The magic of Swiss villages: buy a second home in a well-connected Alpine resort

Buy a second home in a well-connected Alpine resort.
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British skiers in Switzerland generally keep close to Geneva and its French-speaking resorts such as Verbier — but don’t ignore the Alpine resorts around well-connected Zurich. 

Graubünden in south-east Switzerland has glitzy resorts including St Moritz and Davos, but also lesser stellar names. A new cable car linking Arosa with Lenzerheide created Switzerland’s fourth largest ski area last winter, with 140 miles of sunny slopes. This is where tennis ace Roger Federer has his family ski chalet. 
From £448,000: one- to four-bedroom flats at Arosa Haus Ratia, close to the ski lifts in Graubünden. Call 020 8905 5511 

New flats at Arosa Haus Ratia, three low-level buildings in the village centre close to the ski lifts start from £448,000 for one to four bedrooms through Investors in Property. These comfortable, well-built homes have open-plan layouts and sleek white kitchens. 

Tailored deals 
Travel company Powder Byrne is selling Chesa Araus, nine two- and three-bedroom flats between two of Arosa’s lakes. The thoughtfully designed homes of up to 1,356sq ft start from £646,000 and include good storage, communal gym, sauna and steam rooms. Powder Byrne will organise every part of the buying process and also rentals for time-strapped owners.
A Swiss Celebrity 
Lenzerheide and its outlying villages are better known than Arosa and property prices are higher. Newly completed Haus Corona in the centre of Lenzerheide has 20 two- to five-bedroom apartments — 12 are sold — priced from £831,300 through Investors in Property. These are cosy, well-built homes with fireplaces, good storage, chalet-style wooden beams and fabulous Corian kitchen worktops. 

Alpine Design
At the top of Laax among the trees, Hohegarten Residence is one of the most striking and intriguing projects in the Alps. Eighty new flats spill gradually down the mountainside, all hidden from each other. Owners look out over their neighbours’ green roofs, snow-covered in winter. One- to three-bedroom apartments start from £341,000 through Investors in Property.

* Investors in Property: (020 8905 5511)
* Powder Byrne: powderbyrne (020 8246 5306) 
Cameron and Matt Alexander own a two-bedroom flat at Hohegarten in Laax

It's great for families
Cameron and Matt Alexander live and work in Zurich. Two years ago they bought a two-bedroom apartment at Hohegarten in the ski resort of Laax, where they spend weekends and holidays year round with children Poppy, three, and Felix, two.

“We wanted to be within 90 minutes of Zurich on easy roads. We are five minutes from the centre but right up in the trees with deer outside the window. There are slopes in front and good walks behind,” says Cameron. “The Swiss love Laax but it is not known in the UK. It has a cool snowboarding vibe and is great for families with excellent children’s day care.” Cameron runs Laax Treetops property rentals and says demand in the year-round resort is strong.

* alps-rentals
From £341,000: Hohegarten Residence apartments, Laax. Call 020 8905 5511
Permission to buy is highly priced 
Switzerland only issues 1,400 permits each year for non-residents wishing to buy property. These permits are divided between all 26 cantons, or regions, which each have their own rules on who can and cannot own property. Generally it is easier to buy in the south west, including Valais, Vaud and Bernese Oberland, while the town of Zermatt has never allowed non-resident foreigners to buy.

Non-Swiss buyers can only buy in tourist developments. They can own only a single property at any one time and it must be no larger than 2,150sq ft. Some cantons restrict foreigners from reselling their property within a certain time limit, generally five to 10 years.

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