david graham, switzerland property investment

An Elite Investment


Tania Jacobs catches up with property guru David Graham and finds out why foreign investment interest in Switzerland shows no signs of dwindling

Why buy in Switzerland?

Stability, security, internationally well-connected, exceptional education, stunning scenery, lively cities and an elegant lifestyle are just some of the reasons people choose to buy property in Switzerland. Less obvious, but no less important considerations include: world-class architecture and design, preferential tax arrangements, an energetic focus on environmental issues and living in a multi-lingual society.

How has the market performed of late?

The Swiss market has undergone significant adjustments over recent years with major changes in the legislation, banking secrecy and strength of the currency. The markets differ so much across each region however; in general, the enthusiasm for this landlocked country located at the very heart of Europe shows no sign of dwindling. With the restrictions for non-resident purchase still a major factor, there are two main markets, which behave in very different ways due.

How are property prices holding up?

Switzerland is known for many things, home to discretion and secrecy in its private banking, cheese, chocolate and their world renowned ultra efficient rail network. Also, until recently, a myth developed around the high prices of both purchasing property in Switzerland and day to day expenses. Thanks to its increasing popularity, more and more investors are seeing for themselves, that the reality is very different. While purchasing property here is not without its challenges, recent reports have shown that the country is currently knocking on the door of the top 10 places to buy in the world.

How is the property purchase process governed in Switzerland?

The acquisition of real estate by non-residents is regulated by Swiss Federal Law under the Lex Koller regulations. The Lex Koller requires "persons abroad" to obtain a permit from the appropriate cantonal and federal authorities before buying real estate.

Numbers of properties available to non-residents are also limited by the Swiss Government. At present the total number of homes that can be sold each year to non-residents in the whole of Switzerland is 1,440. Each Canton has a proportion of the 1,440 'permits' allocated to them each year.

Alternatively, if the property is to serve as a main residence, no permission is required provided that the property serves the purchaser as their main residence at the place of their rightful and actual residence, and provided that the purchaser actually lives there (renting out is not allowed). This is commonly known as the 'Permit B' route and involves acquiring Swiss Residency at the time of the property purchase.

What property styles are popular?

While France is home to the purpose-built resort, Switzerland is home to the mountain village offering some of the biggest, highest, most challenging and toughest runs in the Alps, as well as some of the world’s best mountain lifestyles.

Many of these traditional Swiss resorts, once farming communities, have managed to evolve themselves into the year-round family holiday destinations they are now, with an attractive choice of property investment opportunities. Haute Nendaz, is a typical example of this. Once a quiet, sleepy Swiss resort, it has now become one of the most highly sought-after resorts to purchase a property, throughout the whole of the French speaking part of Switzerland.

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