Housing costs in Austria: Sharp rise in operating costs

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Housing again became more expensive in the fourth quarter of 2022. The increases in operating costs, in particular, were considerable due to high inflation. At the end of the year, average rents, including operating fees, stood at EUR 8.9 per square meter, representing a price increase of 7 percent. Operating expenses increased by 6.2 percent across all rental segments, which was the “highest quarterly increase in the previous year since 2006,” according to Statistics Austria.

Operating costs include fees for water, sewage, garbage collection, and common charges such as elevators, green spaces, common areas, and lighting. On average, operating costs in the fourth quarter were 154.8 euros per apartment. This corresponds to 2.4 euros per square meter.

The higher increase in operating costs for municipal apartments
According to Statistics Austria, operating expenses were higher for municipal apartments than for cooperative flats or apartments with main private rent. One reason for this, it said, is that communal apartments generally have higher costs for communal facilities such as courtyards.

Operating costs per square meter in community housing amounted to 2.6 euros in the fourth quarter. This is an increase of 8.2 percent compared to the same quarter last year. In comparison, the operating costs for apartments with main private rent were 2.4 euros per square meter (plus 6.5 percent), and for cooperative flats, they were 2.2 euros (plus 5.1 percent).

The share of operating costs compared with total rent was unchanged at 29 percent in the final quarter of 2022. The average monthly rent, including operating expenses in the fourth quarter, was arithmetically 597.4 euros per main rental apartment. However, the actual level of rent depends heavily on the rental segment, rental period, apartment size and region, according to the statistics.

Call for rent control.
Excluding operating costs, the average rent was 444.8 euros or 6.6 euros per square meter. Compared to the previous quarter, this was an increase of 1.4 percent; compared to the same quarter of the last year, the increase was 7.0 percent. The rental costs relate to Austria’s extrapolated 1.7 million main rental apartments.

In 2022, the average monthly rent, including operating costs, increased by 5.0 percent – “thus the increase was below the general inflation rate of 8.6 percent,” said Statistics Austria Director General Tobias Thomas.

Given the rising rents, calls for a rent brake have become louder and louder in recent months. However, it remains to be seen whether such a brake will be introduced. Negotiations in the Turkish-Green coalition are ongoing.

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