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Swiss Buyers' Info

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Can a foreigner buy a new apartment or build a new chalet in Switzerland?

Yes, there are exceptions to the Weber law which restricts the building of new holiday homes in Switzerland.  
The Weber law applies to foreigners and Swiss buyers and was enacted after a referendum vote in 2012. Since the law, no new building permits have been given for the construction of second homes in resorts where second homes already make up 20% of total property.

New construction in almost all the Swiss ski resorts is prohibited by law now but there are some exceptions:
There are still a few permits which were given before the Weber law which are valid such as these chalets in Grimentz.
There is also a special exemption for new second home status properties in Andermatt and we have two or three new buildings released for sale this year.
Another exception to the Weber law is the refurbishment or rebuilding of old hotels. When converted into apartments some of the apartments may have second home status without any rental obligation. The old hotel Du Glacier in Saas Fee has been refurbished as the Residence du Glacier and the new owners are free to keep it for their exclusive use or rent it if they wish.
Which new properties can foreigners buy in Switzerland?
Building permits are now being given to developers to build new apartments provided they have a rental obligation. Some are in developments which offer hotel style services and facilities such as a spa, a reception and concierge services such as these in Saas Fee and Grimentz. Others are in smaller residential buildings which do not have any special facilities but are classified as “tourist” residences.
What does a “rental obligation” mean?
A note is made in the land register that the property must be rented but the rules and restrictions are becoming much more flexible. Some of the latest developments allow unlimited use by the owner provided that when they are not using their apartment it is made available for rental like this one in St Luc. Even chalets may be included in these rental programmes.
What are the advantages of buying a property which has a rental management programme?
An increasing proportion of buyers like to rent their property when they are not using it. Foreigners, particularly if they have children know well in advance when they want to use their property so it makes economic sense to rent it when they cannot go. If the rental is arranged by a professional company, it will be trouble-free and the property will be well maintained. Owners also appreciate having the facilities such as swimming pool, and sauna, and services such as cleaning, and laundry as this allows them to enjoy their family holiday to the full.