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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Subsidized home builders: Number should fall below 1000

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Irene Simader, Manfred Haimbuchner
Image: Daniel Kauder
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The state of Upper Austria funded the construction of 1136 homes in 2022. That was 33 more than the year before. This year, deputy governor Manfred Haimbuchner (FP) expects that there will be fewer than 1,000, as he said at the presentation of the housing balance sheet.

In addition to the generally uncertain situation and the high costs, this is mainly due to the stricter lending rules for bank loans that have been in force since August. “This regulation should be abolished,” said Haimbuchner. House builders not only need housing subsidies, but also bank loans. As reported, after deliberations by the Financial Market Stability Committee in April, bridging financing is to be relaxed. This is a first step, said Irene Simader, head of the country’s housing department. Haimbuchner announced: “We have our own measures in the drawer to make home ownership even more attractive.” Before that, however, one waits for the actual adjustment of the regulation.

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Ten years ago, the state had promoted the construction of around 2,500 homes. The decline since then can also be explained by the fact that house builders waived housing subsidies because interest rates were low anyway. That could now change again.

In multi-storey residential construction, the state promoted the construction of 1559 rental apartments last year (minus 151) – with a special program because of the high construction costs. Also this year there should be at least 1500. The criticism from the building guild, according to which 13 out of 15 companies were unable to build with the country’s upper building cost limit, said Haimbuchner: “Everyone who is willing to build. There will be many. I know that.” For buildings with nine to twelve apartments, there will be individual reviews. So there could be exceptions here.

Haimbuchner emphasized that in ten years more had been built than ever before and like in no other federal state. That is why Upper Austria is 8.2 percent below the Austrian average with 5.6 euros per m² rent (without heating, operating costs). In 2009 it was even more expensive in Upper Austria.

The state also funded 608 condominiums (up 197) and 5,979 renovations (down 1,665) in 2022. The paid housing benefit amounted to 52.2 million euros (minus 2.3 million).

SP club chairwoman Sabine Engleitner-Neu called for improvements in housing assistance.

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