Checklist for purchasing plots of land or property in Austria

This checklist gives a brief overview of the most important points to be aware of when purchasing property.

Escrow arrangements and property services In order to secure yourself against financial risks, property purchases are often handled by a notary or lawyer through escrow arrangements. Further information on ancillary costs when purchasing apartments and property can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at.

Viewing the land
classification plan

The main possible uses of a property are initially defined in the land classification and development plan of the relevant municipality. There are restrictions on the use of holiday homes (holiday houses and second homes) in some regional planning laws at federal state level and the land classification plans of the municipalities, which are based on those laws.
Land register extract Obtaining a land register extract before purchasing a property provides clarity on ownership structures and possible encumbrances on the property. Further information on viewing the land register, which is available to all, can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at.
Development Municipalities usually sell properties that are connected (to the public road network and to the supply and disposal network – water, wastewater, power, telecommunications). If development has not yet taken place, the purchase price is set lower as the costs of development will be incurred subsequently. Information on development can be obtained from the relevant municipality.
Buying The written purchase agreement must contain at least the name of the municipality in which the property is located, any joint ownership shares, and a description of the property. Further information on the purchasing procedure and on the recommended priority notation in the land register can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at.

Authorisation requirement/
Acquiring property as
a foreign national

Nationals of third countries must obtain authorisation to acquire property. Citizens of EU/EEA countries are exempt from this authorisation requirement. In addition, the acquisition (e.g. purchase) of agricultural plots of land first requires authorisation from the property transfer authority established in each federal state.
Acquisition of ownership and real estate transfer tax In Austria, ownership is only acquired once the ownership title has been entered in the land register (registration). In addition to the written deed of purchase, proof is also required that the real estate transfer tax has been paid to the relevant tax office (what is known as the tax clearance certificat) and, if appropriate, a legally binding authorisation from the property transfer authority.
Property income tax Anyone who makes a profit from selling a property may have to pay property income tax if the purchaser is liable for income tax in Austria. In this context, it should also be checked whether there is a double taxation agreement between Austria and another EU Member State.

Advice

Just like regional planning and construction law, the legislation and enforcement of property transfer law is a state matter.  Authorisations from property transfer authorities and building permits are granted and land classification and development plans issued in accordance with these various state laws. This may thus result in very different rules and requirements for compliant use of a property or acquisition of property in this area in the nine federal states of Austria.

Further information on commonhold ownership can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at.

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 27 January 2021

Responsible for the content: oesterreich.gv.at Editorial Staff