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Tax Breaks and Financial Benefits of Investing in Austrian Ski Resorts

Tax-BreaksThe traditional target for property investment in Austria, Switzerland and Germany has always been student accommodation or buy-to-let residential units. High prices, high management costs and recent tax changes have made this market less attractive, and Austrian investors are showing interest in a different target — ski holiday properties.

In recent years, planning restrictions have created a backlog of building projects in ski resorts, with the result that those which are built attract high demand and strong capital growth. And, at the same time, foreign investment in Austria has never been easier.

So what has happened in Austria to create this boom?

  • Recent governmental changes promise financial stability. In particular, the new finance minister, Hans Jörg Schelling, is likely to favour policies such as tax breaks for investors.
  • The European Central Bank has recently reduced the headline rate of interest, keeping the Euro Libor low.
  • The government is offering a savings loophole with a 1% per annum VAT rebate.
  • A court recently ruled that Austrian property could be bought by an SPV owned by non-EU citizens, which opens up the possibility of a future flight to safety.
  • In the past year, Austrian banks have changed their stance and are showing considerable interest in financing foreign buyers.
  • Austria’s bank secrecy act is stronger than Switzerland’s, giving investors peace of mind.

In spite of this, the price in Val d’Isère, on the other hand, the bottom end of the market for a similar unit would be around €380,000, while most are over €800,000. Switzerland is even more expensive, with few 2-bedroom apartments in Zermatt below €500,000, and Davos even more expensive. Prices of Austrian ski properties are still remarkably low. A 2-bedroom apartment in Sölden, for instance, can currently be bought for as little as €334,995, and similar apartments in Ischgl go as low as €323,400. This rises to only a little over €600,000 for penthouse apartments.

Austrian resorts can match or exceed these for quality, and investors have a unique opportunity to snap up valuable property at such low prices. It won’t be long before everyone else wakes up to this and the prices rise, offering a substantial return on your investment.

European Central Bank reduces rate of interest making Austrian property investment all the more attractive

In an effort to keep low inflation from derailing the Eurozone’s economy, the European Central Bank has surprised financial markets this September with a cut in interest rates and new stimulus plans.

Speaking at a press conference after the announcement of the rate cut, ECB president Mario Draghi said the Bank expected to see “a prolonged period of low inflation” and reiterated a pledge to keep rates low for the foreseeable future.  After the rate cut was announced, the Euro fell against the Dollar and Sterling making a purchase of property in Europe even more attractive.

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The European Central Bank cut interest rates and announced a program to pump money into the economy and stimulate lending by buying bundles of bank loans.

It may not be a coincidence that we have seen a change in stance in the last 12 months by Austrian banks which have shown a high interest in financing up to 60% of the purchase price of ski property investments by foreign buyers.

If a potential investor is shrewd, they could secure a property now with Kristall Spaces at Spring 2014 prices with only a 1% fully-refundable reservation fee (no buyer’s commission fee) with the first 15% stage payment not due before the spring of 2015.

Furthermore, we have seen an apartment bought for €300k in our recently completed project in Zell am See be remarketed for €350k within 12 months and the buyer only paid 60% of the price before making the decision to sell.

That equates to a €50k uplift on a €180k capital investment in just 12 months.

Please get in contact with us today and find out how you could earn up to 15% IRR on one of our Austrian ski properties.

Number of Tourists Entering Austria in Winter and Summer

397A record number of tourists are entering Austria in winter and summer now. Austria has become one of the most popular travel destinations of late, because of its wonderful climate and its ample entertainment opportunities, that include outdoor activities, classical music, art and architecture.

In fact, Austria’s tourism numbers have been steadily increasing during the past 50 years and today tourism makes up more than 8% of Austria’s annual GDP. It is becoming one of the most important and fastest growing sectors of the Austrian economy.

Today, investments in the leisure sector, including investment properties, are at record levels. An investment in vacation rentals is seen as a sophisticated and sustainable prospect, with year-round range and international appeal. This includes vacation rental opportunities with Kristall Spaces properties in Austria’s top ski resorts. Skiing is one of Austria’s main draws, but there is much to do at these resorts in addition to skiing, so they appeal to every visitor.

Tourism by the Numbers

wp517eb0ed_05_06Today, Europe is the most visited area in the world. In Austria, the winter season sees a 50% share of tourists, which means that half of all the 125 million annual overnight stays occur during the winter, or skiing season. The other half of tourists visit in the gorgeous summer months, to take in the gorgeous scenery, hike, sightsee and take in the cultural attractions.

