Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Here's a Cunning Plan; Buying a New Home in Switzerland Has Become More Difficult but There Are Ways around the System, Says Cathy Hawker

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Here's a Cunning Plan; Buying a New Home in Switzerland Has Become More Difficult but There Are Ways around the System, Says Cathy Hawker

Article excerpt

AVINTAGE winter season is drawing to a close in the Alps, where clever property investors know that a wellchosen location among Swiss lakes and mountains can offer year-round rewards. But buying a home in Switzerland has become more difficult. New laws restrict the construction of second homes, to avoid property lying empty for part of the year. The lack of supply is starting to bite.

One solution is adding flats to hotels. This re-classifies them as investment properties that can be bought as holiday homes. To qualify, flats must have on-site facilities and professional rental management. Owners must rent homes out for part of the year but this is not a problem for modern-day buyers, says Simon Malster of Investors in Property. "Buyers like to see their property working for them, not lying empty."

HARD ROCK HOMES One of the first projects under these new rules is Residences at Hard Rock Hotel Davos, in eastern Switzerland. Rebranded in December after an extensive refurbishment, it is in the middle of Davos and has 79 rooms, a 10,760sq ft spa about to open, plus a restaurant and bar.

Typical Hard Rock memorabilia on display includes Bruce Springsteen's guitar and Jimi Hendrix's jacket. Residences for sale include one- to three-bedroom apartments priced from PS551,500 through Investors in Property. These are hugely attractive, fully furnished homes with Crittalstyle mirrored walls, large bathrooms and contemporary kitchens. Owners can use their homes for up to eight weeks a year with rental yields estimated at three per cent net.

Best known for the annual World Economic Forum, for the rest of the year Davos is a thriving mountain town two-and-a-half hours from Zurich with good mixed-ability skiing at high altitude, including a link to upmarket Klosters. "Davos is a sporty town," says Malster. "It has an 18-hole golf course and five more within one hour. It has good infrastructure with year-round business, leisure and cultural events, something that appeals to buyers and renters."

STAR STYLE IN ST MORITZ In eastern Switzerland, St Moritz is the priciest of ski resorts with a stellar reputation among the international jet set. …

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