Good news for owners of second homes in Switzerland. As the Lex Weber project progresses through the two houses of parliament, it seems existing owners of second homes will benefit most from the law.
Until 2012, there was a building boom in swiss mountain resorts. High quality construction, good prices available compared to top French resorts and the opportunity to invest in a Swiss asset was attracting many buyers to Switzerland. Then, as you’ll recall, in 2012 a referendum mandated the swiss government to write a law with the objective of limiting the percentage of second homes in any commune to 20%. The project was described as creating more “warm beds”; beds permanently lived in or used for the tourist industry. This referendum immediately had an impact on the construction industry in tourist resorts as new building permits dried up.
The referendum text wasn’t very clear on what voters were voting for and, in the two years that followed, the committee process of the swiss government worked to reach a compromise law, with rumours of big divides between the parties. This has had a significant impact on the market for existing properties. No one was quite sure if an existing second home could be sold to a new owner as a second home, or if the new owner would be forced to move in, or (horror!) rent it out as a tourist property.
Finally, a draft text has had a first set of amendments from each of the two houses of parliament. Most importantly, both houses reaffirmed the right of properties that were built before the law was passed to be sold as second homes, and both houses did this by large margins. With no new second homes being built, and property rights clarified, this is very good news for the resale property market in regions like La Tzoumaz.
The process isn’t yet 100% over, and the next parliamentary debate is not until December. The green party is threatening to call a 2nd referendum. To do this they would have 3 months to gather 50,000 signatures once the law has come out of parliament. However, step by step we’re getting closer to the final law, and it’s the existing second home owners who will benefit most.