Foreigners have no restrictions on buying real estate in Luxembourg, although buyers should be aware of the applicable property transaction fees and taxes.
There are no restrictions on foreigners buying real estate in Luxembourg and the home buying system is generally similar to many other EU countries, although high demand and property costs create some implications. Home ownership levels in Luxembourg are high with more than two-thirds of residents owning their own property, although around half of foreigners initially rent in Luxembourg. This guide helps to simplify the process of buying a home in The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and explains what you need to know about immobilier Luxembourg.
Should you rent or buy real estate in Luxembourg?
Some buyers might be discouraged from buying real estate in Luxembourg due to the costs involved. While the market is no longer booming, house prices remain high as do transaction fees.
While government assistance is available for some homebuyers, house deposits tend to be high in Luxembourg at around 20–25% and you’ll also need to factor in additional property taxes (such as registration tax and transcript tax) on top of the purchase price.
The average property price per square metre in Luxembourg is around €4,518. The capital city typically has the highest prices (€6,001 per square metre), closely followed by Bertrange (€5,773) and Strassen (€5,633). A studio flat in Luxembourg costs around €250,000, a two-bedroom apartment around €395,000 and a four-bedroom family home around €665,000, according to government statistics.
A capital gains tax is also applicable if you sell your property within two years, which is halved if you sell your property after two years. Thus foreigners with shorter term investment plans might reconsider the benefits of buying property in Luxembourg.
As such, around half of foreigners rent accommodation in Luxembourg, and this is reflected in the abundance of apartments available on the rental market compared to family homes.
How to find a property to buy in Luxembourg
Properties in Luxembourg are generally listed in newspapers and online property portals. Most sellers entrust an estate agent to market their home, but you’re unlikely to see many houses with ‘for sale’ signs outside.
Estate agents in Luxembourg must be approved by the Ministere des Classes Moyennes and many are also members of the Chambre Immobiliere du Grand-Duche de Luxembourg.
Building your own home in Luxembourg
With high property prices, some home movers choose to build their own home. The process of building your own home follows a similar system to buying an existing property. First, you’ll need to find and legally purchase a plot, before appointing an architect or construction company to build the property. State assistance is also available for buyers who choose to build their own homes, subject to some conditions. You can find out more about building your own property here.
Getting a mortgage and assistance in Luxembourg
There are a range of loans and grants available for buying real estate in Luxembourg. Your entitlement largely depends on your personal circumstances, so it’s a good idea to contact the Housing Assistance Department to see if you’re eligible.
If you’re finding it hard to get a mortgage, it may be possible to get help in the form of a state guarantee. A loan provided as part of the government guarantee has a different application criteria depending on whether you’re a permanent resident in Luxembourg or not. You can find more information about the state guarantee and application forms in French and German on the government website.
It can also be possible to get a grant from the state of between €250 and €9,700 when buying a new-build or existing home. The amount you can get depends on your income, and you might be turned down if you’re able to purchase the property using your own resources.
Buying real estate in Luxembourg
When you agree to purchase a house, you’ll sign a contract (Promesse de Vente/Vertrag). This agreement includes the names and addresses of both parties, the details of the property sale and the payment terms, such as a break clause in case you can’t secure a mortgage. Your contract will often also include the date that you will take possession of the house.
The sale agreement must be registered with the Administration of Registration within three months of agreeing the transaction. The contract is a legally binding document, so if the purchase falls through, the party at fault could be subject to legal action.
Funding a purchase: deposits and mortgages
Luxembourg is a leading financial center, although only a small percentage of banks deal with day-to-day or small investment banking. Most banks offer mortgages, though some will insist you already have a current account with them.
Once you have received a mortgage offer in principle, you’ll need to pay to have a valuation of the property done by a surveyor, which must then be approved by the mortgage lender. Once you agree to purchase the property, you’ll also need to pay a deposit. How much deposit you pay will depend on the mortgage deal you’ve secured, but it’s not uncommon to pay a deposit of up to 25%.
A notary (otherwise known as a conveyancer) is required to administer all property transactions. Notary fees are fixed by law and tend to be around 1.5% of the property’s value.
Registration tax (or land transfer tax) will be one of your biggest outgoings when buying a home. Registration tax is 6% of the property’s value, with an additional 1% transcript tax added on top. This charge only applies if you exceed the tax-free allowance of €20,000 (for a single person) or €40,000 (for a married couple).
Finally, homeowners in Luxembourg also need to pay annual property taxes of up to 8%, which vary significantly depending on where in the country you live.
Finding a translator
If you require a translator to help you understand your contract, the British Embassy’s list of English speaking lawyers and translators is a useful resource.
Selling a property
While the buyer pays the majority of the property transaction costs, there are some things you’ll need to take into account if you decide to sell a property in Luxembourg. Sellers are required to pay estate agent fees, which typically come to 3% of the property’s value (plus VAT). When selling your home, you’ll also need to arrange for a new energy performance certificate. You can find out more about getting an EPC at myenergy.lu.
Housing terms (French – German)
- buy: acheter – kaufen
- estate agent: immobilier – Makler
- deposit: caution – Kaution
- mortgage: hypothèque – Hypothek
- commute: commuter – pendeln