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Kitzbühel broker: "There are really very, very many rich people"

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Nowhere else in Austria is it paid as much for single-family houses as in Kitzbühel. The Kitzbühel real estate agent reports what is currently being sought and how much is being paid for it Manfred Hagsteiner.

DEFAULT: Kitzbühel is one of the most expensive places in the country. What does Kitzbühel have that others don't?

Hagsteiner: Kitzbühel has built a very good name for itself for decades. We benefit from the proximity to Munich, but also from the beautiful landscape. It's safe and clean here. And Kitzbühel is a magnet for celebrities. Where there are celebrities, others come too.

DEFAULT: You have a somewhat unusual career for a real estate agent. You were originally a hairdresser ...

Hagsteiner: My father was already a hairdresser and had many prominent customers in the 1960s and 1970s, including Udo Jürgens and Romy Schneider. So I became a hairdresser too. When it comes to cutting hair, the real estate business developed because a hairdresser knows everything. People have asked if we didn't know of a piece of land or a house that was available. That's how it turned out. Since 1995 I have only been trading in real estate. My son already has his own office.

DEFAULT: There should be 50 brokers in Kitzbühel. A lot of competitors?

Hagsteiner: Maybe eight to ten are really active. As a traditional family business, we are in a niche. We continue to look after customers. If someone needs a nanny or a Christmas tree, we'll take care of that too. This personal touch is our strength. Most of the people who come are strangers. You take her by the hand, drive to the nearest furniture store, lighting store, restaurant. So that you feel good quickly. That makes sense for us: if you want to sell the property, come back to us.

DEFAULT: How does the marketing of a luxury house work? Do you apply that openly?

Hagsteiner: There may be older houses that are a little cheaper and that are going out of the way. But if a house costs four million euros, then I have to advertise it accordingly. It is no longer enough to hang a nice photo in the display. To do this, you have to make a nice video, advertise in newspapers and be well positioned on the Internet. It is relatively rare for someone to stumble past the office and ask if we have a house for eight million euros. It used to be the order of the day, so you needed an office in a good location.

DEFAULT: What role does discretion play in the industry?

Hagsteiner: People don't want their neighbors to know they are selling. So they don't want us to put up a sign in their front yard. This is common practice in the USA and Spain. It's a matter of mentality. The neighbor knows that they are selling anyway. He knows our car.

DEFAULT: Who is currently looking?

Hagsteiner: 80 percent of our main market are Germans. Then there were a relatively large number of English people who were a little quieter, probably due to uncertainty surrounding Brexit. The Russians are more likely to be gone.

DEFAULT: In communities like Kitzbühel you don't really enjoy having second homes.

Hagsteiner: EU law gives buyers several options. Many establish their main residence here or set up a company. If someone wants, there are enough opportunities to legally purchase a property in Kitzbühel.

DEFAULT: What is wanted?

Hagsteiner: Swiss chalets are very popular: the ground floor is clad with stone, the floors above with old wood. There are luxuries like an indoor swimming pool or a cinema. Everything at its finest.

DEFAULT: What is paid

Hagsteiner: For such houses between 14,000 and 16,000 euros per square meter, but in Kitzbühel also 20,000 euros are paid. For houses around 28 million euros, you no longer need to calculate the price per square meter. If you buy a property for a lot of money today, you only need to take a toothbrush with you. The bed linen comes from Paris and the wallpaper from England.

DEFAULT: Hasn't a ceiling slowly been reached in terms of prices?

Hagsteiner: We have been asking for ten years: How should this continue? But it went on and on, we never had a bubble. Funnily enough, it is even easier to sell high-priced and expensive things in Kitzbühel than cheaper ones. I usually still convert the prices to schillings, but that makes me crazy. You can no longer convert 30 million euros into schillings. That's why you get a whole mountain elsewhere. But there are really, really many rich people. Not just in Russia. Also in Germany.

DEFAULT: Is there a generation change in Kitzbühel?

Hagsteiner: Yes. We have already sold great houses to customers who were not even 40 years old. How long you keep a property has also changed. Everything has become faster. After ten or twelve years, the property often changes hands again. Then there are grandchildren who say they'd rather go to Spain. Funnily enough, they come back to Kitzbühel later when they are older.

DEFAULT: Do you have one particular experience as a real estate agent in your memory?

Hagsteiner: A customer came once at 3 p.m. to look for an apartment that same day. He was passing through. We found an apartment for three million euros, he bought it and paid 500,000 euros down. Three months later, the phone rang in the middle of the night. The customer called me from a hotel, apologized for disturbing me, and asked me to come over. I asked if something had happened. Then he said: "No, but I can't find my apartment. I was only there once." (16.6.2019)