Real Estate In Switzerland
Do you know that for many years, a foreigner is not allowed to purchase real estate in Switzerland unless he is a citizen of the country? It’s unfortunate for those non-Swiss, because it is a given fact that real estate in Switzerland is a safe long-term investment.
Not much has changed over the years. Foreigners who wish to buy real estate in Switzerland can’t simply wave bills in the air and get the rights to the property. While the law may have bended a little, there are still a lot of don’ts with regards to buying Swiss properties.
Even of the cantons (states) allow foreigners to purchase real estate in Switzerland, there are still a lot of restrictions governing such transactions. For one, non-Swiss without residency permits are not allowed to buy any property at all. This is under the restriction known as Lex Friedrich. Another rule states that foreigners can only acquire properties in certain parts of the country, that is, places except Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich, and Zug.
If you insist on a property in one of those areas, your only option is to rent an apartment. This can be done even without any special permits, but it restricts you to stay in it for 3 months continuous at a time, and forbids you to reside there for over 6 months.
There are some types of real estate in Switzerland that a foreigner is allowed to buy. A Propriete Par Etage (PPE) or ownership by floor, or condominiums, as most of us call it. Buying one means owning your very own apartment, your own garage, your own cellar, and sharing some parts of the building with the other tenants. On top of the purchase price, you are also required to pay annual charges needed for building maintenance.
Another real estate in Switzerland that foreigners can avail of are the time-share apartments or apparthotels. These are apartments located in a building that is both a hotel and residential housing. The foreigner who purchases such type would have to allow the manager of the hotel to rent it out to guests in your absence. This system is not highly advisable to engage in as it is too much of a hassle.
Even if the prices of real estate in Switzerland are lower right now than they were a couple of years back, they are still not dirt cheap. However, since all buildings in Switzerland are built to weather several generations, you are always assured of a good investment.