Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why not own?

This weekend I spoke with someone who’s in Geneva with her family for her second tour of duty (they were here from 1999 – 2002, and returned in 2005.) She works in Geneva, and her children attend Swiss schools, but they live across the border in France.

According to this woman, it’s significantly easier to own in France than it is in Switzerland. For one thing, to buy a place in Switzerland, you’re looking at $1 million for a starter home. That’s with 20% down. That’s just one of the reasons on 2% of the population are homeowners.

Even the wealth Swiss who have this money rarely pay off their mortgage. Because one they do, home ownership catapults them into such a high tax bracket, day-to-day living becomes a lot less fun.

Home ownership in France, however, is much more like the States. 100% financing. No money down. As long as you’re contributing to their economy and not taking jobs away from the French (this woman works in Geneva, remember), they’re happy to help.

I wonder if they have la Fannie Mae and le Freddie Mac.

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