Housing Market: The term refers to the situation of supply and demand in regard to housing. In Austria, the housing market is only governed by market principles to a limited extent, since essential elements of the free play of market forces have been curtailed or subjected to strict regulation (rent control, regional planning ordinances etc.) In Austria the housing market is subdivided into four segments (the figures referring to the number of inhabitants are limited to principal residences):
1) Private homes: Approximately 57 % of the Austrian population live in their own houses or freehold (owner-occupied) apartments. This segment is particularly important in rural areas and much less so in urban areas. In Vienna only 17% of the population fall into this category. Construction of private homes and freehold apartments is subsidised by the public authorities, although the instruments used for this purpose vary from province to province, as does the share of government assistance in total construction costs (15-25% on average). Financing and construction of private houses and freehold apartments are also greatly assisted by Saving and Loan Associations.
2) Rented accommodation: 12.7 % of all Austrians live in rented accommodations. The larger the city, the higher the percentage: in Vienna 27.8 % of the resident population live in rented quarters. The disposition over rented accommodation and the total amounts payable for the rental of apartments of different quality standards are governed by a variety of laws (security of tenure, rent control).
3) Public housing (housing provided by public authorities at federal, provincial and municipal level): Approx. 10 % of Austrians live in public accommodations; in Vienna "council houses" account for roughly 31% of the resident population, making the Municipality of Vienna Austria's biggest landlord. Council apartments, which offer average quality accommodation at favourable rent levels, are principally intended for needy individuals and families.
4) Cooperative housing schemes, i.e. apartments built by cooperatives and private promoters, which account for approximately 10% of the Austrian population (in Vienna almost 13%). Approximately four fifths (in Vienna two thirds) have been built by cooperative societies, usually with public assistance.
Literature: H. Faßmann, Der segmentierte Wohnungsmarkt in Österreich, 1994.