Residential properties right on the water are particularly sought after. Because on Lake Wörthersee, in the Salzkammergut or on the Danube in Vienna, values can be created for generations – with the prospect of rapid increases in value.
Plus 17 percent for handbags, plus 13 percent for fine wines, plus six percent for classic cars: the prices for collectibles rose significantly in 2020. The reason: their uniqueness. Not only at auctions, but also in the land register, locations that cannot be duplicated and incomparable living quality bring the highest prices. Real estate in the luxury segment closed 2020 with a plus of 1.9 percent – that was significantly better than expected and a higher increase in value than in 2019, says Liam Bailey, Global Head of Research at Knight Frank.
The brokerage company collects prices for luxury real estate in 100 locations around the globe in an annual index. For Bailey, the results confirm the significant increase in global demand for residential real estate in the top segment. “There is particularly strong interest in rural and water-based properties with unusual features,” says the Knight Frank expert. The rally also continues this year: “The increased demand will mean that prices in our key markets will rise by an average of seven percent in 2021.”
Mooring with a view of the lake
This is also confirmed by Thomas Hopfgartner, owner of the real estate company Living De Luxe Real Estate, which specializes in wealthy customers: He not only sells the most expensive apartment in Vienna at 32.5 million euros, but also specializes in the Wörthersee – the first address in Austria in the summer months, which is also reflected in the square meter prices, which can now reach 10,000 euros and more. Because the Wörthersee is also popular with celebrities, those interested can usually not find the most beautiful properties on real estate platforms, but through word of mouth. About Hopfgartner you can usually find a recommendation: “Our special relationship with our customers is our greatest asset,” says the expert for high-quality living with a lake view. After decades in the business, he could write a book about any villa on the lake, as it says.
Nevertheless, he holds back: discretion is the top priority at Lake Wörthersee. “It’s not about prices, it’s about values,” he says. “The value of the home has increased significantly as a result of the pandemic. Those who are at the lake are happy: Enjoying life in the most beautiful place in the world, regardless of the outside world, has always been particularly valuable.” It is true that the price increases are also interesting for buyers, who would actually no longer be dependent on them. But at the highest level of the residential real estate business, the reason to buy is always primarily the emotion, emphasizes Hopfgartner: “For decades, Lake Wörthersee has been Austria’s best waterfront residential area. Now the next generation is coming, who have come to appreciate the advantages of it even more during the pandemic and sees the property here not just as an object of speculation, but wants to use and enjoy it sustainably. “
Values for generations
Investing instead of speculating: This applies to all local lake shores. “In the premium segment, in addition to the mountain chalets, there are primarily villas around the lake areas, where we are seeing an increase in demand of over 50 percent,” says Bernd Gabel-Hlawa, managing director of the real estate platform FindMyHome.at. “Many real estate offers in the price range from two to five million euros are often only present on our Premium Living portal for a few weeks before they change hands after a successful sale. Before the pandemic, such collector’s objects were available for up to three years.”
Classic lake areas around the Wolfgangsee or Attersee are just as sought after as the Wörthersee, because for many the Salzkammergut offers the perfect combination of mountains and lakes, as the FindMyHome.at managing director says.
The prices for plots with partial lake access are between 2,500 and 4,000 euros per square meter, plots built with high-end properties cost 15,000 to 20,000 euros per square meter – and the trend is rising.
However, customers do not buy the multi-million dollar properties by the water in order to generate returns with them or to sell them on at a profit in a few years’ time, but to create value for generations, emphasizes Mark Hüsges, Managing Director of Engel & Völkers Salzburg. “In addition to the economic aspect, the unique quality of life is an essential factor. The past few months have shown how important your own home is. Those who can combine living with good infrastructure and a breathtaking natural backdrop are happy. Especially the location of Lake Wolfgang with its own infrastructure and proximity to Salzburg offers the best conditions for this. “
Luxury for city dwellers
For investors who think sustainably, it doesn’t always have to be water in the form of a lake. Even in cities, luxury properties that score with the attribute “built close to the water” are, according to Knight Frank, a safe investment – especially in the current environment, which is still characterized by uncertainty. Prices in the luxury segment in Vienna also rose in the previous year, while earlier hotspots such as London and Paris suffered declines.
Noble residential projects are currently being built such as The Shore in Vienna-Döbling with a private beach on the Old Danube, the Triiiple residential ensemble with direct access to the Danube Canal and the Marina Tower, a new landmark on the Vienna skyline directly on the Danube. Six exclusive penthouses will be built at the highest point of the residential tower. “The specialty of the Marina Tower, in addition to the first-class location directly on the water and the large area of the Handelskai covered by the marina deck, is the exclusivity of the penthouses and the spectacular panorama,” says the Engel & Völkers expert.
A highlight are the extensive roof areas, on which the dream of an outdoor paradise with a pool and outdoor kitchen can be realized. Splashing around on your own roof terrace with a view of the Danube is actually a unique feeling – and there is also space for the handbag collection, the wine store and the vintage car in the garage.
The article is the trend. PREMIUM edition dated June 25, 2021.