Is this the right time to be selling overseas property fast in the Swiss Alps? Ski properties in the Swiss Alps have been exceptionally popular with international tourists. They can cost as much as £1 million on an average and generally attract the jet set crowd of fashion designers, top business executives, celebrities, media personalities and professional athletes.
In many resorts in the Swiss Alps, home prices have risen dramatically because of the caps put by the government on the construction of second homes. Indeed, through the 2013 to 2022 period, prices increased by 8 to 10% a year.
A vast majority of the most expensive ski chalets here are bought by foreign investors from countries like the United States, UK, Germany, France, Sweden and Norway. These days, many wealthy Chinese and Russian investors have been buying ski chalets in the Swiss Alps.
Over 450,000 holiday homes in the Swiss Alps are occupied by foreign nationals. That is a high number. Many Swiss are understandably anxious about this and actually are petitioning the government to curb foreign ownership of properties here.
In 2012, the Swiss government explicitly forbade the development of holiday homes in communities where foreign nationals account for over 20 percent of the housing stock. This law has affected some resorts in the Swiss Alps such as Grisons and Valais.
In Switzerland, not more than 1,500 ownership permits are allowed for second home buyers in the Swiss Alps. There are restrictions on the size of the plot of land that is allowed. This should not be more than 250 sq. metres.
Many real estate developers in the Swiss Alps such as Terry Brine of Ski Invest have expressed their great frustration at the restrictions imposed by the government on foreign ownership of ski properties here. Mr Brine says in an interview with the Telegraph, “The primary motivation behind the new legislation is a national drive by government to promote primary residences, and to increase the number of homes with full occupancy. Second homes currently account for some 12 per cent of the overall housing stock in Switzerland, with owners of ‘cold beds’ (shuttered holiday homes) facing mounting local criticism because they remain empty for much of the year. They can turn villages into virtual ghost towns.”
Since the new laws came into place in 2012, prices of ski chalets in some of the prime neighbourhoods here have risen by 10 to 15 percent each. Jorg Schmittschneider of Engel and Volkers explains, “Davos, one of the highest Alpine resorts in Europe, is among the top five locations to see the biggest property price increases since the second quarter of 2013.”
Mr. Schmittschneider adds, “Holiday homes in St Moritz are now nearing 15,000 euros per square metre, compared with 7,000 euros in Chamonix, France, and less than 4,000 euros in the Austrian ski villages of Lech and St Anton, with the long-term average forecast at two to four per cent. Investors clearly equate the new higher price culture with a future rarity value.”
But there is no doubt about the demand for ski chalets in the Swiss Alps. If you are keen on selling overseas property in the Swiss Alps quickly, you should target those who are likely to pay big money for it – cash rich Chinese, Russian, German, Swiss or Scandinavian buyers. A good overseas property agent will make this possible for you.