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Why overseas investors are feeling the Verbier vibe in 2020

Posted on 18 November 2020

The fashionable resort of Verbier, a perennial favourite with royalty and celebrities, is firmly on the radar of international buyers in 2020, said Skiingproperty.com in November, adding that its off-piste lifestyle combined with Switzerland’s safe haven status and tax-friendliness are helping it to stand out above other high-end ski destinations.

“Verbier remains one of the most exclusive places to hit the slopes and own a mountain home,” said Julian Walker, director at Skiingproperty.com. “It has the expected world-class skiing, après-ski and entertainment. On top of that, local and global economic conditions complemented by the resort’s first-rate amenities, suited increasingly to year-round family living, are taking its appeal to another level amongst wealthy buyers.”

Skiingproperty.com highlights five keys reasons to consider a property in Verbier:

– Much like the US dollar, Switzerland’s currency is a safe haven for international investors, especially when there is uncertainty in world markets. Right now Swiss Franc based assets are attractive due to the instability that Covid-19, Brexit and the US election have brought to global economies in 2020. Given Swiss interest rates are being held in negative territory (-0.75 per cent), a preferred option for wealth preservation and income generation is to invest in premium Swiss property.

– Verbier is outperforming other high-end Swiss resorts in terms of value and growth. According to the recent Knight Frank Ski Property Report 2021, it has the third highest average price for prime property in both the Swiss and French Alps (€21,900/ sq metre). In addition, at the end of June 2020 it recorded the highest annual rise (2.9 per cent) in the average price of a luxury chalet of all Swiss resorts.

– Purpose-built and without the same levels of history and glitz found in other famous Alpine resorts, Verbier certainly doesn’t lack cachet and attracts a strong contingent of royals and select group of celebrities. Its classy down-to-earthiness and the privacy offered by its low density luxury chalets and huge skiing area are a strong part of its appeal. Renowned homeowners over the years include entrepreneur Richard Branson and the Duke and Duchess of York, while other regular visitors include members of the Belgian, Swedish and Danish royal familes. Other fans include the Beckhams and music stars Bono, Ronan Keating and James Blunt, who has interests in a restaurant there.

Switzerland’s tax system, which levies taxes at federal, cantonal and municipal level, has attractive incentives for wealthy investors who become resident there. A popular option for foreigners in Valais, which includes Verbier, is the Lump Sum Taxation scheme, which allows residents to be taxed on their annual living expenditure rather than worldwide income or assets. Equally, there are attractive schemes for foreigners wishing to set up a company in order to register and work as self-employed.

– Gateway to the Four Valleys ski area – the largest in Switzerland, there’s no doubt that Verbier offers some of the best and most diverse pistes in the world. Skiing aside, increasingly the resort is becoming a magnet for homeowners wishing to escape their busy urban lives and either move full-time or spend a few months of the year in a healthy Alpine environment. Evidence points to Covid-19 triggering an uptick in residents of Geneva, an easy two-hour drive away, migrating to their Verbier homes during the pandemic. Extensive leisure amenities, which include a golf course, provide for a quality lifestyle and thanks to schools, which include the prestigious Lemania-Verbier International School, families are well catered for too.