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Switzerland has strict homeownership regulations linked to residency permits for Swiss residents and quotas for non-residents.
Non-resident foreigners that do not have a Swiss residency permit or links to Switzerland are generally only able to buy property in certain "holiday" regions. This essentially limits non-resident ownership to certain areas - mostly ski resorts.
There are differences in regulations surrounding "holiday regions", with some areas being more flexible than others for non-resident ownership. These can vary from commune to commune (municipalities), even within the same canton.
Non-resident foreign nationals are mainly unable to buy property outside these holiday regions, meaning purchasing in main cities such as Bern, Basel, Zurich and Geneva is impossible.
It's important to note that if you are granted permission to buy a holiday property in Switzerland, you can spend periods of time in the country as the owner of a holiday home, but you won't automatically qualify as a resident or benefit from other aspects of Swiss residency.
If you are foreign but live in Switzerland and have a residence permit, you can generally buy property anywhere in Switzerland as a non-Swiss citizen. If you are a B permit holder, typically, you will be able to buy a main residence in Switzerland, provided you plan to live in it (i.e., it will not be a rental property).
If you have a C permit, as well as buying a primary residence, you will generally be able to purchase secondary (holiday or rental) residences in Switzerland. As a result, you may also be able to build a property portfolio for investment purposes.
For more information, download the "How to Buy and Finance Property in Switzerland" guide.