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Housing Markets in Austria, Germany and Switzerland




Running counter to the sharp rise in house prices and housing wealth observed since the mid- 1990s in the vast majority of European countries, real house prices in Germany and Austria were going down in this period and did not start to rise until 2010 or 2007, respectively. This reflects national idiosyncracies in housing markets and motivated the discussion of relevant peculiarities in, and similarities among, Austria and Germany as well as Switzerland. Among the most important structural features that ensured housing market stability in these three countries during the last decade are well-developed rental markets, low homeownership ratios and conservative lending standards. While the tax systems of Germany and Austria do not encourage indebtedness, Swiss taxpayers benefit from taking on a lot of leverage. Recent house price increases in all three countries under review here can be attributed to various crises-related channels (extremely low interest rates, economic uncertainty, safe-haven effect) as well as to demographic developments, including immigration. The Swiss authorities have already implemented a number of macroprudential measures to safeguard the banking sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Schneider & Karin Wagner, 2015. "Housing Markets in Austria, Germany and Switzerland," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 1, pages 42-58.
  • Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbmp:y:2015:i:1:b:4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bourassa, Steven & Hoesli, Martin & Scognamiglio, Donato, 2010. "Housing finance, prices, and tenure in Switzerland," MPRA Paper 45990, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Judith Eidenberger & David Liebeg & Stefan W. Schmitz & Reinhardt Seliger & Michael Sigmund & Katharina Steiner & Peter Strobl & Eva Ubl, 2014. "Macroprudential Supervision: A Key Lesson from the Financial Crisis," Financial Stability Report, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 27, pages 83-94.
    3. Paul van den Noord, 2005. "Tax Incentives and House Price Volatility in the Euro Area: Theory and Evidence," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 101, pages 29-45.
    4. Karol Jan Borowiecki, 2009. "The Determinants of House Prices and Construction: An Empirical Investigation of the Swiss Housing Economy," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 12(3), pages 193-220.
    5. Voigtländer, Michael, 2012. "The Stability of the German Housing Market," MPRA Paper 43315, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Martin Schneider, 2013. "Are Recent Increases of Residential Property Prices in Vienna and Austria Justified by Fundamentals?," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 4, pages 29-46.
    7. Nicolas Albacete & Peter Lindner, 2015. "Foreign currency borrowers in Austria – evidence from the Household Finance and Consumption Survey," Financial Stability Report, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 29, pages 93-109.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lojschova, Adriana & Wagner, Karin & Schmidt, Alexander & Akantziliotou, Calliope & Dujardin, Marine & Kennedy, Gerard & Pontuch, Peter, 2015. "Report on residential real estate and financial stability in the EU, Section 1. on Structural features of residential real estate markets," MPRA Paper 79723, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Enisse Kharroubi & Emanuel Kohlscheen, 2017. "Consumption-led expansions," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
    3. Ando, Michihito & Dahlberg, Matz & Engström, Gustav, 2017. "The risks of nuclear disaster and its impact on housing prices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 13-16.

    More about this item


    house prices; rental markets; housing finance; taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy


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