Property prices in Tirol: 34% higher than 6 years ago

ImmoDEX is the annual property prices report compiled by Immobilienscout which analyses average property prices across Austria and its Bundesländer.

This year’s edition (published 1 March 2017) makes encouraging reading for property investors throughout Austria and especially in Tirol which has posted the highest regional gains in values since 2010.

tirol gains
At Kristall Spaces, we have been helping owners of our ski properties to resell apartments with a typical 4 to 5% price increase applied per annum on top of the original purchase price of the newly built apartments.

There is plenty of demand for any high-quality product in the right location offering altitude skiing or heavy annual snowfall, easy access and increasingly summer tourism business. It is worth noting that 51% of visitors to Austria now come in Summer (source: Tourism-review.com).

We are expecting the property price trend in Tirol to continue upwards thanks to supply being carefully controlled by local councils and development managed to protect local communities and their livelihoods.

Average prices in Austria are much lower than France and Switzerland (by up to 28% according to Savills) but thanks to ongoing infrastructure investment and a growing international skier base, there is room for upward price movement here.

Each year, more EU and non-EU buyers are coming into the Austrian property market thanks to increasing visitor numbers and their long-term dream of a foreign property investment which delivers capital growth, an annual profit from renting and free holidays in a healthy and safe environment, all-year round.

With a keen eye on the future, the Austrians lead the way when it comes to attracting new visitors to the mountains each year, especially younger consumer groups (Generation Y).   For a moment, consider Area 47 in the Ötztal: the de facto summer tourism innovation comprising over 20,000m² of extreme outdoor and water park activities, including wakeboarding at 812m above sea level.

wake
It is not surprising that the Tirol region alone delivered a >10% increase in tourist visits in the first 6 months of 2016 outpacing all international alpine holiday markets.

One final piece of research published on 27 February 2017 by Statistik Austria: the fastest growing category of accommodation booked by tourists to Austria in 2016 was commercial apartment bookings (i.e. tourism residences as built by Kristall Spaces) which grew by 9.4% year-on-year.

17 January: update on Kristall Spaces projects

The Austrian Alps are nicely covered with snow and as much 229cm in Sölden.  We at Kristall Spaces are busy handling dozens of enquiries each day and managing site visits for prospective EU and non EU based buyers.

We have 4 key projects with pricing & availability

St Anton apartment for sale – construction is underway and one of the buildings containing half the apartments has all the floors in place and the roof on.  It is possible to enter the building with one of our representatives and get a feel for the floor spaces and different views.  Of the 28 upper luxury apartments in this project, 14 are still available.  Voted Best Apartment in Austria & Europe.

Kühtai 2020 Residences – construction was completed last month. There are 5 apartments (out of 17) left but we expect them to sell in the next few months.  There are quite a few buyers who have reserved or are about to reserve in this development, the highest in Austria.  Come and look round one these fully furnished luxury apartments which are ready to occupy now.

Sölden – we will start construction after this ski season. 3 of the 8 apartments have been sold or reserved and there is good interest for the last 5.  It is easy to set up appointments in the Gasthof Zwieselstein where you can meet the developer and the Gstrein family who will manage the rental business of your apartment.

Mountain Lake Resort Ötztal – we have just finalised floor plans and pricing for this exciting dual season location. 100 metres from the ski lift and in a prime location to make the most of the Ötztal’s strong summer season facilities.  State of the art spa and choice of swimming pools for summer. Restaurant and bar on-site.  We already have 7 reservations!

Coming soon – new projects

We will soon release floor plans for Galtür (Ischgl) and Fieberbrunn, so keep your powder dry if you want your own apartment in one of these locations!

Galtür (Ischgl) – floor plans for Mountain Spa Resort Paznaun coming in February 2017.  We will update all our prospects with a newsletter.

Fieberbrunn – floor plans coming in February 2017 also.  Again, all our previous enquiring customers will receive a newsletter.

Karwendel – 28 leisure residences with no rental obligation although we provide a rental service if owners would like to rent their apartments.  Swimming lake & on-site wellness.  On-site brasserie restaurant & bar. 1 hour from Munich & 40 minutes from Mittenwald.

Register your interest 

Contact us today if you are interested in any of these locations and we will keep you updated with progress.

Kristall Spaces wins Best Apartment in Europe

Kristall Spaces is delighted to receive the regional award for ‘Best Apartment in Europe’ for our Mountain Spa Residences, St Anton project.

Last night in London (12 December 2016) at the International Property Awards, it was confirmed we had achieved the highest score against 36 entrants from 15 countries for the Best Apartment category.

The international judging panel comprises industry experts from the world of real estate, interior design and architecture and is chaired by Lord Caithness.

On receiving the latest award, Branson Atterbury Marketing Director of Kristall Spaces commented: “Having already won ‘Best Apartment Austria’, we were obviously delighted to find out we had the top score from the judges in the whole of Europe. It’s a real testament to the expertise of our on-the-ground operations and management team.  It makes an important statement about our credentials.”

