7 Lakes Special – Living at Lake Mondsee (Part I)
Embedded in a dreamlike environment with – thanks to Drachenwand and Schafberg. – breathtaking panorama, Mondsee, located in the Salzkammergut, is considered one of the most beautiful lakes in Austria.
Lake Mondsee has had its name since the 17th century. Before that it was called Mannsee, derived from an old noble family. According to a legend, Duke Odilo of Bavaria once rode at night from the back of the Dragon Wall to the lake and only noticed the moon reflected in the lake shortly before he was about to fall. This is how the name Mondsee came about.
The lake has been privately owned since the 18th century – an exception for Austrian lakes of this size. The current owner of the lake is Nicolette Wächter, who took over the lake from her late brother in 1977. In 2008, the Austrian Federal Forests wanted to acquire Mondsee, but it failed because of the asking price – the estimated value is 16 million euros.
Already in the 19th century the first tourism appeared here. The region gained tourist potential, seaside resorts and hotels were built, and in 1872 steam navigation finally began. The lake also attracted famous writers and musicians such as Gottfried Keller, Johannes Brahms, Leo Fall and Heinrich Noë. The writer and editor-in-chief of the “Wiener Zeitung”, Friedrich Uhl, also took up a second home there for the summer.
From 1929 to 1933, thanks to the “Austro-American Conservatory”, Mondsee also became a center for music education during the summer months.
Around the Basilica Mondsee some events like the “Musiktage Mondsee” or the “Mondseer Jedermann” take place in summer.
Data & Facts
Mondsee is located southwest of Lake Attersee and belongs to the municipality of the same name; its southern shore forms the border between Salzburg and Upper Austria. It also borders the limestone Alps and the sandstone zone. The Dragon Wall rises on the southwest shore, with over 80% of the shoreline obstructed. However, in the estuary area of the Fuschler Ache there is a larger natural section which is a nature reserve.
After the Attersee and Traunsee, the Mondsee is considered the third largest lake in the Salzkammergut, is eleven kilometers long, about 1.5 kilometers wide and has an area of 14 square kilometers. Its deepest point is 68 meters, and its average depth is 36 meters. With some tributaries such as the Fuschler Ache, the lake has a catchment area of 120 square kilometers.
About 3,500 inhabitants live in the market town around the lake.
In an interview, realtor Kevin Ferstl talks about current developments in the real estate market at Mondsee, the new desire to be close to nature and the flexibility of buyers today.
Mr. Ferstl, what makes living at Mondsee so special and where do you see the uniqueness of Mondsee?
The border between Salzburg and Upper Austria runs along the southern shore, thus two federal states are connected by the lake. Mondsee attracts sports and culture enthusiasts and is a meeting place when it comes to culinary enjoyment. The proximity to Salzburg city is of course also a plus, also the Alpenseebad, which is one of the largest lidos in the Salzkammergut. The most impressive thing about Mondsee is the sunny autumn days, when the south current acts like a kind of “wind machine” and the fog clouds glide over the lake again and again. This is a beautiful spectacle of nature. Of course, you can’t forget the numerous events here – from the Seefest to the Mondsee Everyman.”
What trend do you see in properties at Mondsee? And what is this trend based on?
The trend is generally toward “out to the country” and away from the big city. This development has been observed for some time. The trend toward home offices and the new possibilities offered by telecommunications are naturally conducive to this. All of this gives new hope to shrinking communities that have suffered badly from outmigration in recent years. In Salzburg, for example, more people have moved out of the city in the last ten years than vice versa. The so-called “Stodinger” are moving to the countryside, and Mondsee, with its impressive surroundings and natural scenery, is naturally just right.
Are there any reasons to believe that this trend could change?
If we start from the current situation, this trend will not change anytime soon. Of course, urban life in a city has its advantages, but Mondsee offers so many amenities that you lack nothing. Plus, you have nature on your doorstep. People and life have changed fundamentally. Everyone wants more freedom, more proximity to nature and more in general when it comes to living. People are simply investing more in beautiful living at the moment.
