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Stefan Gassner, SAGE Immobilien

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your company

Our company is one of the leading real estate agencies in the federal state of Salzburg and Tyrol in Austria, offering more than 450 properties. The area covered includes all major skiing destinations in Salzburg and Tyrol. 17 full time employees provide a full-service real estate agent service at three offices. Our service includes an in-house legal department that is handling communication between seller and buyer and the notary handling the purchase transaction. Our company takes care of everything involved in the purchase, including handover service and after-sales services like help with public utility companies or small renovation works. The company was founded in May 2006, starting with one office in Zell am See. In 2011 we opened our first branch office in St. Johann im Pongau. Our second branch office was opened in 2013. Since our founding in 2006 our company has grown to 17 full time employees. Our company is a family run business. Our CEO is Mag. (FH) Stefan Gassner, he studied Management and Law in Innsbruck and Budapest and has been in the Real Estate Industry since 2002.What has the property market been like this year?

The market has been quite stable, although the number of sales has slightly decreased. Prices are stable or slightly increasing.

What do you expect to happen to the market in 2014? Are there any "hotspots" to look out for?

For 2014 I expect the market to be similiar to 2013. We do see some recovery in the UK market, indicated by more requests for holiday homes out of this market.

The outlook for the year 2014 shows that for residential properties the demand is still high. Although due to the high price growth over the last 5 years the demand curve has slowed down a little. The Austrian property market in 2013 has been stable with a little growth in prices, depending on the exact location. Demand in the large cities and the well-known tourist resorts has been high.

We do expect this trend to continue in 2014 as real estate for Austrians is a safe haven in the financial and Euro crises. In addition, the currently unusually low interest rate, the fear of inflation and the fear of lower state pensions cause a high demand for Austrian property.

Due to the demographic development, residential properties in urban areas are enjoying particularly great popularity over the past few years.

Regarding price development in the Austrian property market, due to the high demand and limited supply of real estate ownership , a continuous price increase took place particularly in urban areas in recent years. Significant price increases have happened in the property market in the city of Salzburg over the past 5 years. Although the interest in property in Austria is unbroken, we do expect that the prices will now stabilize.

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The interest in real estate remains high, but the big rush which we have seen in the past few years is likely to be over.

What are the major challenges faced by expats looking to buy?

The most important thing when buying abroad is to come to the area you like yourself and look for the properties that are currently on the market. It does not help to search for a long time for the perfect property as this one might be off the market before you have a chance to fly over and buy it yourself. Once you have decided on your perfect holiday home we will take over and arrange everything neccessary to make the purchase process as easy and smooth for you as possible.

What advice would you give to expats going through the buying process?

Do not try it without professional assistance. We have guided buyers from several European countries through the whole buying process. We know the questions and differences between the countries and are able to solve problems before they occur.

Can you be contacted for further information?

More information on buying properties in Austria and our current property selection is available on our website: www.sage-immobilien.at

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