Developer bets on Asian buyers to make a beeline for Andermatt resort property in the Swiss Alps as travel restrictions ease

22-Oct-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 5:02 AM Print This Post

A Swiss developer is launching a luxury residential project in the Alps exclusively for Asian investors ahead of the winter ski season, as travel restrictions ease around the world with increasing vaccination rates against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Andermatt Swiss Alps is tapping buyers from the region for Silva in the village of Andermatt, comprising six flats with two or three bedrooms. The flats range in size from 95 square metres (1,022 sq ft) to 132 square metres, with prices starting from $1.8 million.

Silva, scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2023, is part of a larger Andermatt project that will eventually feature about 500 flats in 42 buildings, six hotels with four or five stars, and 28 chalets. It is the sole large-scale development in Switzerland that has been cleared for foreign ownership, after the developer secured an exemption from a federal law that required overseas investors to have permits to own Swiss property.

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“We’ve seen an increase in interest from real estate investors in Hong Kong and Asia as a whole,” said Andermatt Swiss Alps’ Asia regional director Maureen Yeo. The company added that inquiries from the region had doubled since last year.

The developer has already sold or reserved more than 96 per cent of all its launched properties, with 5 per cent of buyers coming from Asia. Koya, comprising 34 mezzanine-style flats, sold out within two weeks of its launch in March.

The developer is betting on the lifting of travel restrictions in Europe and the United States, as vaccination rates increase around the world and Covid-19 infections diminish. Singapore is already the first Asian country to allow vaccinated travellers from Germany and Brunei, starting on September 8. Australia will reopen its interstate borders for vaccinated residents starting in November, and Japan declared an end to its state of emergency as the previous bout of Covid-19 cases dwindled.

The United States announced in September it would lift restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers from 33 countries later this year, while the European Union placed several countries on a list that exempts restrictions on non-essential travel to the bloc, but member states are still free to decide how to handle travel restrictions.

“The lifting of travel bans will unquestionably encourage international buyers back to the market a trend that we are already seeing and which will proliferate further during the next six to 12 months,” said Jeremy Rollason, head of Savills Ski.

He added that ski and mountain property have been highly sought after during the past nine to 12 months due to the prevalence of working from home, with many realising it was possible to do so for a prolonged period at a different location.

More bilateral and multilateral travel bubbles or corridors may be created, which would be a boon for the forthcoming winter ski season in the northern hemisphere.

“We’ve already seen a rise in demand for short-term guests over the winter season as it was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Yeo said.

Andermatt Swiss Alps is positioning the village as a year-round travel destination, featuring a world-class ski area with deep snow for off-piste skiing in winter and an 18-hole golf course in summer. The village is accessible to two main ski areas: the gentler slopes of the Natschen area to the north-east, and Gemsstock to the south, reachable by cable car. The three resorts of Andermatt, Sedrun and Disentis in the Andermatt-Gemsstock area feature 180km of pistes with 33 lifts climbing as high as 3,000 metres, according to its website.

The company offers buyers a rental programme, where an in-house team will manage and rent out the units to holiday guests. Participants can expect an annual return of about 3 per cent, with the company taking a 20 per cent share of the net revenue and the owner taking the rest.

The average room rate for a two-bedroom flat is about 550 Swiss francs (US$597.40), with demand increasing so much that they are fully booked this December, Yeo said.

Interest remains high among Hong Kong and Chinese investors for ski properties, according to Alex Koch de Gooreynd, head of Switzerland sales at Knight Frank. He noted that there was an increase of investment-oriented buyers in this group due to geographical distance and travel restrictions, compared to lifestyle purchasers, who were mostly based in Europe.

Andermatt Swiss Alps is expecting Silva to receive plenty of interest from Asian investors, Yeo said. She added that there were more than 20 interested clients waiting for released prices to begin the purchase process. The company will have a sales event in Hong Kong on the 30th and 31st of October.


Category: Regional

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