Switzerland Property News

Soaring demand from wealthy international buyers pushes Gstaad to record price levels

Exclusive ski properties in the winter sports resort of Gstaad, in the Swiss Bernese Oberland, are benefiting from a lack of supply as rich overseas buyers try to move in, pushing prices up to a record high of CHF60,000 or ?49,200 per sqm.

Antonia Crespí, office manager at agency Engel & Völkers in Gstaad, told OPP this week that “the market - especially in desirable areas such as Oberbort - is being impacted by a distinct lack of available properties."

The Gstaad ski area “is one of the most exclusive on earth,” adds Engel & Völkers. “The traditional chalet village has been left virtually unscathed by the international economic and financial crisis.”

In fact, there has very little “activity on the market,” Crespi told OPP, “because 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."

For “exclusive chalets with very high-quality appointments in prime locations,” E & V Gstaad told OPP this week that it is “registering prices of between CHF15 million (?12.3 million) and CHF40 million CHF (?32.8 million.)”

And, “at top addresses in the Alpine village, the high excess demand is leading to new record price tags of up to CHF60,000 CHF (?49,200) per sqm.”

The average time-to-market for second homes in good and very good locations is currently six to 12 months, says Crespi, but this can shorten to “just a few days” for the most prestigious addresses at present. Prices in the surrounding districts of Wispile, Gruben, Bissen and the surrounding municipalities of Schönried, Saanen Unterbort, Saanen and Rougemont are also hitting very high level at the moment reports E & V Gstaad. “As much as CHF25,000 (?20,500) per sqm can be reached for freehold apartments here. Authentic farmhouses in the surrounding region with potential for development are also doing well but are only very rarely on the market.”
Also, because the Gstaad area is very popular in summer for lakes and mountains, and Alpine walking holidays, the area has an “all year-round season,’ which appeals to top-end overseas property investors.

“The market is traditionally dominated by international buyers, primarily from Greece, Italy, Spain and Belgium,” says Crespi. “Engel & Völkers Gstaad has however also registered a significant increase in enquiries from Swiss nationals, Germans, Austrians, British citizens and Monacans.”
“Many of our clients are not originally from EU states, coming from countries such as Iran but having their main place of residence in Europe. Some already own a holiday residence on the Côte d’Azur or another second home market in southern Europe and are looking to invest in another stable property in a sought-after ski resort ... a real trophy property.”