VIENNA, Austria - February 26, 2019 – According to an analysis conducted by BAWAG P.S.K., the volume of home loans in Austria has grown at a rate that is more than twice as high as the rate for the Eurozone over the past ten years. “In the past ten years, Austrians were evidently more ambitious than the average European when it came to realizing their dreams of owning their own home – regarding home ownership rate throughout the country, there is plenty of room for improvement. This is also why building or buying a home is one of the most important advisory topics at our branches,” explained Markus Gremmel, head of Marketing and Product Management at BAWAG P.S.K. Although the percentage of tenants of semi-detached houses in Austria is significantly lower than the European average, we are among the top ten EU countries when it comes to single-family detached homes. There are also differences among the Austrian provinces: While the percentage of apartment owners is the highest in the west, the share of house owners is highest in Austria’s easternmost province.
Eurozone comparison: Austrians diligent in financing dream of owning a home
If one compares the development of the volume of home loans in Europe between December 2008 and December 2018, it is apparent that Austria enjoyed more robust growth than the Eurozone: During this ten-year period, the volume of home loans in Austria increased by 58% – from € 69.8 billion to € 110.5 billion in absolute terms – according to figures published by the ECB. By contrast, the volume of home loans in the Eurozone as a whole has “only” grown by 25% in recent years, from € 3,491 billion to € 4,358.6 billion. "The general debt-to-equity ratio for private households in Austria is still below average compared to the euro zone, as is the home ownership ratio. We are convinced that the trend towards more home ownership and credit growth in this area is healthy and sustainable in Austria. We expect this trend to continue in the coming years. We don’t see any signs of overindebtedness – quite the opposite is true: the underlying developments, such as low interest rates and a growing population, continue to support these trends," explains Ingo Jungwirth, economist at BAWAG P.S.K.
“Housing habits”: Austrians against the European trend
An analysis of the distribution of housing habits based on the latest available Eurostat data shows: In the EU average (EU-28) most people (42%) live in flats, about a third in single-family houses (34%) and about a quarter (24%) in semi-detached houses. Austria differs slightly here: slightly more people (47%) live in single-family houses than in flats (45%). Spaniards (66%) live most frequently in flats, the Irish (7.3%) least frequently. Living in semi-detached houses is particularly popular among the British (60%) and least among the Slovaks (1.6%). Single-family houses are most popular among Croats (71%), least popular in Malta (5%).
Lowest ownership rate in Vienna
The topic of housing is also multifaceted within Austria, as shown by an analysis of Statistics Austria’s 2017 Microcensus. Nearly half of all Austrians own a house or an apartment. The percentage of homeowners is highest in Burgenland, at 70%, lowest in Vienna (7%). The share of apartment owners is highest in the western region of the country: Tyrol has the highest percentage of apartment owners among the provinces, at 17%, followed by Vorarlberg and Salzburg, at 15% each.
Trusted bank advisor for financing a home
One thing that all homeowners have in common, however, appears to be the fact that building or buying a home marks the fulfillment of a dream. “Owning a home is an important part of many people’s life planning. At the same time, many people see property as a good investment and associate having their own home with a worry-free life in their old age,” pointed out Gremmel. “The low-interest rate environment has made it easier to finance the dream of owning a home in recent years. But building or buying a home remains one of the most important financial decisions in our customers’ lives, one for which they actively seek out the advice of an expert at our bank.” Therefore, providing comprehensive advice about financing a home is one of the key competences and services of the BAWAG P.S.K. advisors at the branches. Customers are also provided with a good overview of the subsidies available for construction and renovation measures. In addition, the consultations include a look at the possibilities and advantages of alternative energy generation in the form of photovoltaic systems or heat pumps.
The terms for borrowers are currently at a historically low level and make it easier to finance plans to build or buy a home. As part of its financing offensive, BAWAG P.S.K. is offering mortgages with variable interest rates starting as low as 0.75% p.a. We recommend that customers who are concerned about financial security negotiate constant monthly installments by selecting a fixed interest rate. BAWAG P.S.K. has created a promotional product with interest rates starting at 1.00% for a fixed-rate period of six years. Many customers also opt for longer fixed-rate periods of 10 or 15 years with promotional interest rates starting at 1.50% p.a. or 1.75% p.a., respectively. The timing of a fixed-rate agreement is currently favorable.
We point out that all information is not binding and the conditions listed are changeable. The interest rate and the resulting installment amount depends on the creditworthiness and can only be determined after the credit check has been carried out. This publication is intended to provide non-binding information. It is not a financial analysis and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell investment products or other specific products. Although the information and opinions contained in this publication are based on reliable sources, BAWAG P.S.K. shall not accept contractual or implied liability for incorrect or incomplete information. All information and figures provided are subject to change without prior notice. Forecasts regarding future developments are based purely on estimates and assumptions. The actual future developments may deviate from the forecast. Therefore, forecasts are not a reliable indicator of the future performance and development of a financial instrument, financial index, or securities service.
Manfred Rapolter (Head of Communications, Spokesperson)