“Austria’s valley towns are proper year-round places,” says Giles Gale of Savills’ Alpine Homes. “In the summer they are filled with people mountain biking and hill-walking. And in the winter, there’s great skiing. Compare this to French purpose-built ski resorts which are ghost towns outside of ski season.” The Austrian Alps are a bit lower than their western counterparts, which means picturesque slopes with lots of trees, rather than the wide open glacial runs of France and Switzerland.
But the most striking reason to buy in Austria is value. Gale says that €300,000-€400,000 can buy you property that would cost twice as much in?France and three times more in Courchevel or Verbier.
“You can find a lot of value in Austria,” he says, pointing to the success of Savills’ Dienten Mountain Resort in the Hochkönig mountains, the cheapest ski-in-ski-out apartments available in Austria and, he reckons, France, Italy or Switzerland too.
The reason Austrian property is an attractive bet for foreign investment – particularly now – is that it is stable. There has been no boom in real estate, and thus no bust. The country’s government takes a conservative approach to property development, strictly controlling building of homes through draconian planning permission rules, and actively discouraging speculative investment.
Until 2002, foreigners weren’t even permitted to buy second homes in Austria. And home-buying for the purposes of living rather than investing is encouraged with a tax incentive: keep your home for 10 years and inheritance tax is written off.
So you can rest assured that your property won’t be overwhelmed by new-builds and other foreigners flooding in; for example Dienten is the first resort built in Hochkönig area for 20 years.
“People buying in Austria tend to be looking to hold on to the property for 10 to 15 years,” says Gale. “We’ve had buyers for Dienten apartments that just couldn’t find what they were looking for in their price bracket in France, and a place in the Austrian alps ticks all the boxes. That said, the most hardcore skiers will only be happy in France.”
PANORAMA CHALETS, PASS THURN
90km from Salzburg airport, theses chalets are adjacent to the slopes connected to the wider Kitzbühel domain, which has 150km of ski runs. Each apartment (one to three beds) sports Tyrolean woodwork, its own sauna and fireplace, balcony and view of Tauern national park, the largest nature reserve in the Alps. The Tyrolean town of Kitzbühel is 20 minutes away.
From €183,100. Call Knight Frank on 020 7629 8171.
DIENTEN MOUNTAIN RESORT, DIENTEN, SALZBURGERLAND
In the Hochkönig valley, which has one of the greatest snowfalls in Austria, these rustic-style ski-in-ski-out apartments all have spectacular views of the jagged peaks of Hochkonig mountains. They are a short walk from the charming, traditional village’s shops and restaurants. Set for completion later this year.
From €194,989. Call Savills Alpine Homes on 020 7016 3740.
BILDER CHALETS, ZELL AM SEE
There are just four apartments remaining in this luxury new development in the historic lakeside ski resort of Zell am See – which is also a brilliant place to come hiking in summer. The apartments are situated right at the foot of the piste and close to the main gondola. All the apartments come with fully-fitted kitchens and bathrooms and have either a large patio/garden or balcony.
From €269,940. Call Savills Alpine Homes on 020 7016 3740 .
LUXE VILLA, PINZGAU, ZELL AM SEE
A four-bedroom villa close to the centre of Zell Am See with stunning views of the lake and mountains, which become a skier’s paradise in winter with 56 cable cars and lifts and 132 km of pistes. An indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, whirlpool and ski room makes it the perfect ski home. A spacious, beautiful garden makes it an idyllic summer house too. Golf lovers will be pleased to know there’s a popular course nearby. €4.2m.
Call SAGE Immobilien Real Estate on +43 (6542) 70 170.