Tag Archive: Editor’s Choice

Swiss want TV tax cut by half, according to survey

Some who move to Switzerland might not be aware that they are almost certainly required to pay one of the world’s highest broadcasting fees. An annual Swiss licence costs CHF 451.10 per household. A successful vote in 2015 changed the rules on who must pay the fee. From 2019, it will be compulsory for anyone with a primary or secondary residence in Switzerland to pay it, effectively making it a tax on all households. At a new lower price of CHF 400...

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Housing in Zurich and Geneva only moderately overvalued, says UBS

The UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index 2017 describes housing in Zurich and Geneva as only moderately overvalued. The two Swiss cities rank 6th (Geneva) and 9th (Zurich) in a list of 20 selected global cities. The top eight: Toronto, Stockholm, Munich, Vancouver, Sydney, London, Hong Kong and Amsterdam are all classified as bubble risk. Only Chicago is undervalued.

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Geneva and Lausanne remain Switzerland’s toughest home markets

Home vacancy rates in Switzerland’s main cities have all risen over the last few years, bringing some hope to those looking for a place to live. The latest 2017 data confirm this trend. While these percentage shifts might appear big, very low vacancy rates underly them. On 1 June 2012, none of these cities had a vacancy rate above 1%. Zurich (0.29%), Bern (0.48%), Basel (0.13%), Lausanne (0.28%) and Geneva (0.21%) were all well below 1% vacancy...

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Switzerland’s home ownership illusion

When 10-year mortgage interest rates fall to 1%, home ownership becomes a very attractive alternative to renting. A recent report on home ownership shows why home ownership remains out of reach of the average Swiss household despite very low interest rates.The report, by Credit Suisse, says that despite the strong desire for people to own their own home, fewer and fewer households are able to afford them as the years go by.

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Switzerland’s most expensive apartments in Zurich, Maloja and Lavaux

According to data from comparis.ch, Switzerland’s most expensive apartments are found in Zurich, Maloja – home to Saint-Moritz, and Lavaux-Oron. One square metre will cost you CHF 12,250 (US$ 13,000) in Zurich, CHF 11,500 in Maloja and CHF 11,250 in Lavaux-Oron. Lavaux-Oron contains posh parts of Greater Lausanne, such as Lutry, and the UNESCO-listed wine terraces of Lavaux on the shore of Lake Geneva.

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Finding a place to rent getting easier in Switzerland

A recent Credit Suisse report, entitled: Tenants Wanted, says capital continues to flow into Swiss real estate, boosting the supply of rental properties. Against a backdrop of negative interest rates at Switzerland’s central bank, investors continue to plough money into constructing new residential properties. At the same time, declining immigration has hit the demand for rental apartments.

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A Swiss parliamentary commission wants to get rid of imputed rent

In Switzerland, home owners have to add a theoretical rent to their taxable income. This means home ownership can increase your annual tax bill, sometimes substantially.

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Higher Swiss health premiums for those with high deductibles challenged by commission

In June 2017, Switzerland’s Federal Council announced plans to reduce the discounts offered to those willing to risk paying the first chunk of their annual medical bills. The plan included reducing the maximum premium discounts given for opting for deductibles, the amount paid by the insured before insurance kicks in.

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Number of vacant homes rises again in Vaud

At 1 June 2017, 3,650 empty homes, of which 2,655 were for rent and 995 for sale, were on the market in Vaud. This brought the vacancy rate to 0.9%, a rise of 0.1% compared to the year before. This rise follows an increase of 0.1% in 2016 from a rate of 0.7% in 2015. The market is considered balanced when the vacancy rate reaches 1.5%. The last time it was above this mark in Vaud was in 1999.

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Swiss franc outstrips other currencies over last 117 years

Recent analysis by Credit Suisse, London Business School and Cambridge Judge Business School shows the Swiss franc’s enduring strength. The reports says that for a small country with just 0.1% of the world’s population and less than 0.01% of its land mass, Switzerland punches well above its weight financially.

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Swiss Rail to launch app that lets you pay when you arrive

Swiss Rail plans to test a new smartphone app that will charge you when you arrive. The app will automatically search for the cheapest fare once the journey has ended, promising users the lowest possible fare. The new app, which will be added to Mobile Preview, will be tested in 2018.

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Higher Swiss health premiums for those with big deductables

The Swiss government announced plans to reduce the discounts offered to those willing to risk paying the first chunk of their annual medical bills. It also plans to adjust deductibles in line with shifts in medical costs. This will be discussed until 19 October 2017.

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Property prices fall in Swiss resorts but climb elsewhere, says UBS report

A real estate report by the bank UBS, which looks at 25 top resorts in Switzerland, Austria, France and Italy, shows vacation home price drops across Switzerland. These price falls contrast with price rises in resorts in Austria, France and Italy.

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Swiss government moves a step closer to axing capital withdrawals from pensions

Swiss pensions have three parts. The first is a standard payment based on the number of years you have paid social security taxes (AVS / AHV). The second (2nd pillar) is based on a personal pot of money built up from compulsory salary deductions. And the third is a personal pot derived from optional tax deductible savings, known as a 3rd pillar.

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Switzerland not the most expensive in Europe for some mobile packages

Yesterday, the price comparison website Verivox published a study comparing mobile phone costs across 13 european countries. On most measures Switzerland was the most expensive, and by a wide margin. A plan including 100 minutes of talk and 1 Go (gigaoctet1) of data per month costs an average of CHF 25 per month in Switzerland

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Mortgage reference rate falls opening way for Swiss rent cuts

Every three months the rate of interest used to set Swiss rents is reviewed. If it goes down some renters have the right to request a decrease in rent. This time it dropped 0.25% to 1.50%. The interest rate used to set the reference rate was the average rate on Swiss mortgages at 31 March 2017 of 1.61% which rounds to 1.50% under the rounding rules, which round to the nearest quarter of a percent.

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Swiss healthcare ranked third globally for preventing death

A study of data from 195 countries from 1990 to 2015 published recently in the medical journal The Lancet, ranks Switzerland’s healthcare system third. The analysis looked at mortality rates from causes that should not be fatal in the presence of effective medical care. It considered both healthcare access and quality and was designed with the aim of normalising for local environmental and behavioural risks.

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Big debts at 18 because parents didn’t pay Swiss health insurance bills

A recent article in the newspaper 20 Minutes highlights the nasty surprise some young people experience when their parents fail to pay their health insurance premiums. Turning 18 is one of life’s key milestones. It corresponds with the end of school and entry into a new world. In Switzerland it is also a health insurance milestone.

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Some Swiss cantons overwhelmed with confessions of tax evasion

Ahead of the automatic exchange of bank account information, which comes into effect at the beginning of next year, Swiss residents with undeclared foreign bank accounts are rushing to come clean to the tax authorities, according to Swiss broadcaster RTS.

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Poor not being pushed out of Swiss cities

It is widely believed that as the price of real estate climbs those on low incomes are forced out of city centres. A study by the University of Geneva, commissioned by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office focused on the period between 2010 and 2014, shows this is not true in Switzerland.

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