UELI SCHNORF AND PHILIPP PETER, OWNERS OF WETAG CONSULTING, DISCUSS WHAT THE CONCEPT OF LUXURY APPLIED TO THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR IS AND WHAT ARE THE REASONS THAT MAKE TICINO ONE OF THE MOST SOUGHT-AFTER DESTINATIONS IN THE WORLD.
Speaking of the luxury property market, let's talk about price movements. Can we dwell on what the main changes have been over the last fifteen years, in Switzerland and in Ticino?
"The Swiss real estate market has undoubtedly undergone significant changes over the last 15 years, but these have been smaller than those recorded in other sectors, such as the stock market. Even compared to other European countries, the price increase has been less: in Sweden, for example, the cost of real estate has doubled, while in the United Kingdom the increase has been around 65%. In Switzerland, prices have risen by a maximum of 75% (the two cantons that have grown the most are Zurich and Zug), while in Ticino the average increase has been 54% in the Lugano area, just over 50% in the Locarno area, and even negative percentages have been recorded in the valleys".
One element that characterises every property market is the time it takes to complete a sale. What is the current situation in Ticino and how has it changed in recent years?
"With reference to the luxury market, i.e. the market that includes properties with a value in excess of 3 million dollars, it is very difficult to establish an average, because in 84 countries where luxury properties are sold, a sale can take anywhere from just over 1 month to 7 years. In Ticino, the range is between 5 months and 6 years. In any case, the average in our Canton has lengthened over the last two years from 12/18 months to approximately 24 months, while in comparable important markets (i.e. lifestyle or resort markets) the average was 13 months. Obviously the Ticino market is a slow market".
An important factor distinguishing a market is also the variation between the asking price and the price actually agreed. What fluctuation margins are there in the Ticino market?
"In fact, one of the most reliable indices of the stability and quality of a market is the variation between the asking price and the price at which the sale takes place. On a global level, and again with regard to the luxury market, variations of up to 50% of the asking price can be recorded, and this is obviously not good for the quality of a market. Our company adopts a very precise commercial strategy in this regard, and the actual price reductions in our sales remain on average around 8-10%".
In general, what are the main elements that condition the performance of the luxury property market, with particular reference to the specific case of Ticino?
"There are three elements that, in general terms, determine the stability or otherwise of a property market, namely demographics, the economy and politics. In Switzerland, the first of these is stable, the second is showing no worrying signs of weakening at the moment, thanks also to the maintenance of particularly low financial rates, while the third, politics, is the most unstable. An inappropriate legislative intervention can change the stability of a market in a very short time. Just think, for example, of the devastating effects of a ban on secondary residences.
A very important driver is in any case the state of the economy. In this regard, how do you judge the prospects for development in Ticino?
"Those who come to Ticino choose to take advantage of the traditional benefits offered by this region, which represents an ideal combination of Swiss political and economic-financial stability and the Italian style of the "dolce vita". The pleasant Mediterranean climate, the lush green nature, the lakes of Lugano and Maggiore together with the surrounding mountains, have made this area, for decades, the main destination for tourists and buyers from Northern Europe".
Finally, let's talk about political stability and security... From this point of view, is Ticino really in an enviable position?
"If we also consider the political, legal and financial stability, the low level of crime, the excellent health system, and the high level of educational and public facilities and services, Ticino is the ideal place to live. In a turbulent period such as the one we are experiencing, security is an issue that particularly affects families. From every point of view, Ticino certainly ensures an excellent level of effective security. And perceived security is even higher, especially when compared with that existing in many other European countries".
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