The Mountain Spa Residences St Anton is an upper luxury aparthotel comprising 28 fully-furnished ski-out apartments with an onsite bar, brasserie and a 600m² spa with two swimming pools.  Currently in construction, the completion date for the Mountain Spa Residences, St Anton is Autumn 2017.

award-pic

The International Property Awards are open to residential and commercial property professionals from around the globe.  They celebrate the highest levels of achievement by companies operating in all sectors of the property and real estate industry.  An International Property Award is a world-renowned mark of excellence.

Austria shines in Savills report on Alpine properties

There are some useful data in this year’s Savills report on Alpine properties – here are the out-takes for buyers considering property in Austria.

Austrian ski property prices are 28% below other alpine countries but price growth is higher at 8%.  See the chart below.

austrian-ski-property-growth-savills-spotlight-alpine-property-market-2016-17

With ongoing infrastructure investment and growing international skier participation there is room for upward price movement in Austria.  Other sources (e.g. Tiroler Tagezeitung) recently highlighted a record first half in 2016 of apartment sales in Tirol with an average capital growth of 6.2% for the region.

Reassuring feedback then from separate sources on increasing asset values which will be sustained by careful town planning restrictions on over-development and therefore supply.

Austria is clearly more successful than France and Switzerland in developing its non-skiing attractions and summer tourism business which drives up rental yields, infrastructure investment and future resale values for Austrian property owners.

The report points to a 1.6% year-on-year decline in total ski visits to the top 8 global markets is reported (USA, France, Austria, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Canada and Germany).

Austrian property investors need to be careful and review local tourism figures in isolation.

The Tirol region has delivered a >10% increase in visits in the first 6 months of 2016 clearly bucking the trend of competitor ski markets.

Innsbruck airport is increasing its inbound capacity for German passengers by 180% this year and introducing new routes from British Airways.  The Tirol Tourism board and the ski resorts are again forecasting a year-on-year growth in visitor numbers.

One successful strategy paying off for the Austrians is their focus on the millennial generation (age 20 to 35).  The successful Alpine resorts of the future will be the ones which innovate and draw new visitors with different activities throughout the year.

Examples include Kühtai which boasts Austria’s biggest half pipe and nearby Area 47, one of Europe’s largest extreme sport adventure parks which even has a wakeboard park at 812m above sea level and Mediterranean water temperatures to boot:

Ischgl is one of the biggest ski areas with the longest season continually ploughs lift profits back into its dizzying array of slick infrastructure and glitzy / urban amenities, including 3 Michelin star restaurants.  In Ischgl you can even ‘fly home’ down the valley with or without skis at 85kmh on a dual zip wire – 2km long and 50m high (total investment €2m):

Incredibly, family-friendly Oetz has just reported a 30% increase in lift sales this summer thanks to new investment in family amenities in the Hochoetz ski area.   Astonishingly, Oetz draws 45% of its annual visitors outside the winter season.  Oetz has 80km of its own skiing and tourists can access Sölden in 20 minutes with its 2 glaciers but it has all-year round tourism status – not just in the Summer but through to early Autumn when the Acherkogelbahn makes a brief pause before the Winter season starts again on 16 December.

Hochoetz’s new adventure playground, Widiversum – parents can even leave children in supervised groups and head higher into the mountains for the day:

Currency impact:

In the wake of the UK’s EU referendum and the weakening of sterling, Swiss Alpine property has become 8.6% more costly to GBP buyers (May to Sep 2016), while French or Austrian Alpine homes have become 7.6% more expensive.  Despite the Pound’s fall, there are still some determined UK buyers who want to buy their Austrian property now and get into Austrian Land Registry before Brexit is finalised.

For US Dollar, Euro and Swiss Franc buyers, the picture is unchanged and the customer base is very international including non EU buyers as well as increasing numbers of Germans, Dutch, Belgian and Scandinavians.

Please read our FAQ about buying and owning an Austrian property or Contact us today with any questions.

News: Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017

As a proud sponsor of the Special Olympics Austria 2017, we are counting down the days to the Games.

Between 14 and 25 March 2017, the Austrians once again will open their hearts and minds to 3,000 athletes with intellectual disability from 110 nations as they proudly compete in 9 sports in 3 host locations, Graz, Schladming and Ramsau: Figure skating, Speed skating, Floor Hockey/Floorball, Snow shoeing, Alpine skiing, Nordic Skiing, Snowboarding and Stick shooting.

Video highlights from Pre-Games 2016 below:

Patrons and ambassadors of the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 include great Austrian names such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Marcel Hirscher and Franz Klammer, who first became involved in the Special Olympics in 1993, the last time they came to Schladming.

so 17

A dignified Arnold Schwarzenegger signs his book for a fan with Down’s Syndrome:

Austria was the first country after the US to host a Special Olympics World Games and the organisers are delighted to be returning to a country that embraces these winter athletes and which has demonstrated “its commitment to people with intellectual disabilities for decades”.

