How to invest in real estate in Zurich: Expert Opinions & Tips

Zurich is the largest Swiss city. German is most commonly spoken by local residents but communication in English, French and many other languages is also common. The city provides great choices for public transports. The city is multicultural with a large international community, and is home to people from all over the world. Zurich’s old town is one of Europe’s best-preserved, with a lovely atmosphere and great shopping options. It is the home to many international and Swiss companies as well.

Is it a good idea to invest in real estate in Zurich?

Intervention has finally cooled the Swiss property market, after more than a decade of house price growth. The average price of rental apartments fell slightly above 1 percent in 2017, while purchase prices fell by 0.75 percent, according to Swiss National Bank (SNB) figures.
This follows a 16-year period in which house prices rose by a remarkable 80.5 percent, a trend which caused the Swiss National Bank to introduce more stringent lending criteria and to abandon its euro cap in an attempt to reduce the demand of investors.
SNB data show that the average asking price per square meter for the second half of 2017 was CHF 11,800 (€10,100) in Zurich, CHF 11,530 (€9,865) in Geneva and CHF 9,260 (€7,920) in Lausanne.

Can foreigners purchase real estate in Zurich?

Yes, but there are restrictions imposed on where and what foreigners can buy at national, regional, and local level. Foreign property owners may occupy their Zurich property for up to six months per annum.

In Switzerland you can’t buy a property on behalf of a client.

Additionally, while not restricted by law, it is very difficult to borrow from a Swiss bank if you are a citizen of the United States, so unless you can buy without a mortgage, you should consider buying in a French resort as French banks are still going to lend. In Switzerland you would need to apply for a residency permit to love there, work or retire.

Foreigners are only permitted to buy residential property in a tourist location. So you can not buy a property in Geneva, Basel, Zurich, Zug or any of the other cities in Switzerland unless you are Swiss or have a Swiss Residence Permit. In most Swiss ski resorts, foreigners are allowed to purchase chalets and apartments, as they are in tourist areas.

In the ski resorts of Cantons Bern, GraubΓΌnden, Obwalden, Uri, Vaud & Valais, foreigners can buy properties.

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