For many years now Swiss demographers have been producing their statistical forecasts on the ageing population, on the increase in the number of inhabitants with an immigrant background and recently on the rapid rise in the immigration of foreign nationals. These forecasts have considerable influence on the Swiss federal and economic system as well as on its moderate taxation regimes.

All these issues are presented on a daily basis in media reports, political debates and in particular through direct democracy which allows electors to participate in decision-making. These extensive democratic rights, which are unique worldwide, sometimes unexpectedly bring groups of voters together on the basis of common interests together or produce peculiar results.

The positive aspect of this democratic right to participate in decision-making may of course also have a negative impact, particularly on landowners:

  • Difficulty in planning
  • Imperilment of legal certainty
  • Examples: second home initiative, cultivated land initiative (ZH and Federal Government), no reduction of land taxes (ZH) and initiative to abolish lump-sum taxation (also called flat-rate taxation, depending on the canton) and so on [element of envy on the part of non-property owners]).

Demographic trends and trends based on democratic rights naturally only produce tangible effects over the long term. In individual cases they may be sudden and unforeseen and cause consternation. Such a situation is considerably more unpleasant for the established investor than for the potential investor, since he is faced with making a decision based on unclear principles.

A direct property investor would be well advised to consider the demographic trends.

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