Posted on 09 June 2012
The Swiss Alpine village of Salins is set to get a brand-new hotel and residence complex, designed to cater to the many skiers who visit the resort each season. Luckily the developer, Jean-Maire Fournier, submitted plans for the development before the recent vote, which has been called a watershed in the country’s environment policy.
The vote was extremely close, but saw the Swiss backed a cap on second homes, and has caused enormous concern over the construction, tourism and property sectors. It means that the number of second homes in any area cannot exceed 20%, so permission to build second homes will not be given in areas where this 20% mark has already been reached.
Locals in Salins are assessing their options as the new law is due to be implemented next year, although some legal experts think it may be 2014 before it comes into force. The plan is to build a new cable car station at the foot of the resort in addition to several residential blocks and hotels. It would create around 1,500 beds, catering to the needs of thousands of skiers, mainly the Belgians and Dutch who enjoy the resort each winter.
The problem is that many of the buildings will be left empty outside the ski season, and voters have been concerned about the number of empty holiday homes and the problems this creates for locals trying to find affordable housing. The new law is creating considerable confusion, but some feel this only increases the attractiveness of Swiss property. This is because the likelihood is that there will be little new building during the next few years, and this could lead to a shortage of supply, creating extra demand.