Posted on 07 September 2011
Chamonix, home to Mont Blanc — Europe’s tallest mountain — has long been a favourite with Swiss tourists and property buyers. The French ski resort, just an hour from the Swiss border is particularly attractive to Genevans, who have flocked to the resort for generations, despite having dozens of top ski resorts back home.
According to some property agents in the town, enquiries from Swiss buyers have trebled in recent months, as the Swiss franc rides high against the Euro, the Swiss can get more for their money in Chamonix. Other agents are insisting that demand has been strong all year.
“We’ve definitely seen a big rise in the number of Swiss coming to look for chalets,” said Catherine Thomas of Agence Immobilière Moderne.
According to other reports, it is not just real estate that is luring the Swiss, as well as selling homes and buying across the border, they are also selling their cars and buying those in Europe as well. Meanwhile foreigners are ever-keen to invest in the safe-haven of Switzerland as a hedge against devaluing cash.
According to Sebastien Galy, senior FX strategist at Société Générale, the trend will further intensify in light of the Swiss National Bank’s aggressive monetary policy and negative interest rate regime.
“Rather than discouraging money coming into Switzerland, negative rates might discourage deposits instead, with people searching out tangible assets as an alternative,”said Galy. “Foreigners will be trying to buy more assets in Switzerland to be safe, while Swiss companies [and individuals] will want to buy assets abroad,” he said.