Switzerland: Gstaad

02.1_CHALET IN GSTAAD (26)High up in the Bernese Highlands of Switzerland lies the exclusive resort of Gstaad, the village synonymous in many people’s minds with glamour, grandeur and glitterati. As one of the world’s top luxury destinations, property prices here were barely affected by the financial crisis, and the real estate market continues to be one of the most stable in the world.

Situated at an altitude of 1050m, the many ex-pat residents are attracted by the old world beauty of the village, the luxury facilities, welcoming community and relatively mild climate. It was famously branded “The Place” by Time magazine in the 1960s due to its popularity with celebrities and aristocrats, and it’s lost none of its charm in the intervening years.

Gstaad is first and foremost a skiing destination, boasting over 220km of pistes, a glacial ski area, and the world’s highest bobsleigh track. That’s far from its only selling point though, with half of Gstaad’s visitors now arriving outside the October-May ski season to enjoy 50 km of stunning hiking trails that are becoming almost as popular as the winter sports. Designer shopping on the picturesque promenade is another established attraction, and the village is known for the quality of its spa facilities, offering traditional and Alpine treatments.

Gstaad may have fewer than 12,000 inhabitants, but it hosts more than 1000 cultural and sporting events, including the Swiss Open tennis tournament and the Menuhin Festival of Classical Music. There’s also an annual gourmet festival in July and over 100 restaurants serving international and traditional Swiss food, making sure that this tiny village caters to all kinds of tastes and preferences.

The authenticity of the Alpine village has been beautifully preserved thanks to the tight building regulations that guard it from over-development. Only timber built houses and panelling are permitted, in keeping with local style guidelines, and the numbers of new chalets are severely restricted. This only helps to make the area more desirable to the many interested buyers, ensuring that properties on the market are invariably quickly snapped up.

The comfort and security that comes from years of stability has seen the value of property continue to rise steadily, ignoring fluctuations in the wider market. According to Antonia Crespí, Office Manager at Engel & Völkers, the financial crisis barely made an impact. “Overall there was a little less activity on the market, as the majority of those who own prestigious second homes are not placed in a position where they are forced to sell their properties, even during turbulent times on the capital markets. Rather, they’re interested in holding on to their real estate as a stable asset.”

The current trend prioritising crisis-proof investments has further boosted the property values in this timeless Alpine village, with the best addresses now commanding prices of up to 60,000 CHF, approximately 49,200 euros, per square metre.

If you’re hoping to invest in this highly-sought after market, there’s no-one better than Engel & Völkers to help you along the way. As one of our most favoured second-home destinations, we’ve got years of experience helping clients negotiate successful purchases, and you’re guaranteed friendly and reliable advice throughout the process. For more information and to see some of our currently available properties, visit our Gstaad website.

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