In 2006, Austria was ninth in the world in terms of international tourist arrivals, with 72% of foreigners making overnight stays. Austria’s tourist travel is predicted to rise by 1.5% each year for the next 15 years, and then by 1% after that, for the next 15 years. An investment in Austria’s tourism looks to be a smart, and lucrative, idea.

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Austria’s Commitment to Tourism and Infrastructure Investment

When you want to travel throughout the European Union, you have plenty of choices for superb cities and sites chock-full of history, culture, and fine cuisine. Unfortunately, visiting the Coliseum in Rome or the Eiffel Tower in Paris means that you have to stand in line with countless other tourists and deal with unpleasant tourism officials. There’s good news, however, for anyone thirsting for an authentic European holiday: the alpine nation of Austria has redoubled its efforts to appeal to tourists and create an extraordinary vacation.

Structural Funds

The European Union allots structural funds to all member nations for growth and commerce throughout the continent, but not all nations spend these funds in the same manner. When it comes to Austria, much of that grant money goes towards tourism infrastructure, and not just in the major cities like Vienna and Graz but in outlying regions and border areas. With these funds in place, development of tourist facilities like investment properties become easier, faster, and more productive upon completion. As such, the smart tourists aren’t just visiting Austria — they’re investing in it but purchasing these investment properties for their own gain.


Regional Support

Austria SkiingSome nations set up roadblocks for entrepreneurs to leap over on the way to financial gain. When it comes to those who want to set up their own business in Austria, however, the way is not only open but ample support networks help to facilitate the construction and maintenance of a start-up business. Entrepreneurs like property investors can utilise the Regional Business Support Database to find out more information about the area they’re choosing to put their money into, a sixty-thousand Euro computer tool that helps to determine areas of productivity, risk, and reward in existing Austrian enterprises. Then, you need only apply for EU funding in order to get any necessary capital required to get an investment opportunity up and off the ground, ready and able to profit from the steady stream of tourists coming to Austria to do everything from take in the symphony to ski down the slopes.

Kristall Spaces hands over Zell am See Apartments

Handover to the owners of apartments in the Zell am See Mark Warner Lake and Mountain Resort commenced at the end of May, ahead of the June deadline.

The transition was a smooth success and owners are absolutely thrilled with the finished look of their properties with one happy owner enthusing, “Our apartment is just beautiful.  The weather has been great and we’ve had a magical first trip. Thank you!”

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Mark Warner Hotels and Resorts has received an unprecedented amount of bookings for the development’s first summer season much to the delight of the owners.

This of course bodes well for the ski season commencing in December.

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Work continues over the coming days to finesse the communal areas on schedule to welcome the first of the rental market customers.

If you have interest in one of only two remaining apartments for sale in the Zell am See development, please contact us today for a buyer’s pack.

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Ice Q, the new source of culinary pleasures on Gaislachkogl peak

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Last December, the Bergbahnen Sölden Lift Company opened Ice Q, which was a new, innovative restaurant on the Gaislachkogl.

The Gaislachkogl is the area’s number one ski mountain, providing a huge number of skiers and boarder to enjoy the new Ice Q.

Why the buzz?  This new restaurant provides amazing culinary pleasures, amusing the palate in unique ways.  The restaurant features aesthetically pleasing modern architecture, with all materials sourced locally.  Additionally, the menu features a number of gourmet specialties.

Construction of Ice Q took six months, from June to December 2013.  It is an outstanding restaurant with wonderful service, gourmet alpine cuisine and an extensive wine list.

Ice Q offers 94 seats inside along with 34 seats on the terrace and a rooftop terrace with some amazing views.

Obermoser Architects built this innovative new restaurant along with three mountain gondola stations. Guests will enjoy the glass facades which open onto the picturesque Ötztal mountains.  Seated inside this new building, you feel like you are sat outside: the windows are so transparent, they fit seamlessly into the natural setting.

Latest news on our Austrian properties for sale

Zell am See Development update: we’re pleased to see the wooden facades, glass balconies and balustrades finished.

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The external scaffolding is down.  Another official building stage reached!

Meanwhile, another Galtür (Ischgl) apartment has been sold and 8 are under consideration.

