Francois Hollande … French rich leaving for Switzerland …

Switzerland has always meant much more to the wealthy of France than small squares of chocolate wrapped in pretty paper. Switzerland was where they banked, illegal as it was, and where they went to live to escape France’s high taxes and, as they said, the personal insecurity of living in this country. Therefore France’s movie […]

Geneva (copyright Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

Switzerland has always meant much more to the wealthy of France than small squares of chocolate wrapped in pretty paper. Switzerland was where they banked, illegal as it was, and where they went to live to escape France’s high taxes and, as they said, the personal insecurity of living in this country.

Therefore France’s movie and sports ‘stars’, as well as her most successful writers, could be found living in and around the French-speaking city of Geneva or in the French-speaking Canton of Geneva. There lived singer Charles Aznavour, Sacha Distel, Formula One ace Alain Prost and tennis players Yannick Noah, Guy Forget and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the current Wimbledon men’s semi finalist. And,but for Distel, who is no longer alive, they still do.

Now, France having become a socialist state under François Hollande and he having decided to tax anyone resident in France who declares an annual income of €1 million or more by 75%, more of our wealthy are knocking on the doors of Geneva’s real estate agencies.

All are looking for properties to buy because they are refusing to give Hollande, who actually said, “I do not like the rich” during his campaign for the presidency, 75% of their earnings each year. I heard him say that, so you can take my word for it that he did say it.

So what is the French buying?

In the daily popular Le Parisien of Monday, July 9, Jérôme Félicité, head of the Geneva-based Genrofinance-Dunand revealed that the agency has received two dozen French residents over the past two months (Hollande was elected President in May) who wanted to buy properties. He did not name names of course, but he said that they were either businessmen who were also going to move their businesses to Switzerland, or people who had retired and wanted to protect their savings – the money they had worked hard for. (Yes, some people work for their money,Monsieur President!)

“We are only half an hour from the airport and it is just an hour’s flight to Paris,” said Jérôme Félicité.

What do the properties cost that these folks are buying?

Are you sitting down because I do not want you to pass out when I tell you that the properties they are buying cost between €2.5 and €6.7 million. In sterling and U.S. dollars those prices look like this: In dollars between 3 and 8 million, and in sterling between 2 and 6 million.

For example, an half an hour drive along the Geneva (Leman) lake there are 15 apartments on the market and they are between 145 and 800 sq meters in size at  an asking price  of €16,650 per sq meter. That’s $20,467 or £13,214 per sq meter. What you will get for your money includes your personal secure parking bay big enough for four cars, the use of a swimming pool, spa, a fitness room and a private beach on the lake. But should you be interested, know that most of the apartments have already been bought.

Another property is a 2,150 sq meter ranch with an 860 sq meter mansion which is on the heights above the lake. Its price is €7 million or $8,605,100 or £5,555,200. But for that kind of money your neighbors will be Guy Forget, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Sébastian Loeb.

Before Hollande had decided on the 75% tax of the wealthy (an annual income of €1 million and more and you are rich indeed), 750 French nationals had already made the move to Switzerland. All that the Swiss demanded from them was their money in Swiss banks (of course) and that they were resident in Switzerland for a minimum of 180 days each year.

All I will add is: one can dream can’t one?

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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