What is the profile of the classic buyer at Mondsee – who is your primary target group?
Our buyer base cuts across the board – from investors, home buyers and people looking for the right property for their dream home. Properties with a lake view or near a lake are generally rare and highly sought after. The group of buyers who buy in the upscale real estate segment is very large nowadays. There is relatively little supply near the water in this segment because there is, or may be, little built-up area.
In the luxury segment, people never like to talk about prices – can you nevertheless give me an overview of the prices per square meter directly on the lake and “second row”?
An apartment in the second row, i.e. behind the lake road and without lake access, costs on average 10,000 to 15,000 euros per square meter. In the first row with lake access we are talking about double to triple, depending on the location and facilities.
Are houses, apartments or plots of land currently the most sought after, or is there a clear favorite?
At the moment, it’s like they’re looking for everything. Inquiries are coming in for both apartments and houses as well as land. The search for the right property is then quite individual. The trend to invest the money safely is definitely in the first place. Everyone wants to keep their hard-earned money safe. Likewise, buyers are becoming more flexible. Since supply is so scarce, both house or land is an option for many prospective buyers. But a condo is still the best-selling unit, as this is where the most supply is still available.
Especially in the Salzkammergut region, there is – or so it seems to me – a higher off-market offer for lake properties than transparent offers. Do you think this makes sense, and why do you think off-market offerings are so desirable on the part of sellers in this region in particular?
This always depends very much on the seller and his wishes. Many salespeople want to act in a rather restrained manner. This transparent and public sale wants to avoid that the whole region knows about it. Offers are not distributed indiscriminately to as many people as possible; rather, most deals are offered specifically to the appropriate buyers and are handled confidentially.
Another issue is if a property is on the market for too long, it is quickly labeled as a slow seller. Off-market deals in the real estate sector must be initiated and handled with much more tact and discretion. But of course it’s easier for a real estate agency to implement a public sale, because digitization means that the target group is simply larger.
We notice on FINDMYHOME.AT/Premium Living a very strong increase in demand for lakefront properties, 34% over the previous year. Is this also reflected in the growth in the value of luxury properties at Mondsee? And what has been the price trend over the last three years?”
As mentioned above, lakefront properties are very rare and therefore highly sought after. The difference between properties in the first and second row is visible – and clear. Generally speaking, there is virtually no upper limit today – depending on what the property offers, many compromises are made.
Has the demand for properties with lake views, but not directly on the lake, increased just as much?
Small apartments, houses and properties that have a view of the lake, even if it is only a side lake view, are de facto almost sold out. We are fortunate to be able to offer a lake view in two of the units in our project, and here too we notice that the demand for lake views is very high and that this factor – nature and the lake – is playing an increasingly important role in our buyers’ sense of well-being. Especially the current issues such as climate change ensure that our buyers prefer to be close to nature, mountains and lakes.
Do you think there will be more buy-to-let models in the region in the future?
We at Ferstl Immobilien are very much in the buy-to-let segment or investor model. We offer especially in the ski regions like Zell am See, Kaprun, Saalfelden, Saalbach etc. very many investment properties. I think these buy-to-let models with full-service hotel operations will become interesting investments here as well, and this region lends itself well to that. However, a clear distinction must be made here that the added value for the region and investors is provided by these full-service hotels and that this concept has nothing to do with second homes. These aparthotels add value to the region, create regional jobs and offer buyers a meaningful investment.
What is the current offer at Mondsee and neighboring lakes in the Salzkammergut?
As already mentioned, demand is greater than supply. This can also be clearly seen in the offered sales prices of all properties. This affects both Lake Mondsee and neighboring lakes.”
Discover exclusive real estate
Living at the Mondsee: Buying real estate at Mondsee
Living at Austria’s lakes: Buy real estate at Austria’s lakes