THE PROPERTY MARKET IN THE LUXURY SECTOR IS STRENGTHENING. THE ISOLATION CAUSED BY THE VIRUS EPIDEMIC IS LEADING TO A REDISCOVERY OF THE VALUE OF THE HOME AND THE ECONOMIC POLICY ADOPTED IN SWITZERLAND HAS STRENGTHENED THE NATIONAL IMAGE. THE OPINION OF THE OWNERS OF WETAG CONSULTING, UELI SCHNORF AND PHILIPP PETER
Articles talk of a crisis in the real estate market, of a devaluation of real estate, and yet, data in hand, it seems that interest in changing or looking for a house in the luxury sector is still high. You have not been able to visit during these weeks, how did you go about proposing your items?
"Our company is at the forefront of all things high-tech, and we have been able to offer drone footage of the exterior of properties, as well as moving video to show the interior. Of course, this kind of information is only given to customers we know and with whom we had already had direct contact before the Covid-19. I won't hide the fact that even during these weeks we have been able to conclude distance sales, because there is a relationship of mutual trust".
We talk about the crisis in the real estate sector, but many people are expressing the desire to buy a house...
"We shouldn't be surprised, the isolation from the Coronavirus is making people rediscover the value of the home, I think that - in some ways - the market, especially the luxury market, will be strengthened. A lot of people have had the opportunity to experience their own home, to understand if it really was the right home for them. We must not forget that for many people, during this lockdown, their home has become a refuge and, indirectly, a considerable psychological help. Just think of those who were able to enjoy a spacious and sunny terrace, a garden and those who, perhaps, did not even have a balcony. Another important factor, given that we have a lot of foreign clients, is the desire to change country; we have noticed a growing demand from foreigners who have decided to come and live in Switzerland. We have noticed a growing demand from foreigners who have decided to come and live in Switzerland. All we have to do now is see whether this is a limited phenomenon or a reinforcement of a trend that has existed for years.
Do you feel that interest in Switzerland, in Ticino, has increased because of this exceptional situation?
"On the one hand, we can say yes, at least for the moment, but it must be said that the luxury market, linked to foreign clients, has not seemed to experience a crisis for some years now. Political stability, security and, last but not least, the Mediterranean climate and landscape in which we have the privilege of living, are behind this constant interest. Talking about the current situation, linked to the coronavirus, we cannot say exactly how many clients have shown interest in buying a house because of the pandemic, nor can we genarise on where they are coming from, but we have noticed a greater focus on choosing properties as they have more time to research before visiting and, as mentioned above, there is a great demand for villas with terraces and gardens. And let's not forget that there are also a significant number of families arriving from beyond the Gotthard, so the allure of the Sonnenstube never fades".
Just before the Coronavirus scare, you were in Miami, where you received an internationally coveted award. You didn't even have time to celebrate...
"That is the only regret... but we will have time to do so. In any case, it is an award that has given us additional motivation, and perhaps it is also for this reason that we were able to react quickly when faced with the difficulties of the pandemic. As you mentioned, this is an international award, which was presented to us at Christie's International Real Estate's annual world congress in Palm Beach. To be awarded "Affiliate of the Year" is an honour because the best agents in the world were there. What made the difference was our digital marketing, the printed materials and the accuracy of the events we offer - also linked to the auction house - as well as the fact that the level of our services in general is considered excellent".
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