All our Kühtai properties are under consideration.

News on other brand new developments and properties for sale in Austria coming soon.

News on our Austrian properties for sale

Good progress continues internally and to the exterior on these beautiful properties for sale in Austria Zell am See.

The locally sourced wood cladding is being fitted to the facades and the granite slab flooring is in place.

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On the interiors: all flooring, bedroom furniture, doors, kitchen fittings and the final coat of paint is being applied.

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The bathrooms are tiled and the WCs, basins and shower / bathroom fittings are being installed.

Galtür / Ischgl apartments: very good levels of interest.  4 of the 18 apartments have now been sold with a further 6 under close consideration with prospective buyers.

Kühtai apartments: currently have interest on all the units.

Other locations:  very soon we will be in a position to announce further Austrian real estate investment opportunities, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch and enquire about these new developments.

A Good Rate Of Exchange: Investing In Austrian Ski Properties While The Pound Soars

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The focus on the Olympic games reminded the nation and the world of the joy of skiing. Whether it’s cross-country or downhill or freestyle, few activities lead to a life-time love affair quite like skiing. Brits who want to turn their hobby into a money-making operation can consider investment properties in Austria by purchasing rental units for the millions of skiers who take to the Austrian alps each year. Austria has enjoyed significant growth in their recreation sector, having climbed to the second-highest market share in global skiing expenditures with nearly 25 percent of the market world-wide. With a supply shortage for new units, there’s a consistent and strong demand by tourists as well as native Austrians for ski rental units on their next vacation. Furthermore, the Austrian economy has vastly outperformed its European-Union cousins and neighbours, having grown steadily while other ski-hardy nations like Italy have seen their finances shrink.

Skiing in Austria

More than anything else, however, the driving factor for any British interest in an overseas investment is the favourable exchange rate. With 1.2 Euros to the pound sterling, as of the last 7 years there has never been a better return on spending for Austrian rentals. The rate by which Brits win out is especially large in comparison to foreign investors, since the pound is cruising in comparison to the flat American dollar or Japanese yen. Since these are non-resident homes, furthermore, British citizens will not be taxed as Austrian homeowners. Indeed, there’s even an annual 1% VAT rebate for all Austrian spending. With each unit fully furnished and managed on-site, it’s not necessary to have to jet from the UK to Austria since each property can be controlled remotely.

British financial advisors have been pushing for more and more purchases overseas. MGM’s UK office has noted that the market for Alps ski rentals has increase substantially in only a single year, with more than half the units in popular areas having been sold. This is partially a reflection on the guaranteed rental yields, but also an indication of how Britons have chosen to place their finances into tangible investments like foreign real estate instead of on-paper investment plans. Buyers interested in flexible purchases for Austrian units can choose the size, location, and scope of their property in order to take on an investment that fits their needs and budgets.

The Newest Attraction In Galtür: Indoor Swimming Pool

Swimming pool in Galtür

There’s plenty of reason to love the ski resort town of Galtür, which rises over the Stausee Lake on the border of Tyrol and Vorariberg. The town sport’s centre, which includes a restaurant, squash courts, a rifle club, and the Silvretta Hall for occasions of note will now expand to include an indoor swimming pool. With the expansion of the sports centre comes a great time for property investment in Galtür Ischgl due to the decision to expand the town’s operations and integrate the community into the events.

Each year, the sports facility needs a significant amount of finances in order to stay afloat due to the number of visitors who make use of the site and the scale of operations. Galtür Mayor Anton Mattle reports that the pool operation will cost between 200,000 and 300,000 Euros to operate each year. Most of this revenue will come from the cable car tickets that skiers purchase in order to get up and down slopes, but the community of Galtür itself will still need to cover the cost of about 50,000 Euro. With the need to build a new lift project and run cable cars, Mattle noted that it would be difficult to find the equity to finance every project.

A City Council meeting in August of 2013 put paid to the plans to expand the sports center. A 100,000 Euro grant was made available for the Department of Village Renewal by the sixty persons sitting on the Citizen’s Council. Some 120 town citizens, including young people invested in the centre, came to the meetings in order to make their voices heard. Finally, the decision was made to expand the centre and to make it more amenable. A 6,000-square meter area will be used for events and activities, with further health projects for the city to be accelerated. In the near future, the Council will appoint an operator to deal with the project and its development in order to complete the pool’s construction.