Swiss holiday property market shows signs of recovery

St. Moritz is still the most expensive tourist destination in the whole Alpine region. Keystone

Prices for holiday homes in the Swiss Alps rose slightly in 2017, but are still failing to keep pace with the steadily increasing housing costs in the French and Austrian Alps, according to a UBS Alpine property survey.

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After several years of decline, property prices in Swiss resorts rose by 1% last year compared to 2016, capping “an extended correction phase”, the UBS researchers wrote in the Alpine property focus published on Wednesday.

In Austria and France, vacation home prices climbed 5% and 3% in the same time frame.

Still priciest

But buying a property in the Swiss Alps remains far from cheap.

Engadin/St. Moritz is still the most expensive tourist destination in the whole Alpine region, with property prices estimated to cost on average CHF15,000 ($15,140) per square metre. Gstaad was a close second at CHF14,300 ($14,434) per square metre.

A holiday home with 80 square metres of living space valued under CHF500,000 ($504,000) could only be found in “niche locations” such as Leukerbad or Disentis, according to the report.  

+ Swiss holiday homes are becoming cheaper to buy 

Optimistic outlook

Prices for second homes would continue to rise slightly this year, the UBS researchers predicted. The good economic outlook as well as the weakened Swiss franc is expected to strengthen domestic and foreign demand.

Buy to let

Renting out properties via sharing economy platforms such as AirBnB would be of only modest appeal to landlords, although advertising has soared in recent years.

Rental income was only lucrative in special tourist hotspots, such as Zermatt and during peak winter season and was generally not as rewarding as letting out properties in Swiss cities.

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