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Switzerland snubs tougher rules on foreign property ownership

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Switzerland snubs tougher rules on foreign property ownership
File photo: Depositphotos
19:08 CEST+02:00
The Swiss government on Wednesday said it would not push ahead with proposed legal changes that would have placed tighter controls on foreigners owning property in Switzerland.

The Swiss federal act on acquisition of real estate by persons abroad, popularly known as the Lex Koller, places certain restrictions on foreigners buying property in Switzerland.

The rules state, for example, that foreigners must apply for cantonal authorisation when purchasing holiday homes.

Read also: Fewer foreigners buy Swiss holiday homes

In early 2017, the Swiss government proposed changes that would have made it more difficult to foreigners to buy both property and blocks of land in Switzerland.

The proposals also envisaged tighter restrictions on the purchase of commercial property and on investment in real estate firms as a way to close loopholes in the current legislative framework.

Supporters of the changes had argued foreign investors were pushing up property prices and rents in Switzerland.

But opponents said the restrictions would harm the country's economic growth. They also argued population growth and a desire for more square metres were pushing up prices, and not foreign investors.

After a consultation process, the Swiss government has said there is no need for further action at this time. It will, however, look at the possible limits on foreign investment in Swiss firms in specific circumstances.

Read also: Here's why Swiss rents are so painfully high right now

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