Foreigners can buy second homes only in Switzerland’s tourist areas, such as St. Moritz, Gstaad, Verbier and some areas on Lake Lucerne, Ms. Engler said. In other areas, such as the greater Zurich area, Zug or on Lake Geneva, foreigners are typically in the country to work and must make Switzerland their primary residence to buy property.
“Since buyers have to have a Swiss residency permit, they’re usually already here, and therefore the pandemic didn’t have a negative impact on demand,” she said, though “on the rental market, the impact was strong, since no new workers were allowed into the country.”
Likewise, international buyers were “not that flexible for site visits,” said Nina Demuth, a real estate professional with Zurich Sotheby’s International Realty. “Therefore, we developed a better tool for virtual-reality viewings so that we can offer a first look to our clients abroad.”
Ms. Demuth said she worked with buyers seeking larger properties outside of Zurich to accommodate more working and educating from home, and noted that she expects “the trend for bigger flats and houses will increase.”