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Family of Silvio Berlusconi purchased a house at the Swiss Engadin valley

Family of Silvio Berlusconi purchased a house at the Swiss Engadin valleyThe mother-in-law of the acting Italian Minister President Silvio Berlusconi has purchased a traditional "Engadine valley type house" at the little Swiss mountain village of S-chanf at the Engadine (Canton of Graubuenden). The purchaser's name is Mrs. Flora Bartolini; she is the mother of the spouse of Silvio Berlusconi. The wife of Silvio Berlusconi carries the registered name of Miriam Raffaella Bartolini. The 76-years old woman has relocated her residence to the Swiss commune already in 2004; as citizen of a EU-Country with residence in Switzerland, she is entitled to purchase a holiday house in that Swiss commune. There is however restrictions regarding to the purchase of holiday houses by persons with residence abroad in that specific commune. The house is undergoing a full reconstruction because the building needs a sound renovation. The Berlusconi family was often on winter holiday at the resort of St. Moritz.

Source: Neue Zürcher Zeitung, April 16, 2006

Economic Research "Second Homes and Vacation Homes in Switzerland"

The demand for vacation homes in selected tourist areas has increased again in recent years, a fact which is reflected by the rising property prices. The biggest price rises have been seen in the Upper Engadine. Between 1995 and 2005, price increases for owner-occupied apartments in St. Moritz, Celerina or Silvaplana have been 42.5 % higher than the Swiss average. In Pontresina, prices have climbed even faster. Nowadays, high-quality owner-occupied apartments in St. Moritz are priced at around CHF 10,000 per square meter –a perfectly "normal" price which is comparable to those in the cities of Geneva or Zurich. In the luxury category, prices of CHF 25,000 per square meter are quite commonplace. Price trends in other key tourist areas have also exceeded the average, though not to the extent of those in the Upper Engadine.

At the beginning of June 2005, the citizens of the Upper Engadine –one of the most important and attractive holiday destinations in Switzerland –applied the brakes in the face of trends in the vacation-home market. An initiative to restrict the number of second homes built in the Upper Engadine in the future to a gross floor area of 12,000 square meters per year –approximately 100 apartments –was approved by a clear majority. Compared to current figures, the number of new vacation homes built in and around St. Moritz will therefore be reduced by a quarter.

Supply restrictions, such as the planned measures to rectify the situation in the Upper Engadine, are likely to exert further upward pressure on prices in this region over the next few years. However, we are unlikely to see any major movements in vacation property prices in the majority of Switzerland's favored locations for second homes. Instead, prices are expected to develop in line with the Swiss average in most regions.

Source: Credit Suisse, November 3, 2005