Many tax-exiles or PTs rent or buy a studio apartment in Campione only for the legal address. If they like the area after a few years, they rent a more spacious chalet and a few acres of land in one of the small nearby hamlets of Switzerland. Renting an apartment or villa in Switzerland or Italy is another attractive option. Because there are so many lakes, a superb waterfront property or a house with a boat dock on Lake Lugano is available for as little as US $3500 per month. This is the top end of the market. Summer rentals are available at somewhat higher prices to the mainly German tourists.
They flood the area during June, July, August and September. Smaller vacation apartments in Campione can be rented as cheaply as Sfr 1500 (about US $1000) per month. Most Campione property is owned “free and clear”. Bank loans or anything but seller financed property is hard to find but Swiss bank mortgage loans are now available through Ralph Koklar, listed in the Resource List at the back of this report.
New arrivals will find Swiss requirements for foreign ownership of real estate hard to understand and cope with. Also Swiss prices are exceedingly high by US standards. But if you are sure that you want to keep the same house over 15 years, because of low interest only loans, carrying costs of Swiss property ownership will be cheaper than renting. That is why some informed foreigners will buy Swiss property in spite of the many restrictive and discriminatory laws. These laws generally make Swiss property investments a very bad business. Buying a Swiss property for the very long term may not be a bad idea because it is cheaper than renting. But you can’t walk away from a mortgage debt in Switzerland. There is no bankruptcy, and non-payment of a debt is so unthinkable in Switzerland that it is not only considered gross immorality, it is a serious criminal offence. An owner of Swiss property is also subject to many tax declarations, imposts and reporting requirements on his movements.
The Italian attitude towards debt is much more casual. As a result, Swiss banks won’t lend money on Campione property unless you are a bank customer and have sufficient other assets on deposit as security to cover the entire loan. Real estate developers and brokers can, however, often arrange for Italian bank or insurance company mortgage loans on new condo developments in Campione. Normally, the interest rate on borrowed lira tends to be about double the Swiss rates. Italian banks have had an inflation problem with the lira and loss experiences with customers to justify the difference. We always recommend renting for a while and looking over all available real estate deals before committing yourself to buy. For persons operating on the Err theory, once abroad, there may be no need to have more than one or two accommodation addresses. As Scope readers know, we have made arrangements for obtaining an address for £600 per year on Sark. For slightly more money, namely £1000 per year, one can be had in or near Campione. Contact Scope International for details. If, for convenience 2ft
someone wishes to obtain an Italian passport based upon residence, we suggest that a bona fide home or apartment be either rented or purchased. A known mail drop is not a sufficient residence for the Italians to consider it for citizenship purposes. An informal one maybe, our specialist Campione consultant could assist you in this.