Q&A with property expert Toni Enderli
South Africans can now buy property in Switzerland. Why couldn’t we before?
Switzerland has strict restrictions for foreigners buying property, so depending on your background, your options were limited in that you could only buy property in Switzerland if you were an EU or EFTA national with a Swiss residence permit or if you lived in Switzerland.
Now, at Andermatt Swiss Alps, South Africans seeking to diversify their investment portfolios can buy property in Switzerland for the first time, with significant tax incentives, highly attractive tax returns and with very little red tape. The process to own property can take as quick as one week to conclude.
What makes the ski resort Andermatt different? Why is it so attractive to SA investors?
Andermatt is one of the world’s most sought-after, affordable, safe and secure, year-round property investment destinations. The development is exempt from regulations restricting foreign investors from buying property in Switzerland and buyers also benefit from attractively low tax rates. The Swiss government has declared Andermatt exempt from restrictive property acquisition laws. In addition, all Andermatt’s apartments are exempt from the Swiss Second Home Law, which limits the construction of second homes to 20% of the number of homes in a village.
Other attractions include one of Europe’s best ski and hiking facilities, a championship 18-hole golf course, a fitness and wellness centre, mountain biking, top quality restaurants and luxury hotels, apartment buildings, chalets and shopping facilities. The village centre is a car-free zone, contributing to a harmonious community environment.
How does investing in Andermatt compare to investing in comparative property in SA. Surely it’s much more expensive over there?
Pricing in Andermatt is on par with certain property on Cape Town’s Atlantic seaboard and at the V&A Waterfront. The resort offers full turn-key investments in one-bedroom apartments from around R5-million, all fully managed and serviced by the Radisson Blu group with a guaranteed net 3% annual return. Luxury chalets start from about R90-million, similar to the cost of some luxury apartments in the Waterfront. The apartments range from studio to five bedrooms. The majority are one or two-bedroom units in a variety of sizes while several of the larger units are maisonettes.
How can a SA investor, thousands of kilometres away, be sure the investment is secure and that the property will not be damaged or abused?
The resort offers comprehensive turn-key investments, fully managed and serviced by the Radisson Blu group. Owners are recommended to rent out their apartments to generate an income and great returns. Andermatt takes care of and services the property while owners are away.
What is the future of the SA property market – does the current land policy uncertainty mean we shouldn’t invest here until there’s more clarity?
Diversifying mitigates risk and is a common practice the world over. This is why Americans, Europeans and others are flocking to Andermatt. In an unstable global economy, Switzerland is a popular safe-haven for investors due to its political neutrality, policy stability, strong currency and low levels of inflation and unemployment. South Africans can now invest in this stable year-round destination for the first time, easily. It’s a great legacy investment for families as there are no death duties. Andermatt provides property opportunities for both high end and middle class investors and the process from signing to name change can take as little as one week to complete.