When it comes to affordable ski properties or the best dual-season mountain homes, Austria is hard to beat.
Beautiful Alpine villages built on centuries of traditional hospitality –
naturally that bit more welcoming than either the French or the Swiss –
provide family-friendly bases for great outdoors orientated holidays.
Many ski villages are even busier in the summer months when hiking and biking are especially popular.
Never having experienced the property speculation of some French or
Swiss resorts, prices of homes have remained stable and affordable – the
country practically avoided recession –and it’s the current buoyancy of
the markets in many areas which makes it more popular than ever with British buyers.
Ski chalets can be bought for half the price of comparables in heavily
restricted Switzerland, and only a few select resorts in the Tirol and
Vorarlberg provinces (such as Kitzbuhel) restrict purchase by foreign
buyers. EU citizens can buy and live permanently anywhere; it is only
holiday homes which are are regulated.
Although popular with European aristocrats a century ago, the spa town
of Bad Gastein has been quietly gaining in popularity with the British
over recent years and there are several reasons for this.
Seventy minutes’ drive from Salzburg, it is accessible for weekends and
as a year-round town it ticks all the boxes: access to the decent
Gastein ski area, elegant architecture, good restaurants, great wellness
facilities based around the thermal springs and a good base for
exploring the valley.
Apartments predominate property options: new-build or converted
historical buildings; expect to pay around €100K (£85K) for a studio;
€180K (£153K) for a two-bed apartment; around €320K (£271K) for three
Next up is the popular and historic resort of Zell am See, which offer
truly dual-season living with its lakefront location and great ski area
(with the Kaprun glacier).
The family-friendly Salzburgerland resort – 90 mins by train from
Salzbburg - is brimming with new developments, from £78k studios in
hotels to high-end apartments for over £500k.
You can buy a new-build two-bed apartment from around £230k, or a 3-bed resale for nearer £280 if you are lucky.
Finally, Gerlosplatte is a good choice if you seek a ski in-ski out
property without breaking the bank. This little ski resort is not widely
known in the UK but offers everything one could want, 75 mins from
It’s only eight minutes up from the attractive riverside town of Gerlos,
but being on the border of the Tyrol, you can avoid renting.
New-build four-bed chalets sell for around €500K (£424K); apartments
from €175K (£148K). Where else can you get a ski in-ski out home for
This is relatively straightforward, with a notary acting on behalf of
both vendor and buyer, and overseeing the signing of the deed of sale by
Budget six to seven per cent for purchase costs (stamp duty, Land
Registry, Notary fees) and mortgages are typically 60 per cent LTV in
this credit-cautious nation, with the interest rate around three per
cent. You can save 20 per cent VAT on the purchase price if you rent out
Although foreign buyers are free to buy in most areas, there is often
some kind of rental obligation on properties purchased. This varies from
something loosely enforced – to making minimal efforts to make your
home available for rent – to tourism focused developments with a
specified number of weeks usage.