property and local tax authorities waive the 20% VAT on the purchase in return for your agreement to rent the property and support the growing numbers of visiting tourists to the resort (40million people per annum).

The status of a rental property means your apartment is classified as a going concern and the rental income in Euros can be used to pay down your Euro based mortgage, which acts as a hedge against any future exchange rate fluctuation.

Kristall Spaces has negotiated a very reasonable tax package with an Austrian accountancy firm specialising in tourism residences.

You can engage the tax advisors at the time of purchase.

They will register you for VAT in Austria, advise you on tax issues during the purchase process and handle your VAT and Tax returns in the future.

Still unsure or want to discuss other aspects with us?  Please contact us today.

New lift connections: St Anton and Lech make 350km of skiing

The Arlberg is already a world-class ski region, but it’s going to get even bigger and better.  Work has begun on 4 new lifts, due to be open by next winter, which will link up St Anton with Lech, creating Austria’s biggest interconnected ski area and one of the biggest in the world.

The New Lifts

€45m (£35m) are being invested in the project, which will see four new lifts:

  • Flexenbahn, linking Stuben near St Anton with Zürs on the Lech side, will be a gondola with a 10-person cabin and a capacity of 2,400 people per hour. The 6-minute journey will offer breathtaking views of the Arlberg Pass through panoramic windows and the return route will be a 1.8km piste that descends 562m
  • Trittkopfbahn I will lead from Zürs to an intermediate station, linking with the Flexenbahn
  • Trittkopfbahn II will offer an alternative route further up to a new station
  • Albonabahn II links with the Flexenbahn at Alpe Rauz, near Stuben

panokarte_flexenbahn

The Extended Area

The extended Arlberg ski area will have 350km of slopes and 87 lifts, with easy access to all parts of the region. Although it’s currently possible to ski from the St Anton side to the Lech side of the Arlberg, this is only open to expert skiers with a guide on challenging off-piste slopes. There’s also no easy return and so thankfully the number of daily bus trips between Zürs and Stuben/Alpe Rauz via the Flexengallery will be reduced by 120.

To celebrate, the Arlberg region has established a “Run of Fame” route from Warth, by way of Lech to St Anton, incorporating 65km of pistes with a total descent of 18,000m.  A “Hunt of Fame” race has been announced, though there are few details available at the moment.

World Class

The Arlberg is a major ski region, but this new series of connections makes it one of the largest in the world, overtaking the French regions of Val d’Isère/Tignes Espace Killy and Grand Massif. The new Arlberg’s exact size ranking is a little uncertain, since some of the claims of the larger ski areas around the world are disputed.

Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that the Arlberg will now be in the top 10 if not top 5 ski areas world-wide. The exact opening dates of the new lifts has been uncertain, but recently it was suggested that they’ll be open to the public in November this year.

Buying & owning Austrian property FAQ

ZONING AND OWNERSHIP

What is a “tourist residence” and what restrictions can an owner expect?

When purchasing a property constructed on land zoned for touristic use you are obliged to rent the property within the framework of a tourism enterprise.  The enterprise is managed by an appointed Rental Management Company.

Why do the local authorities zone properties in this way?

The local government invests in infrastructure in the resort such as ski lifts and development of the ski area, which is financed by usage.  Therefore, it is important that owners do not leave their properties empty when not using it.

Does this mean I can’t use my own property?

No. For purposes of attaining optimum capacity and usage you are permitted to use your apartment within the framework of a tourism enterprise.

How do I rent my property to tourists?

We appoint professionals to provide rental and facility management services relating to the running and tourist operation of the property.  They maintain a booking and reservation system and accept bookings throughout the year.

Am I investing in a hotel?

No.  You will be officially recorded in the Land & Property Register as the owner of the freehold of your apartment.  You are not purchasing shares in a hotel. Furthermore, you will own a share of the land and the common areas in the property. This includes the wellness facility, technical rooms, ski and boot room, etc.

PURCHASE PROCESS – RESERVATIONS, PAYMENTS, COSTS AND HANDOVER.

I am keen on a particular apartment but worried another buyer could reserve it before I’ve had chance to go through all my queries.  What should I do?

To allow a prospective buyer time to go through all of the important questions that come up, we can reserve a unit for a period of one week with no obligation.

