Prime minister Theresa May and her husband Philip clearly appreciate the peace, beauty and safety of Switzerland enough to holiday there last month, and for many a cautious holiday home buyer it’s the standout country of choice. The solid Swiss national characteristics of dependability, financial integrity and calm stability make a winning combination.
“Switzerland is the cheapest country in continental Europe to borrow money,” says Jeremy Rollason of Savills Alpine Homes. “Its attractiveness to investors post-Brexit has only increased because it is seen as a stable economy and a safe haven to shelter wealth.”
It’s a popular choice for international art and sporting events. Montreux Jazz Festival is 50 this year, and new for 2016 are the extension of the Kunstmuseum art gallery in Basel and Chaplin’s World, a museum in Vevey dedicated to Charlie Chaplin, who was a long-time resident. Ringed by Austria, Germany, France and Italy, Switzerland has 48 mountain peaks above 13,000ft and 1,500 lakes — loved by skiers, bikers, hikers and all fans of the great outdoors.
RELIABLE CASH HAVEN
The value of the Swiss franc is now about 10 per cent higher than for most of the past 12 months but even this doesn’t worry property buyers, says Simon Malster of Investors in Property. “Although sterling now buys less we have found that the number of enquiries for high-end properties in Switzerland has increased since the Brexit vote.
“Clients who have cash are looking for somewhere safe to park their money. A strong currency, low interest rates and a country run with Swiss efficiency are the main strengths.”
In the Alpine resort village of Saas-Fee near the Italian border, Investors in Property has three flats for sale at refurbished Chalet Pyrit. The ski-in-and-out location and the price, from £595,000 for three to five bedrooms, should tempt buyers. The first stage of big plans to extend the ski area opens in December.
At Les Collons, part of the Verbier ski area, Investors in Property has detached resale chalets without the usual huge price tag found locally. Four- and five-bedroom homes start at £675,000, with access to all of Verbier’s 255 miles of ski slopes, in a peaceful resort with good views. Malster calls them “the best-value chalets in Switzerland”.
In Saanen, two hours from Geneva airport, Bicha Residences offers 18 freehold one- to three-bedroom flats being built over the next two years, from £347,000 through Sphere Estates. And in high, snow-sure Grimentz resort, new two- to four-bedroom flats at Chalets d’Adelaide start at £650,000 through Mark Warner Property.