Special Olympics Flame of Hope

Prior to Opening Ceremony on 2 March 2017, the Flame of Hope for the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 will be lit during a formal torch lighting ceremony in Athens and then travel to Austria.

rio torch

The final route will be confirmed in the next few months but the Flame will visit Vorarlberg on 9 March and Tirol on 10 March 2017.

Lara and Luis – inspired by the Games slogan, Heartbeat for the World

Lara and Luis, two of Austria’s most celebrated animals – a deer and a badger, will become the official mascot couple of the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 after a design competition comprising a total of 51 designs and a jury of 9 people including two Special Olympics athletes.

300_World-Winter-Games-2017-Mascot-Unveiled-03-18-2015

Lara and Luis will be travelling to as many countries as possible to bring the Heartbeat for the World message all over the world and you can follow their journey.  Here they are in a sandy Rio de Janeiro …

so rio

If you happen to see Lara or Luis then please spread the message to your friends and send a photo to E-Mail: worldtour@austria2017.org

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).

prices

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. As a result, you can claim the 20% VAT added to the net purchase price as input tax. The enterprise will be managed by an appointed Rental Operator.

Why do the local authorities zone properties in this way?

The local government invests in infrastructure in the resort such as leisure centres, waste-water treatment plants, snow clearing and mountain rescue, 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 usage you are permitted to use your apartment as you wish and according to the operating agreement. The operator will always comply with the wishes of the owner, even in the case of short notice booking requests.

Am I investing in a hotel?

No.  Your freehold, condominium ownership is registered in the Land Registry: you are not purchasing shares in a hotel. Furthermore, you will own a share of the land and common areas of the property, such as technical rooms, ski and boot-room, lifts and corridors.

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 the important questions arising from the review of the agreements, 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 (Kaufangebot) which is sent to you by email for signature. A 5% deposit of the net purchase price paid to an escrow account is due upon signing as an ‘Earnest Money Payment’ and this may be refunded if special requirements are not met e.g. a financing offer under market orientated conditions isn’t possible in Austria.

From whom am I purchasing the apartment?  Kristall Spaces?

No,  your Sale and Purchase Agreement is with the development company which owns the land. The Developer has appointed 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 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 can sell your property at any time and we would be delighted to assist.

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 apartments are paid for in stages and all payments are made to a Trustee and held in an 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 5%) 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?

A Trustee lawyer acts on behalf of both parties, 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 higher than a normal property purchase?

The Trustee lawyer has more responsibility and employs more resources over a longer period for an ‘off-plan’ purchase compared to a typical resale 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 (with the exception of Germany). Most buyers 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 60% 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 parking space.

Will WiFi & Sat connections be provided to all parts of the development?

Internet WiFi is available in your apartment.  Sat TV is also available in each living 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.  

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 an abstract bank guarantee with a value of 2% of the purchase price to cover unforeseen snagging defects.  A report will be produced documenting any snagging issues at the time of handover. Any issues raised must 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 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)
  • 3.5 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 – CONDOMINIUM FEES (WEG), RENTAL INCOME AND PERSONAL USAGE

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

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

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

WEG fees are your condominium fees. 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 and Purchase Agreement.  

The heating, water and electricity costs of running your individual apartment are an estimated fee between EUR 4.00 and 8.00 per of the apartment per month, depending on the level of infrastructure in the general areas.  Included in the fees are the following services:

  • Heating
  • Wastewater
  • 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
  • A sinking fund for future maintenance

At the end of the year if you have overpaid, you will be refunded and if you have underpaid you will be invoiced for the balance.

What is the role of the operator? How will the apartments be rented?

The operator consisting of a professional team of employees with experience in the hotel industry as well as sales and marketing has been appointed for the rental and management of the apartments.

The operator endeavours to generate a maximum occupancy at the highest possible rates. The net rental income minus the 20% commission for the operator goes into the rental pool.  Owners are allocated their share of the income quarterly according to the owner’s share of the rental pool.  The share of rental pool is calculated as a fraction of the purchase price of the apartment in relation to the purchase price of all apartments.

Not included in the rental pool is the income from additional services and the owner’s booking. The operating costs are divided proportionally according to the owners share of the rental pool.

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.

Rental Pool – What kind of rental income can I expect?

You will receive your percentage of the rental pool income whether your apartment is rented or not. You are only excluded from the pooled income when you occupy the apartment yourself.

What costs arise when I stay in my apartment?

Owners pay for their end of stay cleaning of the apartment (fee depending on size), laundry and tourist tax. Owners will also be obliged to pay an administration fee of €150 per stay. The owner is excluded from the rental pool during these periods.

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