Swiss real estate for Chinese investors


    The acquisition of Swiss real estate by non-Swiss residents is regulated by the Swiss Federal Act on the Acquisition of Real Estate by Persons Abroad, commonly referred to as Lex Koller (Arnold Koller was the Swiss federal councillor of justice at the time of the most recent amendment of the act).

    While Swiss legislation is very liberal regarding the acquisition of commercial real estate by foreign investors, Lex Koller imposes significant restrictions on acquisitions of residential real estate. This applies in essence to both asset and share deals concerning real estate.

    Roland Mueller Partner VISCHER
    Roland Mueller

    Asset or share deal

    Like domestic acquirers, foreign investors can purchase Swiss real estate either directly (asset deal) or indirectly by acquiring shares in a real estate company (share deal). The asset deal agreement must be authenticated by a Swiss notary public, and be filed and – to complete transfer of the ownership – registered in the land register of the district or state where the real estate is located. The share transfer agreement is typically in writing (no notarial involvement required) and will be closed by endorsing and/or handing over the respective share certificates, or by the execution of a transfer deed.

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    Dr Roland Mueller is a partner at VISCHER and a Swiss Bar Association certified specialist in construction and real estate law. He can be contacted on +41 58 211 33 50 or by email at
    Eric Flueckiger is a senior associate at VISCHER. He can be contacted on +41 58 211 39 05 or by email at