Total Area: 41,284 km²
GDP (in billion USD): 636
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities.
The Swiss housing market is now showing signs of overheating, as property demand and house prices continue to rise in Q3 2012. Rents also continue to rise, which is reassuring, though not as much.
Mortgage interest rates in Switzerland are very low. The average variable mortgage interest rate (not linked to a base rate of interest) was 2.99% in July 2012, almost unchanged from a year earlier, according to figures from the SNB. On the other hand, the average fixed mortgage interest rate was 1.68% in July 2012, down from 1.99% in the previous year.
In Q2 2012, the total number of new apartments completed rose by 19.6% to 10,647 units from the previous quarter, but down 8.2% from a year earlier.
The total number of apartments under construction increased by 6.1% q-o-q and by 5.9% y-o-y to 74,040 units in Q2 2012. On the other hand, the total number of new apartments authorized rose by 22.4% to 15,007 units in Q2 2012 from the previous quarter but down by 10.3% from a year earlier.
The Swiss have for a long time restricted the sale of property to foreigners. Now the Federal government has set an annual quota of permits for non-resident foreigners seeking to acquire property in Switzerland. In addition, cantonal authorization is needed before gaining a title. Each canton has slightly different rules, varying from commune to commune within the canton. However in 2010 each canton gains responsibility for its own foreign property acquisition laws, which will result in faster transfer of property titles. Foreigners cannot acquire residential real estate for buy-to-let investments except for subsidized housing, which has below market rents.