Alpine Climes Are the Perfect Habitat for Real-Estate Bubbles

Foreigners keep pouring (their money) into Switzerland, partying like it's 2007, and the powers that be can't seem to do a thing about it. But they're trying.
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Foreigners keep pouring (their money) into Switzerland, partying like it's 2007, and the powers that be can't seem to do a thing about it. But they're trying.

The country, which already has more stringent capital rules for its banks than other European nations, said lenders would be required to hold an additional 1 percent of risk-weighted assets to make the financial system more stable in light of an “excessive rise in prices in the real estate market and exorbitant mortgage debt.” Banks have until Sept. 30 to comply….

An index created by the Swiss bank UBS measuring the likelihood of a Swiss property bubble was “clearly in the risk zone,” the bank wrote in a note to investors this month.

In the final three months of 2012, house prices soared to six times the annual average Swiss household income compared with about four times in 2000, according to the bank. It called the ever-rising demand for properties not intended for personal use “remarkable.”

In Frothy Real Estate Market, Switzerland Tightens Capital Rules on Banks [DealBook]

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Last year, Petra Ecclestone, daughter of Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, gave the California housing market a boost when she bought 90210 widow Candy Spelling's 57,000 square foot mansion for $85 million, as a crash pad for when she's in Los Angeles (she also owns a six-story house in London’s Chelsea neighborhood purchased for £56 million). Around the same time, Petra's sister, Tamara, paid $70 million for "a 16,000-square-foot historic brick home across the road from Kensington Palace." And while some would simply write the Sisters Ecclestone off as spoiled rich girls whose parents have footed the bill for these places (mom is Slavica Radic, a former Croatian model who lent Petra $82.4 million for the LA house), the Wall Street Journal sees what the haters will not: a couple of savvy investors who you might consider asking to manage your money. In an interview with the paper, which dubbed the Sisters Ecclestone "The First New Family of Real Estate," Tamara explained her investment thesis: Wearing Lululemon yoga pants and a fitted hoodie, Ms. Ecclestone sat in her living room, overlooking an outdoor lap pool, and explained that she sees their real estate holdings as smart purchases. "I think London [property] is a really good investment," she said. "There's no bank in the world that can give you that return." Ecclestone also shared some pearls of wisdom re: dealing with critics looking to bring you down, of which her fellow billionaires, newly minted or old, should take note. Last year Ms. Ecclestone starred in a reality program about her life called "Billion $$ Girl." One episode depicted her taking her dogs to Harrod's for facials and pedicures. Another shows her debating cancelling a meeting because she woke up with a pimple on her face. Her participation in the show, in the midst of a recession, drew criticism from many, including her father. Mr. Ecclestone said he could barely make it through one episode. "I spoke to her before and said… 'They're never going to show you in a good light,' " he said. "She was stupid to do it." Ms. Ecclestone took the criticisms in stride. "It's like water off a duck's back," she said. The First New Family Of Real Estate [WSJ]