I’ve decided to move forward – how do I proceed?

The first stage is to sign a Purchase Offer (Kaufanbot) which is sent to you by email for signature.  A 1% deposit of the net purchase price is due upon signing as an ‘Earnest Money Payment’ and this may be refunded if the construction has not started according to the due date in the Agreement, or other special requirements are not met.

From whom am I purchasing the apartment?  Kristall Spaces?

No. Your Sale & Purchase agreement is with the development company which owns the land.  The Developer appoints VenturePlus AG and Kristall Spaces AG as experienced development consultants to assist with the delivery of the project.

Can I buy the property through a company in Austria?

Yes, many purchasers use a so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). The only requirement is that the SPV acquiring the property has to have a registered office inside the EU. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary for the shareholder or ultimate beneficiary to be a European citizen.

What if I want to sell?

There are no restrictions on resale; you may sell your property at any time.

What happens if the Developer selling the apartments has financial problems part way through the development?

Buying property off-plan in Austria is extremely secure.  New-build chalets and apartments are paid for in stages and all payments are made to a lawyer and held in a Trustee Escrow account.  Stage payments are not released to the developer before an independent, court-appointed surveyor has inspected each construction stage and signed off the building progress for the Trustee.  Construction begins only after the financing bank has released funds for the development and the development is fully funded to completion.  Furthermore, the development is ‘ring-fenced’ and completely independent of any other commercial activities.

What is the schedule for the stage payments?

  • 15% at start of building works (including the ‘Earnest Payment’ of 1%) due within 14 days of both parties having signed the Sale and Purchase agreement
  • 35% on completion of the building shell and roof
  • 20% on completion of plumbing and electrical installations
  • 12% on completion of the facade & windows
  • 12% on completion of the property
  • 4% on hand over of keys
  • 2% after the developer provides a bank guarantee to the Trustee to cover any unforeseen defects.

Who drafts the contracts and handles the legal aspects of the purchase – what are the legal fees?

In Austria, a Trustee lawyer or Notary acts on behalf of both the purchaser and the vendor. Occasionally, the purchaser appoints his or her own solicitor for a second opinion – this is not necessary but may provide peace of mind. In this case, the purchaser’s solicitor will liaise directly with the Trustee. The legal fees are 3% of the gross purchase price.

Why are the legal fees so high?

The Trustee lawyer has more responsibility and employs more resources over a longer period for an ‘off-plan’ purchase compared to a typical re-sale transaction.  The role of the Trustee is to draft the Sale and Purchase Agreement, Rental Agreement, Contract of Administration, etc. in German and English and prepare all documents required to transfer legal ownership to the Purchaser.  The Trustee is obligated to offer impartial legal advice, collect stage payments and release funds to the Seller in accordance with the contract.  The Trustee acts for the Purchaser and the Seller during construction, engages an independent, court appointed, sworn witness to confirm building progress and concludes all aspects of the conveyance.

When and where do I sign the Sale and Purchase Agreement?

The Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) and all documents required to transfer legal ownership are drafted in German and English and signed by the Purchaser and Seller in the presence of a Notary Public.  The Purchaser will receive a copy of the SPA by post and is required to sign before a Notary Public (not a solicitor) in their country of residence. Once the Purchaser’s signature is witnessed the Notary Public sends the document to the Foreign Office to be apostilled. Most choose to sign at the Austrian embassy in their home country as they can also provide the apostille, thus speeding up the process.

What are the average purchase costs?

Purchase costs for buying a property in Austria are 7.6% of the gross purchase price.  The purchaser pays the Trustee fees after the SPA has been signed. Fees are calculated as follows:

  • Purchase Tax (Stamp Duty) is 3.5% of purchase price
  • Registration in the Land Registry is 1.1%
  • Trustee legal fees – 3% + VAT (VAT is refunded)
  • Court costs, administration fees – approximately 150 euros.

Do I pay agency fees?

No, Kristall Spaces does not charge any fees to the buyer.  Buyer’s fees can be as much 3%, so there is an instant saving when you buy through us.

Do you arrange finance?

