How the Swiss Have Become Major Players in the Overseas Property Market

Home  /  How the Swiss Have Become Major Players in the Overseas Property Market


How the Swiss Have Become Major Players in the Overseas Property Market

April 04, 2016

 There’s a new buyer in town – the Swiss are increasingly emerging as major players in the overseas property market. If you are looking to sell your overseas property in Spain or elsewhere in Europe, you should seriously consider marketing the property to Swiss investors.

There are many reasons for this. The Swiss franc has risen in value by a lot over the last 12 months.  It is now one of the best performing currencies in the world today. The Swiss franc began its ascent ever since the Swiss central bank announced an end to the currency cap that has been in place against the Euro for over three years.

The Swiss franc has risen in value by 30% against the Euro and by 25% against the USD. So what this has done is to increase the buying power of most Swiss investors. The Swiss are certainly taking advantage of the opportunity.

According to LCP, a real estate investment fund based in London, "Swiss investors taking the opportunity to capitalize on this windfall and hedge against increasing global uncertainty in the equity and bond markets are turning their attention to blue-chip tangible assets." 

Another reason for Swiss investors to look to buy properties abroad is that Switzerland has one of the most expensive property markets in Europe. Let’s look at the facts – an average family in Switzerland has the capacity to spend 750,000 Swiss francs on an apartment in the country. But an average apartment in Switzerland costs over 850,000 Swiss francs.

So where are the Swiss buying properties? They are buying a lot of properties in France. France is a neighbouring nation which has historical ties with Switzerland that dates back to hundreds of years. Properties in the French Alps cost a lot less than those in Swiss Alps, but really, there’s little to differentiate the Swiss Alps from the French Alps. So buying a ski chalet in the French Alps makes a lot of sense for Swiss buyers.

The Swiss are also known to invest in Spain. Barcelona is a very popular city with Swiss investors – it is a very sophisticated, global city with a high standard of living. Madrid is popular too, although property prices in Madrid are higher than those in Barcelona. Swiss investors in Spain generally buy high value properties; those cost at least $1 million.  This makes them different from the buyers of Spanish properties from, say, Britain or Sweden.

While Greece may be in a financial crisis, Greek Islands such as Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos and Samos are very popular with Swiss investors. They are largely insulated from what’s happening in the rest of Greece. There are a plenty of excellent bargains to be had in the Greek Islands – for example, a mansion that bought for $25 million in Rhodes in 2007, today costs $5 million.

Other countries that Swiss buyers have shown a lot of interest in are Italy and Portugal. The Swiss share a very romantic view of Italy – they love Italy for its fast cars, beautiful people, great food and beautiful villages. Properties in Milan and Rome are popular, as are those in Turin and Bologna.

The Swiss love the Algarve in Portugal. The Algarve is in a lot of ways similar to Costa del Sol in Spain. Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world.  Lisbon in particular has a very good reputation among tourists – incidents of mugging and other crimes against tourists are unheard of on Lisbon. The Swiss love Portugal’s tax friendly laws and appreciate that the Portuguese government makes a conscious effort to attract foreign investors to the country.