House prices in Switzerland have increased this year by more than 4%, according to figures from the Swiss National Bank.

Single-family homes increased by 4.5% in the year from January 2009, and resale rental apartments rose 4.3%.

Andrew Hawkins, head of international at Chesterton Humberts, believes these increases are a result of ‘a controlled market where ownership is highly regulated and a corresponding level of supply and demand. Switzerland didn’t have a price boom, unlike markets such as the UK or Spain.

‘The continued interest from non-resident foreigners has kept house prices rising at a manageable amount. Also, as the economic crisis hit, locals transferred overseas investments into the more stable local property market, driving prices up at a steady level.’

While Switzerland has traditionally been difficult to buy into because of the federal government’s system for issuing permits, from 2010 each canton will have the power to set its own foreign property laws.

‘Giving cantons the responsibility for making their own property acquisition rules is a positive for foreign buyers,’ says Andrew. ‘We expect faster transfer times for property titles, making property ownership easier and therefore more desirable, so we expect that prices will continue to steadily increase.’
 
* Houses for sale in Switzerland