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Old 08.02.2007, 14:42
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Re: Buying a Home? (vs UK)

You're right, if you have the capital, buying is a better deal - long-term.

1) Probably is the answer. There are restrictions where properties may be used as mainly uninhabited holiday homes.

2) Who knows? Swiss house prices have risen about 10-15% in 10 years. In the UK they've gone up by that amount every year for the last 10 years.

Switzerland did have a price boom in the late 1980s and this resulted in a speculation tax, so there is a tax on the profit on sale of a house (Grundstuckgewinsteuer). This diminishes by the years you stay in a property and does not apply if you reinvest the the sale price of your house in another property in Switzerland.

Thus if you returned to the UK after 5 years and the property went up in price, you would be liable for this tax (somewhere between 10 and 40% of the gain depending on the canton and time).

This assumes that you could find anywhere to buy in the first place. Good, affordable property within commuting distances are near impossible to find - many people build from new and never move.

All that said, should you sell in the UK anyway? We moved here at the top of the UK's last property boom in 1989. But decided to rent out our house. We ended up 5 years later with a dirty house, but at least the mortgage had been paid by the rent received. We also ended up with a house that was valued 40% less than 5 years earlier. Will UK property prices continue to rise for ever? The last 40 years have shown a strong upward trend, but a strong boom and bust pattern too - with the price bubble bursting every so often and the bigger the bubble the bigger the burst. Remember 'negative equity'?
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