The Covid-19 lockdown has impacted the property market world-wide, but with various countries starting to ease restrictions, buyer activity is picking up again in the Swiss Alps - from UK, France, Belgium and Switzerland in particular. These include new buyers as well as those who had visited a property just before lockdown and are now keen to get going with their purchase again. We have noticed there is a heavy emphasis on wellbeing and home offices now, and we have had more enquiries from people in big cities such as Zürich looking to establish a secondary residence in the Swiss Alps if they can work from home - a chalet here can be the same price as a modest apartment in the city.
With the Swiss government suggesting they could be opening the borders to France, Germany and Austria from the 15th June, and many businesses in the mountains now open again, we expect this pent-up demand to continue. Although not everybody is able to travel out here just yet, there are still plenty of ways to continue with your property search. Here are my top tips…
Get in touch – we are still working
Even during lockdown, we have been able to give virtual tours, accept offers, negotiate and even exchange and complete on properties using online contracts. Do get in touch to make sure you don’t miss out on our latest properties, top tips and advice. Current guidelines are changing frequently, differing from country to country, so we can help keep you up to date with how you can proceed with an alpine purchase during the current situation.
Our virtual tours have been hugely successful during lockdown, and we are continuing to offer these to buyers. From the comfort of your own home, one of our agents can guide you through the interior of a chalet or apartment as well as around the outside, using your phone through Skype, What’s App, Facetime, or Zoom. We can also answer any questions on the tour and e-mail across a selection of photographs to help you get a better feel for the property.
Research locations you’re interested in
Spend some quality time getting to know the areas you are interested in to ensure you are purchasing in the right resort for you. There is a wealth of information online which is really useful at a time when travelling isn’t possible for everyone, or advised. For those who can visit in the near future, the Summer season is an ideal time to have a good look around and see where can offer a superb place in the sunshine. Resorts such as Crans Montana, Nendaz and Verbier offer a variety of fun for the whole family to enjoy, to include walking, cycling, watersports and children’s activities – not to mention offering amazing gastronomy, stunning scenery and panoramic mountain views too. Buying in a dual season resort has become more and more popular over recent years, having a positive influence on property value as well as rental income, so it’s definitely an aspect to consider.
Consider lesser-known resorts
Property prices in the Swiss Alps vary considerably, even when they are close to each other. It’s therefore worth considering resorts outside of your favourites for ‘more value for money’ options. For example, with an average budget of CHF 1.5m you could buy you a two-bed apartment in Verbier, but in nearby Nendaz which is linked to the same ski area, this could buy you a 3-bed chalet, or a 4-bed in Veysonnaz. On the other side of the valley, Crans-Montana is a great alternative if Verbier is beyond your budget, growing in popularity over the last couple of years, whilst other hidden gems include Anzère or Champex-Lac and are popular with those seeking a bit more of an escapism.
Start the mortgage process
You need to organise a mortgage for purchasing a property in the Swiss Alps – but don’t leave it to the last minute. It’s important to actually start this process at the very beginning of your search. Swiss lenders look into all of your outgoings at home as well as the proposed Swiss mortgage payments, so make sure you have all of those to hand. Also bear in mind that you will most likely need a 20-30% deposit.
The coronavirus knows no boundaries… it has been a tragedy of the likes we have never seen, nor wish to ever see again. As the lock-downs start to ease, we hope it is possible that those who wish to return to the Alps again can do so safely. We know the Swiss Alps are becoming an ever more popular summer destination, and this will no doubt increase. Why sit on a crowded beach when you have vast spaces, clean air, lots of sunshine and beautiful scenery?
If you’d like to discuss any of the above, or about your general alpine home search, please do not hesitate to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org or + 41 (0)78 810 8182.