Yes, once a Purchase Offer has been signed “subject to finance”.  Austrian banks will fund up to 55% of the purchase price with a loan period between 15 and 25 years.  Some banks may charge set-up fees and/or an appraisal fee of 0.5% in addition to a notary a fee of 1.5% for the amount of the mortgage to be registered in land registry.  If required, it is possible to add the mortgage related costs to your mortgage.  Variable interest rates are currently 2.5%.

Austrian mortgage agreements generally need to be signed at the bank in Austria.  Some buyers therefore time this to coincide with signing of the Sale and Purchase agreement.

Why do you not provide a fixed date for completion and handover?

We are obliged to make every effort to complete construction and hand over your apartment on time.  However, we are building in a high-alpine environment at the mercy of the weather with a short construction window of May to November.  Also, we are governed by the local laws, which often restrict construction during the tourism seasons.  We offer an estimated date for completion in the contract but no guarantees can be made.

Parking

Each apartment must be purchased with a minimum of one space.

Will Wi-Fi & Sat connections be provided to all parts of the development?

Internet by Ethernet cable and Wi-Fi is available in your apartment. Cable TV is available in each room.

Will there be any separate storage space for owner’s belongings such as ski equipment and clothing?

Yes, a minimum 2m² of storage per apartment is provided and included in the purchase price. Owners must provide their own personal padlock.

Please confirm the arrangements surrounding the use of the washing machine & tumble dryer.

The washing appliances are metered and for the use of the owners and their guests.  Alternatively, each apartment has the option to install the connections for a washer/dryer in one of the bathrooms if instructed during construction.

HANDOVER, SNAGGING AND BUILDING GUARANTEES

How do you hand over the apartment?

You will be contacted two weeks in advance with a date for the official handover of the apartments. If you cannot be there in person, the Trustee Lawyer and independent, court appointed surveyor will represent you.

What about snagging?

The developer provides a 3-year bank guarantee to cover unforeseen snagging defects.  A report will be produced documenting any snagging issues at the time of handover.  Any issues raised will be fixed within six weeks if the apartment is vacant.

Is the apartment delivered to the owner turnkey?

At the time of handover, the apartment will be fully fitted out with all contents and appliances included in the inventory and the design scheme chosen by the owner.

A full furniture pack including cutlery and crockery is included in the purchase price.  Everything required for rental is supplied with the apartment and is detailed in the Building and Furnishings specifications sheet you will receive prior to purchasing.

A choice of three high-quality design schemes for the apartments have been created and owners are invited to choose their preferred interiors.

Are there any building guarantees?

Yes, we negotiate bank guarantees with tradesmen for the following:

  • 10 years for the roof covering
  • 5 years for the mechanical systems (heating, electrics, lifts)
  • 5 years for the remaining works including the shell of the building
  • 2 years for electrical goods

Furthermore, Austrian Building Law allows for a 30-year Statute of Limitations for all hidden defects.

POST HANDOVER – RENTAL INCOME, CONDOMINIUM FEES (WEG) AND PERSONAL USAGE

What are WEG fees?

WEG fees are your condominium fees and owners are invoiced these monthly in advance by the Facility Management company.

What is the Facility Management Company’s role and who appoints them?

We appoint the Facility Management Company to represent the Condominium Owners Association before handover of the apartments.  The Facility Management Company will read the meters for water, electricity and heating on the handover date and appoint the caretaker, utility and maintenance providers, and ensure the building has full insurance coverage.

How much are the WEG charges and what do they include?

The total operating costs of the building are divided proportionately between the Condominium Owners Association (WEG) according to the size of each owner’s property.  These are payable monthly in advance.  Your share of communal service charges is determined by a court-appointed assessor based on the title document for each individual apartment, which is detailed in the Sale & Purchase Agreement.   The heating, water and electricity costs of running your individual apartment are metered in the owner’s name, so you can see exactly what you are using and paying monthly.

We generally estimate the fees to be EUR4 per m² of your apartment per month.   The estimate includes the following services:

  • Heating
  • Waste water
  • Electricity and lighting in the general areas
  • Refuse disposal
  • Building insurance
  • Caretaker services
  • Snow removal
  • Cleaning of common areas
  • Chimney sweep
  • Heating maintenance contract
  • Lift maintenance contract
  • Maintenance of common areas
  • Internet
  • Cable TV
  • Auditing costs
  • Sinking fund for future maintenance

At the end of the year, individual calculations will be made for each apartment according to actual usage.  If you have overpaid, you will be refunded and if you have underpaid you will be invoiced for the balance.

