Buying Property in Switzerland: A Comprehensive Guide

Switzerland offers a unique blend of picturesque landscapes and a robust real estate market. Whether you’re a local or a foreigner, understanding the nuances of the Swiss property market can be beneficial. This guide provides insights into residential, commercial, and tourist properties in Switzerland.

Property prices in Switzerland. Reasons for the high demand.

Understanding the Basics of Residential Properties

Before diving into the Swiss property market, it’s crucial to grasp the legalities of buying and registering a property. Additionally, being aware of the associated costs can be beneficial for potential buyers.

Key Steps in the Buying Process

  1. Initial Agreement & Deposit: Begin with an intent-to-purchase agreement and place a security deposit, typically between CHF 40,000 to CHF 60,000.
  2. Escrow Account Transfer: Transfer funds to a local notary’s escrow account. Never pay the seller directly to avoid scams.
  3. Final Sale Agreement: Sign the final agreement in front of a local notary. An extra witness is required.
  4. Ownership Registration: Update the property’s owner register.

The entire process can span three months, depending on the property’s location. Foreign buyers need a special permit or quota. If you’re using a Swiss bank for financing, add two to three weeks for notarial pledge execution. Only payments from a personal Swiss bank account or a Liechtenstein bank are accepted, with a maximum limit of 80% of the total cost.

Breakdown of Costs & Taxes

  • Property Tax: Varies between 1% to 3.3% based on the canton.
  • Notary Fees: These can be a percentage of the sale, fixed, or combined. On average, they’re about 1%.
  • Cadastral Registry Fee: Costs about 0.1%-0.5% of the purchase price. Foreigners also pay for a property purchase permit in Switzerland.

Buying Property as a Foreigner

The Swiss housing market can seem complex due to varying costs, rules on foreign ownership, and the mortgage system. Here’s a simplified guide:

Who Can Buy?

  • EU or EFTA citizens with a Swiss residence permit living in Switzerland.
  • Holders of a Swiss Type C residence permit.

These individuals can buy any property type in Switzerland. Those with a Swiss Type B permit can only buy residential properties. Some, like foreign non-residents or those without a Swiss work permit, might need a purchase license. The criteria for this license differ by canton, but preference is usually given to those who’ve lived in the canton for over five years.

Commercial and Tourist Properties

Commercial Properties

For foreigners interested in commercial real estate, Switzerland offers a hassle-free experience. There are no restrictions, allowing any foreigner to invest in non-residential properties.

Tourist Properties

Buying a tourist property, such as a holiday home, is also straightforward. These properties should be situated in Switzerland’s tourist regions. Notably, foreigners are permitted to buy properties in ski resorts located in cantons like Bern, Graubünden, Obwalden, Uri, Vaud, and Valais.

Property Prices in Switzerland (2023)

CityAverage Price per sq.m (in CHF)
Swiss AverageCHF 10,324.43
GenevaCHF 16,100
ZurichCHF 16,300
BernCHF 10,898.52
BaselCHF 8,000
LausanneCHF 14,600

Finding Properties in Switzerland

For those looking to explore property listings in Switzerland, is a recommended platform. As an online property search engine, it aggregates listings from major Swiss property portals. With over 100,000 listings available for both rent and purchase, it’s a comprehensive resource for property seekers.


Switzerland’s real estate market offers a plethora of opportunities for both residents and foreigners. Whether you’re looking for a residential home, a commercial space, or a holiday property, Switzerland has something to offer. With platforms like, finding the right property becomes easier. As always, understanding the local regulations and costs associated with property transactions ensures a smooth buying experience.

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