Do you love the Swiss mountains or Ticino and would like a holiday apartment as a second home? Find out what you need to consider from a legal perspective for a second home and what you can do to avoid it standing empty.
Holiday homes in Switzerland have been highly sought-after since the pandemic. Remote working and days spent working from home allow people to do the previously unimaginable: work where they normally go on holiday. However, a holiday home not only facilitates long weekends and extended holidays, but can also generate a lucrative, passive income, depending on the season.
But before embarking upon this undertaking, there are some important things to consider, especially with regard to legal aspects. Firstly, what exactly is a second home? A second home is one that is used alongside your primary residence. It can therefore be a holiday home, an apartment for professional purposes or one for family members.
The second home initiative is an important factor when buying a second home in Switzerland. This was adopted following a referendum in 2012 and regulates the construction of second homes in particular. In municipalities where the proportion of second homes is more than 20%, permits for new-builds are only granted if certain criteria are met. For example, the apartments must be used as starter home or homes used for tourist purposes.
This initiative is intended to avoid so-called ‘cold beds’ and give tourists a wider choice of accommodation in popular regions. Which is why it is also worth temporarily renting them to third parties, because you can generate considerable additional income, depending on the season.
Supply and demand for second homes is another important issue. Demand for second homes in Switzerland has risen dramatically in recent years, resulting in limited supply and higher prices.
In addition, it is important to be aware of the regulations for Swiss and foreign nationals with regard to ‘Lex Koller’. Lex Koller is a Swiss federal law which states that foreigners may only buy property as a second home in certain cantons under certain conditions. Our Engel & Völkers Lex Koller guide provides more information about this.
Despite the generally very strong demand for second homes, this is closely linked to popular tourist spots. Currently, it is mainly popular holiday regions such as the Bernese Oberland, Grisons, Central Switzerland and Ticino that are particularly sought-after.
The property experts at Engel & Völkers understand the market and know exactly how to help you find your dream property. We can help you to both buy a second or holiday home and organise its possible rental. The best course of action is to get in touch with your nearest Engel & Völkers shop. We look forward to helping you with your project.