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Swiss Buyers' Info

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Property Types in Switzerland

What restrictions are there for property buyers at a regional/local level in Switzerland?

Each of the 26 Cantons (member states of the Swiss Confederation) has its own constitution, legislature, government and courts, so it should come as no surprise that each canton has different rules on the purchase of property for foreigners. These even vary from one commune to another within the same canton.
 
Listed below are the all the major Swiss ski resorts where foreigners may buy in Switzerland and the restrictions which apply.
 

Buying a Ski Property in Canton Berne


Foreigners are permitted to buy property in Canton Berne in the famous resort of Gstaad, and in the popular traditional ski resorts such as Wengen and Grindelwald in the picturesque Jungfrau Region.

Foreigners may resell at any time (although they will pay a higher capital gains tax rate if they sell within 5 years).

Occasionally properties for foreigners come on the market in the less known resorts such as Adelboden, and Meiringen and even on the lake in Interlaken, Brienz and Unterseen. There is a Cantonal rule that only 50% of apartments in any building may be sold to foreigners but that still leaves plenty of choice in most resorts. The communes apply other restrictions:

Grindelwald allows foreigners to purchase chalets or apartments but only over a threshold value of 750.000 Sfrs (so that cheaper properties are available only for locals).

Wengen and Lauterbrunnen do not have a minimum purchase price but foreigners may only buy apartments, they are not permitted to buy detached chalets. There is a good choice of properties available in Wengen but they sell quickly as this is one of our best sellers so check our Wengen stock frequently.

Mürren is open for foreigners but you simply will not get your hands on a chalet or apartment here as most are passed down through the generations. When they do come up on the open market (which is rarely) they are snapped up by locals. We have been selling ski properties in the Jungfrau region for 30 years and have never listed a property in Mürren!

Gstaad has many foreign owners and some chose to make it their primary residence and tax base and to semi-retire here.

Interlaken and other communes around the lake have given permission for some properties to be sold to foreigners.
 


Buying a Ski Property in Canton Graubünden


Home to the glitzy resorts of Davos, Klosters and St. Moritz, Canton Graubünden is one of the trickier Cantons in which to purchase a ski property.

There are very few opportunities for foreigners to buy in the St. Moritz area but Klosters decided in 2018 to allow foreigners to buy so contact us for availability in this premier resort.

All the other resorts in Graubünden such as Davos, Lenzerheide, Arosa Laax and Flims have some properties for foreigners but again they are rare. Generally it is much easier for foreigners to buy in Western Switzerland (Valais) than in Eastern Switzerland. 

 

Buying a Ski Property in Canton Obwalden


Engelberg is the only major ski resort in Obwalden and although foreigners are permitted to buy there are few properties on the market.
 


Buying a Ski Property in Canton Uri


The redevelopment of Andermatt is such a major project that the Federal government gave it a special exemption from the permit system. Foreigners are permitted to buy in the Andermatt resort and are even allowed to buy in a company name (Swiss or foreign) - that is not permitted in the rest of Switzerland. Andermatt is a huge success story. There is range of new build property from studios starting at 300,000 sfrs to chalets for several million francs so take a look.  

 

Buying a Ski Property in Canton Valais


Valais is home to most of the well-established Swiss ski resorts, especially those visited by foreign buyers and takes up to 330 of the annual quota of permits for foreign buyers.

Among the best known resorts in Valais are Zermatt, Verbier, Nendaz, Crans Montana, Grimentz, and Saas Fee and foreigners can buy freely in all of them except in Zermatt.

Zermatt is entirely off limits to foreign buyers. The are no exceptions or ways around it. Swiss nationals and foreigners who are resident in Switzerland (having a B or C residence permit and who are nationals of an EU country) may buy in Zermatt but some properties are reserved only for “locals” who are residing and paying their taxes in in Zermatt.

Saas Fee is open to foreigners. It is a good alternative to Zermatt as it is also a high-altitude attractive village with glacier skiing. Prices are about a third of what you would pay in Zermatt and we have a good range of apartments and chalets.

Verbier and the 4 Vallees Resorts – La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Les Collons and Veysonnaz – are fairly open to foreign buyers with permits available to foreigners for both new and resale apartments and chalets.

Grimentz, St. Luc and Zinal in the Val d’Anniviers have permits for foreigners but most opportunities are in Grimentz where we still have some new build second home chalets and apartments.

Champery and Les Crosets are Swiss resorts in the Portes du Soleil ski area which straddles both France and Switzerland and foreigners may buy.

Leukerbad has a unique offering of thermal spa waters and skiing and is open to foreigners.

Crans-Montana has apartments and luxury chalets for foreigners and is good choice for a second home, as it is sunny and even has a golf course.

A Cantonal rule applying to all the resorts in Valais prohibits foreigners from selling their property within 5 years of buying. There are exemptions if you can prove ill-health or financial problems you may resell provided that you do not make a profit.

 

Buying a Ski Property in Canton Vaud


Canton Vaud has relatively few restrictions on property purchase for foreigners and there is a varied range of properties available.

Villars is the best known of the resorts and many foreigners have bought there as it is just 90 minutes from Geneva and is a pleasant all year round resort.
 
Chateau d’Oex and Rougemont are close to Gstaad but it is easier and cheaper to buy in these resorts than in their more famous neighbour.