Naef Immobilier registered a particularly successful year in 2021. With more than 1.230 billion francs worth of property sold over the past year, the annual amount of sales has doubled in two years, mainly due to the dynamic nature of the sector and to development sales, which account for almost 50% of transactions. In geographical terms, Naef Immobilier has also continued its expansion by opening a new agency in Fribourg. The group is very committed to sustainable development and strives to ensure that its strong growth is in line with its social and environmental responsibility. Driven by this commitment, it has undertaken a certification process and obtained the demanding B Corp label in November 2021, thus becoming the first real estate company in Switzerland to join the B Corp movement.
In 2021 the Swiss real estate market remained very attractive. The country’s infrastructure and high economic stability continued to attract international clients despite the prolonged health crisis; at the same time, departures from Switzerland for tax reasons decreased. The buoyant environment enabled the whole of the Lake Geneva region to benefit from an increase in real estate prices. For the Naef Group, the year 2021 ended with a new sales record in excess of one billion francs. The sales department, all sectors combined (residential, development, prestige and commercial), carried out transactions for a total amount of approximately 1,230,000,000 francs. In terms of quantity of goods sold, this corresponds to almost three sales per day.
Despite rising prices, demand remains strong for residential real estate
The Covid-19 has not slowed down the demand for residential property, on the contrary it has remained very high. The dream of home ownership has reached new heights, but buyers’ preferences have evolved due to the health crisis. Two trends, which began in 2020, have become more prominent. On the one hand, the trend of home-working has favored the search for properties in a wider area, reinforcing the attractiveness of more decentralized regions; on the other hand, some buyers have preferred to move closer to city centers for more convenience and fewer commutes.
The boom in new projects continues
Naef Immobilier has developed a real expertise in the sale of real estate developments, which is reflected in a predominant share of the group’s sales. Today, it represents nearly 50% of the number of properties sold, representing a growth of 250% in 3 years. Over the year 2021, the group agencies have commercialized 40 projects, from product definition to marketing strategy, and achieved nearly 600 sales. These sales cover the entire spectrum of new construction, from the construction of 2 villas to large-scale projects such as the Parc des Crêts in Troinex (GE), which includes more than 300 housing units, as well as high-end projects.
The enthusiasm of buyers for these new constructions is explained in particular by eco-responsibility and the importance given to well-being, which have been driving factors in the purchase of off-plan housing. Following the example of Les Oréades (La Tour de Peilz), a project consisting of 5 buildings harmoniously located on a wooded plot of more than 30,000 square meters, the apartments of which have been sold to the satisfaction of investors.
This enthusiasm for eco-neighborhoods can be seen throughout French-speaking Switzerland. In the heart of Neuchâtel, Bella Vista is a place for exchanges and meetings for all generations; in Crissier, Arbora has seduced buyers with its eco-responsible buildings in a green space alternating vegetable gardens, orchards, tree-lined promenades and wooded areas. Also in Geneva, Le Parc des Crêts stands out thanks to the very high energy performance standard (THPE) of its buildings and advocates a green neighborhood without cars, elements that have been decisive in its marketing.
Luxury real estate maintains its momentum
Increased sales, the attractiveness of second homes, the choice of quality of life and the investment in a safe haven are driving the high-end market, where demand for properties worth more than 2.5 million euros continues to grow. For Naef Prestige Knight Frank, this segment has seen a 40% increase in transactions in the space of two years and represents one third of the annual sales volume over the past year. Of the total number of transactions, those above 10 million francs represent 25% of sales. Among the record transactions of the year was a house worth 50 million francs.
In the prestige segment, new projects also continue to attract wealthy buyers thanks to their excellent amenities, high-end services such as swimming pools, spas and gyms, and integrated home automation.
On the mountain side, demand increased, influenced by the health crisis and the positive management of the pandemic in Switzerland, which allowed resorts to remain open. As a result, the country’s ski resorts have taken the lead in the Ski Property Report’s Alpine Luxury Property Price Index. This year, St. Moritz tops the index with an annual price increase of 16.5%, followed by Klosters, Davos and Verbier, all of which saw property prices jump by more than 10%.
The international department, recently created to connect sellers, buyers and properties worldwide, has been particularly active in regions such as the Alps and Provence. Thanks to the strength of the Knight Frank network, it is able to accompany its clients in a personal way. He also offers a brand new service, the purchase of wine estates, and provides full support throughout the entire acquisition process as well as in the management of the vineyard.
Naef Invest, an entity dedicated to investors
Naef Investissement & Commercial sales were also up in 2021, with a result of 200 million francs in sales value. This momentum was supported by the creation of a new identity for this service dedicated to commercial and investment real estate, as well as by the creation of a new digital platform, Naef Invest, which brings together all services related to this segment. The teams have been strengthened across three geographical areas, Geneva, Vaud and Neuchâtel, and now include 13 people who provide expertise and services in investment and commercial real estate.
Innovation, training & sustainability
In order to support its growth, Naef Immobilier is investing more and more in human capital and new technologies. The group now has nearly 400 employees in its eight agencies. Every day, 70 people, brokers, assistants, project managers, marketing and digital teams accompany sellers, buyers and developers in the completion of their real estate project. These teams are specialized by sales segment and offer cutting-edge expertise. Training, marketing strategies and technological tools are defined according to the specific needs of each market segment. Thus, e-promotion is a platform developed internally for all the players in the development industry: developers, buyers, brokers, notaries, to enable them to access all the project information they need quickly and safely.
For Naef, this remarkable growth cannot satisfy the company’s values without going hand in hand with a strong commitment to society and the environment. This commitment is embodied in its slogan “fundamentally sustainable” and is expressed, beyond words, by the daily involvement of all employees who act to ensure that the group develops in a virtuous way. In order to take this approach even further, Naef Immobilier has undertaken a B Corp certification. Following a rigorous and in-depth evaluation by independent external bodies, it received the demanding label in November 2021. Naef Immobilier is the first company in Switzerland to join the B Corp community, which brings together companies around the world that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, responsibility and transparency.