Switzerland has long been a favourite destination with international buyers – or at least, with those who have cash to splash, as some Swiss property is among the most expensive in the world. Foreign buyers looking to get into Switzerland face restrictions on what and where they can buy designed in part to prevent foreign demand pushing prices up even further. Non-Swiss families can only own one property in Switzerland, can only live in their property for up to six months a year, and can only buy properties under 200 square metres. There are also restrictions on where foreigners can buy: only properties in designated ‘holiday zones’ are available to them.
The Swiss government is further restricting property by limiting the number of ‘secondary residences’ – or holiday homes – in each town or village to 20% of the total. That means that there are likely to be many fewer holiday homes on the market in Switzerland after the law comes into effect in 2013. So, if you want to own your own slice of Switzerland, now might be the time to buy it.
Switzerland is famous for its mountains, with good reason. Whether or not you are a fan of skiing, you will find it hard not to fall in love with Swiss Alps. In winter, they are home to some of the world’s best (and most exclusive) ski resorts, such as St Moritz, Verbier and Zermatt. In summer, the snow melts and the green mountain meadows and trails attract walkers, climbers, mountain bikers and adrenalin junkies. They also attract those who just want to enjoy the incredible views, Swiss culture and chocolate-box villages.
As buying in Switzerland can be complicated, it can be best to contact a specialist agency who can help you through the maze of legal restrictions. Remember too that you need to get overseas property insurance in place after you buy – Alpine winters can damage even the well-built of homes. Once the practicalities are arranged, you’ll be free to enjoy life on the mountain.