What is the Administrator’s role and who appoints them?

The Owner appoints the Administrator to carry out the following roles:

  • Reception and/or concierge services
  • Accommodation Administration and Management
  • Supervision of the wellness facility

The total Administration costs of the building are divided proportionately according to the size of each owner’s property.

What is the role of the Rental Operator?

The role of the rental operator is to market the apartments, maintain a booking system, handle guest deposits, organise check in/check out, keys, cleaning and fresh linen, oversee quality control within the apartments and the payment of tourist tax to the authorities.  They also publish the rental income and distribute it to the owners.  The accounts are audited annually for complete transparency.

What kind of rental income can I expect?

The rental yields vary depending on the apartment size, number of bedrooms and floor.  Please refer to the rental income projection document for guidelines.

How are the rental rates decided?

The rental operator compares rates of similar establishments within the resort, as well as information from the local tourist board regarding occupancy rates.  Rental rates are published annually in advance.

Who will do my accounting?

We have negotiated a very reasonable tax package with an Austrian accountancy firm specialising in tourism residences.  You can engage the tax advisors at the time of purchase.  They will register you for VAT in Austria, advise you on tax issues during the purchase process and handle your VAT and Tax returns in the future.

How does the local tax system work?

The local authority charges tax on the land of the building, a proportion of which will be paid directly by you, as a part owner of the freehold.  The Land tax is a nominal sum and the council will issue you an invoice annually.

Do I have to inform the rental operator when I want to use my apartment?

Yes, please inform the rental operator in writing, a minimum of 5 months before the start of the winter season.  In order to make a success of the rental scheme, the operator needs sufficient notice to market the apartments.

What about spontaneous visits?

The rental operator will always try to accommodate the owner assuming the apartment is not already booked.  This may result in you having to stay in an alternative apartment.

Do I have to pay to stay in my apartment? 

Owners may be obliged to pay a small administration charge during weeks of personal usage.

What if I want to spend several weeks in my apartment outside the main winter season?  Is this allowed? 

Yes, please inform the rental operator in writing 2 months before arrival. Occupancy rates are lower outside of the winter season and short-term visits are generally not a problem.

The Jump Returns to Kühtai for a Third Series

Channel 4’s reality ski show, The Jump, is returning to Kühtai for the next few weeks for its third series, and the line-up of personalities has just been announced. As before, the contestants are drawn from the worlds of entertainment and sport — though not from wintersports, naturally.

Kühtai is the ideal choice for the makers of the programme because of its altitude and therefore guaranteed snow conditions and also because of the close proximity to Innsbruck and its airport – just 35 minutes away.

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The Third Series

Series 3, like its predecessors, will be based in and around Innsbruck and Kühtai, the highest ski resort in Austria. The contestants are trained and tested in a variety of disciplines — previously including speed skating, bobsleigh, ski cross, skeleton and giant slalom — and the two with the slowest times face an elimination ski-jump.

The show will be presented by Davina McCall, returning to her previous role, and there’ll be the usual group of mentors. The full mentor line-up hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s known that Graham Bell and ski-jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards will be taking a role.

This year, though, will see one difference. For the first time, the contestants will share a house on air, so not all the excitement will be on the slopes and viewers will be able to get exclusive footage on how the various participants get on away from the slopes and wintersport activities.

Still, the winter sports are what this show is about at heart, and we’ll be waiting to see who’ll master the pistes and how they’ll handle those jumps.

The Contestants

Twelve contestants have been confirmed so far, though it’s not clear whether this will be the complete line-up:

Beth Tweddle — Olympic gymnast
Brian McFadden — former singer with Westlife
Dean Cain — star of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
James “Arg” Argent — star of The Only Way Is Essex
Linford Christie — Olympic gold medal athlete
Louisa Lytton — actress, formerly in Eastenders and The Bill
Mark-Francis Vandelli — star of Made in Chelsea
Rebecca Adlington — Olympic gold medal swimmer
Sarah Harding — former singer with Girls Aloud and actress in Coronation Street
Sid Owen — actor in Eastenders
Tamara Beckwith — socialite
Tina Hobley — actress in Holby City

Coming Soon

Channel 4 has already released the first trailer for the new series, in which the skies over Kühtai start raining celebrities, causing panic and a lot of screaming for a local family.  The reality, though, won’t be anything like that scary, and if you’re lucky enough to be holidaying in Kühtai right now then you may find yourself bumping into a celebrity or two, either up on the slopes or during après-ski.

