Strong currency. Stable economy. Reliable politics. Switzerland has long been a magnet for wealthy investors. And, in a time in which the COVID-19 pandemic threw markets and daily life into uncertainty, this land of clean lakes, majestic mountains, international schools and world-class quality of life appears to be holding its appeal when it comes to property.
Knight Frank is predicting 3% growth for Geneva across 2021 and Q3 2020 data suggests prime sales remained resilient to pre-pandemic levels.
In fact, Alex Koch de Gooreynd, Swiss Property Partner for Knight Frank, reports an increase in residential transaction levels. “It’s just staggering the number of ‘top top-end’ deals we’ve seen, and also the sheer volume at the lower end of the luxury market. That’s not even taking into account the mainstream market, which has seen similarly robust sales,” he says.
Occasionally, buyers must navigate complex rules on Swiss property purchases. However, these have created a sense of exclusivity and desirability, fuelling Switzerland’s appeal.
Add the lifestyle and working-pattern changes brought about by the pandemic, says Koch de Gooreynd, and that appeal may be greater still.
He recalls that when he started working with clients looking to buy in Switzerland in 2008, most of them were motivated by the country’s lump-sum taxation. Over the years – and particularly because of the pandemic – those priorities have shifted. Now, Koch de Gooreynd says, “around 90% of my clients are coming to Switzerland for the safety, security, health care, and education. The taxes are a factor, of course, but they are now seen as more of a by-product than a primary driver.”
Syed Raza, Managing Director, Global Banking and Credit Solutions Group at Barclays Private Bank, says: “Switzerland’s position at the centre of Europe – but not in the eurozone – combined with the incredible quality of life, make it one of the best places in the world to own a home. For many buyers, the additional hurdles involved in buying a property are certainly worthwhile.”