Summer by Lac Leman, winter in Verbier

 

27th October 2011

Switzerland today is famous for its banking sector. In recent  years an increasing number of private banks, hedge funds and brokerage firms have established themselves in and around Geneva and Lausanne, in the Lac Leman area. Switzerland’s favourable corporate and personal tax regime, as well as an outstanding quality of life, has encouraged many institutions, and the wealthy private clients they rely upon, to move here.

For these new inhabitants of the lake-side, one of the big lifestyle draws is the proximity to some of the worlds best skiing with a handful of world class ski resorts within a 1- to 2-hour drive. Due to its accessability and the availability of luxury property both for sale and to rent, Verbier has benefitted hugely from this expanding market.

While the lake-side is a huge draw in summer, in winter it is often shrowded in fog or low lying cloud and can be a little dull and depressing. In contrast Verbier is well known as a sun-trap and its solar-drenched winter slopes are a major attraction! It is, however, notoriously difficult to rent properties or a hotel room in Verbier just for the weekend – most hotels and chalet companies only accept week-long bookings. In addition high season holiday weeks can be very expensive. Couple these facts with the hastle of having to pack and unpack ski gear at the start and end of every stay, and the motivation for more and more people from the lake-side renting chalets and apartments for the season, or annually, is no surprise.

It has become quite normal to move the family to Verbier for the entire winter season while the bread-winner either commutes on a daily basis or stays in the lake-side residence and comes to the village at the weekend and during holidays. With the new St Georges private school in Verbier and the continuing trend for home-based work, many families are deciding to make the move entirely and are living here on an annual basis.

The trend of acquiring properties in Verbier for seasonal or annual rent is not restricted just to those based on Lac Leman. Over the past few years we have see an increasing number of families from London, Monte Carlo and other high wealth areas moving their families to Verbier for the season.

At a time when weekly client visits have been in decline due to the strength of the Swiss Franc, this additional market source has hugely benefited Verbier’s economy. As a business we have also benefited through an increased number of seasonal and annual clients.

With this burdgeoning market in mind, we have just taken on a new 3-bedroom property which is available on a seasonal or annual basis. Val Fleuri is centrally located just behind the Fer à Cheval, only three minutes stroll from Médran and the centre of the village. The property was recently converted and has been finished to the highest standards. With one master double en-suite bedroom and two further bunk rooms sharing a shower room this is the perfect family property.

 

Photographs by Yves Garneau.

 

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