Switzerland to limit property purchases by foreigners
Friday, 10 March 2017

The Swiss government has announced plans to tighten the acquisition of property by citizens from countries outside Europe.

Under the draft bill, buying property in Switzerland for people living outside the European Union or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) could become subject to approval by the authorities.

The reform is aimed at closing loopholes in the current legislation and reducing the administrative burden for the local authorities, according to a statement by the justice ministry.

Non-EU or EFTA foreigners would have to sell their apartments if they leave Switzerland to live elsewhere.

However, members of building associations would remain exempt from the legal restrictions.

The government also might introduce a formal application for the purchase of business property, a step that was lifted 20 years ago.

Parliament 

The move comes after parliament in 2014 decided to maintain restrictions on the purchase of Swiss property for foreign residents amid global financial worries and signs of a ‘property bubble’.

About ten years ago, the government mooted proposals to lift the restrictions, which date back to 1985.

The ministry on Friday sent a draft bill for consultation among political parties, cantons, municipalities and other institutions.

In a first reaction, a real estate lobbying group criticised the government proposal as “nonsensical”, saying restrictions would exacerbate the situation on the housing market.

 



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