When may foreign nationals buy property in Switzerland?

Engel & Völkers has developed a Lex Koller legislation guide which provides an initial overview regarding the acquisition of real estate in Switzerland. The current legislation is known as the “Lex Koller” (Koller’s Law). The law was enacted at federal level and thus applies throughout Switzerland; however the individual cantons are responsible for enforcing it. Koller’s Law regulates what prior authorisations foreign buyers must obtain before they can acquire real estate in Switzerland.

Hamburg - What do you have to consider if you want to buy a property in Switzerland as a foreigner? Our guide will show you:

Transactions subject to authorisation

Authorisation is required for single-family dwellings, apartment buildings, condominium units and building land. As a result, these types of real estate cannot be acquired by foreign nationals. Authorisation is required for undeveloped land unless construction of a building for which no authorisation is required is begun within one year. 

Conversely, this means that non-Swiss nationals require no authorisation to acquire any building which is used for permanent business establishment purposes.

Buyers subject to Lex Koller legislation

The law applies to “foreign nationals”. This includes foreign nationals who are resident abroad and foreign nationals resident in Switzerland who are not nationals of either an EU or an EFTA (European Free Trade Association) member state and who do not hold a valid settlement permit.

This means that a remarkably large group of persons do not require authorisation to acquire real estate in Switzerland. This includes Swiss nationals resident in Switzerland or abroad, including those who have dual nationality, EU/EFTA nationals who are legally and actually resident in Switzerland and nationals of other countries who hold type C permits and are actually resident in Switzerland.

Find detailed information in the Lex Koller legislation guide about the authorisation requirement, the scope of validity, about exceptions and the legislation for legal entities. The experts at Engel & Völkers will be happy to help you with advice and practical assistance in real estate matters. Find our Real Estate Agents or Commercial Property Consultants in your region.

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