For the rest of us, though, the question will be who’ll manage to jump furthest, will all the celebrities escape injury — and does Superman have an unfair advantage?

Last 2 apartments for sale in Galtür

The Silva Peak Residences in Galtür are getting very close to completion and handover in time for the first guests to arrive on Saturday 19 December.

Silva Peak Residences outside

Apartments 5 and 17 are under close consideration and should potential viewers need any reassurance then below is a selection of photographs from the interior of 17.  The quality of these apartments is impressive: from the spec of each unit to all the general areas such as the sauna and steam room.

Below is the enthralling view from the balcony in apartment 17 above the roof tops and up to the Predigberg which lies to the South East and looks down onto the Jamtal.

Silva Peak Residences 17 Predigberg

Here is the view to the Greiskogl with the church spire in the foreground.  This photo is taken from the master bedroom in apartment 17.

17 View Silva Peak Residences

And here is a photo of the high spec kitchen with all Miele appliances.  Apartment 17 is a 61m² luxury apartment with two double bedrooms, one with an ensuite bathroom with Hans Grohe units and shower.  There is a second communal bathroom which contains a large Hans Grohe bath.  The living area is open plan with kitchen and dining area and sofas, one of which is a large fold down double sofa bed.

Best of all is the view through the floor to ceiling windows which lead out onto the private balcony with a mesmerising view of the mountains.

The price is €432,305 which includes an underground parking space.

 

Kristall Spaces sponsors the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017

Kristall Spaces is proud to announce that we are now an official sponsor of the Special Olympics World Winter Games, to be held in March 2017 in Austria, joining brands such as Audi, Coca-Cola and Microsoft. We’re very excited to have the chance to contribute to a world-class event promoting the combination of winter sports, social responsibility and of course Austria.

Kristall Spaces sponsor - Special Olympics

The Special Olympics

Special Olympics International (SO) was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of the late President Kennedy, to open up sports competition at the highest level to people with intellectual disabilities. The first summer games in that year were followed by winter games in 1977, and the Special Olympics International was recognised by the International Olympic Committee in 1988 as part of the Olympics movement.

It’s continued to grow, and is now a truly worldwide movement. We at Kristall Spaces thoroughly applaud the opportunities it offers to often-marginalised people in all sports, although of course our particular passion is for winter sports.

The 2017 World Winter Games in Austria

It’s not surprising that Austria is a favourite host for the World Winter Games. Besides having world-class Alpine ski facilities and a comprehensive winter sports infrastructure, it’s one of the few countries where top skiers, skaters and snowboarders receive the kind of adulation normally reserved for footballers.

The Games, running from 14th – 25th March 2017, will be based in Graz, Schladming, Ramsau and Schladming-Rohrmoos, with 3,000 athletes from 110 countries taking part. They’ll incorporate all the iconic elements of the Olympics, including the torch and spectacular opening and closing ceremonies, at Schladming and Graz respectively. In between, the athletes will be competing in eight disciplines, including Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and snowboarding.

Before then, the Pre-Games 2016 will run from 10th – 15th January 2016 at Schladming, Ramsau and other venues. Though effectively a dress-rehearsal for the World Games, this is a significant event in its own right, with winter sports specialists from all over Austria and beyond competing. Featuring most of the events in the main games, the Pre-Games will be contested by 1,000 athletes, including delegations from countries like Qatar and Jordan that aren’t traditionally associated with winter sports.

The Wider Impact of the Games

The impact of the Special Olympics goes beyond the events, though. A schools programme, throughout Austria and beyond, has the aim of raising awareness of the potential of intellectually disabled athletes and developing inclusive sports in schools. SO also runs the Healthy Athletes programme, not only offering advanced healthcare for participants in the games, but also undertaking research and education on the special medical needs of people with intellectual disabilities.

