Swiss push through ban on second home development
12 March 2012 16:39
The Swiss voted in favour of a ban on the development of new second homes this week. At a national referendum on Sunday 11 March, 50.6 percent of the electorate voted in favour a popular initiative from environmentalists to strictly limit the number of new second homes being constructed.
Geneva, Vaud, Neuchatel and Jura all voted in favour of the ban, as did virtually all of northern Switzerland and urban areas.
The Federal level vote means that Switzerland will now limit the construction of second homes to no more than 20 percent of the stock being created.
The ban will hit ski resorts, many of which have seen a building boom. Local campaigners have called these overseas property schemes as “building frenzies” which are "disfiguring the landscape" and leading to unaffordable home prices for locals.
The vote went YES: 50.6% / NO: 49.4%.
OPP understands that there are an estimated 500,000 second homes in Switzerland, accounting for about 12 per cent of the country’s total housing stock.
Opponents say the proposed limit breaches the autonomy of the local and cantonal authorities under the cherished federalist system.
The issue pitted environmentalists - supported by the political centre-left and some centre-right groups – against the business community and the tourist industry.
The government and parliament came out against the initiative. They say reforms of the zoning law - in force since last July – are a more suitable political instrument to combat excessive housing developments at a local level.