His People's Party (OeVP), revamped by the 31-year-old as a more hardline "movement", was projected to have come first in Sunday's election with some 31.5 percent of the vote.
"Many people have placed great hopes in our movement," the fresh-faced wonder boy told a sea of supporters in Vienna on Sunday evening.
"It's time to establish a new political style... I accept this responsibility with great humility."
But his possible next move -- entering a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) of Heinz-Christian Strache -- could see some of his shine removed.
The takeover of the OeVP in May by "Emperor Kurz" was as swift as it was radical.
First he ended the decade-long unhappy coalition with the Social Democrats (SPOe). Then he rebranded the OeVP and its black party colour as a turquoise "movement" tough on migrants and easy on taxes.
The strategy of "putting Austrians first" propelled the sluggish OeVP to pole position in opinion polls and Kurz to near-rock star status.