News: Ski investors hail Swiss changes

Wed, 31 Oct 07

Legislative changes are set to make it easier for investors to buy property in Switzerland...

Not since Valencia gained the boost of having the European Grand Prix awarded to it from 2008 to 2014 has a property market had such a boost from Formula One. All eyes are on Switzerland as Lewis Hamilton's move to the Alpine country opens the prospect of increasing interest in the investments available on the pistes.

Hamilton, of course, is leaving in part to escape the media clamour, leaving his home town of Stevenage to find peace and tranquility among the mountains.

He is not alone in his sport in seeking a Swiss hideaway, as the Times has pointed out, noting that Kimmi Raikkonen, the man who pipped Hamilton to the title, seven times former champion Michael Schumacher and the boss of the sport, Bernie Ecclestone, all have homes in the country.

Possible ski destination

But it is not just the rich and famous who can invest in such places. For property investors a key legislative change is said to be about to take place, reports homesworldwide.co.uk. The Swiss government is expected to approve legislation easing restrictions on what property foreigners can own and where. The site adds that what new rules will replace them is unknown, but this will make the situation worth watching.

Like Schumacher, Hamilton is buying a home near Geneva, where the lake will be close and the mountains a towering vista in the distance, but investors looking at changes in the law will be keen to see how this helps them when it comes to Alpine ski property.

Simon Malster, managing director of overseas property specialists Investorsinproperty.com, stated that Switzerland is well worth looking at as a ski property destination as an alternative to France.

He said: "For the last four or five years, we have been advising people to not start by looking at France. We generally say to them that they will get more for their money if they look in Switzerland."

Cheaper deals available

Just how much more, he said, was often misunderstood because the prices looked the same in Swiss Francs as they did in Euros across the border. But, he added, the latter currency is worth 1.5 of the former. "Quite often you may be looking at buying a chalet in Switzerland, where your budget may only stretch to an apartment in one of the major resorts in France," he stated.

Of course, France as a whole country may have many other attractions to recommend it as an investment location (such as a coast and wineries), but when it comes to ski resorts and mountainside property, Switzerland is ahead.

Thus those looking to find a good ski investment will have two good reasons to go for Swiss property. Not only may they run into someone famous on a day off, swapping pole position for ski poles, they will be able to find a cheaper deal too.

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