Kirstall Spaces sponsor logo - Special Olympics

And, of course, Kristall Spaces will be joining other international sponsors of the Special Olympics World Winter Games in spreading the word about the event and the movement worldwide. We’d love to see you at Schladming on 14th March 2017 for the opening ceremony.

Perfect time to own and rent ski property in Austria

Official figures released by the Tirolean tourism office reported increased visitor stays in Tirol for the period November 2014 through end April 2015.

During this winter period, total arrivals (or guests) coming to Tirol totalled 5.6 million guests which is 4% increase year on year and these 5.6 million guests contributed 25.9 million overnight stays which is also up 2.1% year on year. Source: Tirol Werbung

Property for sale in Austria - visitor numbers

A key factor was the increased number of German visitors to the region. Whilst the German numbers increased by only 4.4%, this country provides half of all the tourist visits from all nations.

At the same time, guests from the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK all contributed to the growth in numbers and this is corroborated by Kristall Spaces’ own data when conferring with the operators of our previous and current developments: all apartment owners and their operating companies are seeing healthy rental returns.

Interestingly, Chinese visitors delivered a 55% growth year on year when it comes to total numbers of guests.

As predicted, Russian numbers have suffered and the statistics point to a 35% decrease in both guests and overnight stays.

Other nations posting increased visits were the Belgium, Italy, Czech Republic and Poland – Italy by as much as 10%.

What type of accommodation are they choosing increasingly?

Rented apartments – like the ones Kristall Spaces builds for ownership with a flexible rental and management model.

Another good reason to invest in Austrian property today.

The opening of the Ski Season in Tyrolean Resorts

As holiday resorts that rely on sun and sea wind down towards the end of the season, ski resorts are gearing up for opening, if the season hasn’t already started.  Here’s some information about the season openings in three of the top resorts in Austria’s stunning Tyrol region.

Sölden – 10 October

Some of Sölden’s glacier runs are already open subject to daily snow conditions, with the lifts going up from 8 am till 3.30 pm and the last downward journey at 4 pm.  On the 10th  and 11th  October, the iconic Rettenbach Glacier opens with a celebration including free tests of top-branded ski and snowboarding equipment, not to mention a big party throughout the resort.  The offical Winter season starts on the 14th of November when more lifts will open.

One of Austria’s leading ski resorts, Sölden gives access to 146km of slopes for all levels of skiers, though it particularly suits the adventurous intermediate skier.  The Rettenbach regularly hosts the first event of the World Cup, the Giant Slalom, from the spectacular stadium on the glacier, giving holiday-makers the opportunity to rub shoulders with the world’s top skiers, whether on the glacier or at the resort’s lively après-ski scene.

Kühtai – 27 November

Although Kühtai’s higher slopes have snow to allow year-round skiing for die-hards and photoshoots, the season properly gets underway on the 27th November when all slopes and lifts open for the winter.  From then on, the lifts and pistes open at 9 am, with the pistes closing at 4 pm and the lifts a quarter of an hour later.

From Kühtai, you have access to 41 km of pistes slopes (80 km when you link to Oetz), consisting of blue, red, black and freestyle parks, offering everything from a safe environment for children to learn to real challenges for the experts, whether skiing or snowboarding.  The resort’s height, at 2,200m, means that you can always rely on good snow even on the bottom slopes from November right through to May.

St Anton – 4 December

St Anton has a justified reputation as a party resort with spectacular après-ski, that’s secondary to the main business of skiing.  The season kicks off on the 4th December with a three-day festival of skiing and music, with its highlight a concert on the 5th featuring 80s pop star Kim Wilde.

Properties in Austria - Kristall Spaces St Anton - Kim Wilde concert

Once the season is underway, St Anton’s 97 lifts and cable cars give access to 350km of managed pistes and 200km of challenging off-piste slopes.  There’s something for everyone.  Although the area is especially known for its expert-level slopes, it also offers some of the best children’s lessons in the Alps. And there’s always that lively après-ski scene in the evening.

Kristall Spaces has ski apartments for sale in all three resorts.  Contact us today in case you are visiting the area and would like to visit on of our developments.