The main physical feature of the town is the casino. This is the largest landmark building in Campione. Everyone for 500 miles around thinks only of the casino when they hear the name “Campione” mentioned. Only a select few know that Campione is considered a tax haven. Fewer still know that it has about 1500 tax-exiles living there. About 75 per cent of the population lives in low rise apartment buildings. For the moment, four storeys is the height limit – a sensible rule put in place by the old timers who don’t want Campione to become a mini-Manhattan as Monte Carlo has.
Most single family homes have disappeared. The few that remain are now protected by the Office of Environmental Heritage. Campione does, however, offer many architecturally interesting tenements as well as significant old churches. They seem to be beyond the reach of real estate developers. Two cemeteries take up about ten per cent of the total land area.
As mentioned earlier, since we first published this report, some property prices in Campione have nearly doubled. Our readers who bought early, about 25 individuals in total, have made a killing, in our opinion, it is unlikely that prices will continue to rise at this rate, and the days Ы a “sure tiling” are probably over. It is more likely that the market is due for a period of consolidation before there is another period of double-digit appreciation. However, with patience and searching, there are still bargains to be found, particularly with distress property that is not “on the market” but must be sold quickly. It may take some work and digging to find property for sale or rent, but it is there. This process is elaborately explained in Think like a Tycoon, the complete How To Guide for purchasing property.
Campione is a small place, and, as with all other small towns, if you go there for a 48 hour visit and only ask a few real estate brokers to show you stuff on the market, you will not find any real bargains or super-quality properties. In Campione, you must have patience and really ask local professionals and apartment building managers, as well as everyone in the bars and restaurants, about deals. If you need a head start, see the Resource List at the back of this report for possible leads and a ballpark idea for estate prices. Ursula Wehner and Mrs Witzel of Immobilaire Witzel have always been reported back favorably to us by readers. We hope that you, as a reader, will share your experiences in Campione and tell us whether you bought anything. This information is invaluable to us. Also, it probably need not be said, but we’ll say it, don’t suspend your own common sense. Every salesman is out to get you to buy his slowest moving product. You must ask to see everything and make your own comparisons. Don’t be afraid to make an offer below the asking price, especially with the current climate of a very slow market!
We should also mention that neither local Swiss banks or local Italian banks will lend on property in Campione. Thus, most deals are “all cash” but it may be possible to borrow from financial institutions in your home country.
The Imposta Com unale Immobiliare (ICI) a local Italian property tax based on notional value, has recently been introduced in Italy and therefore in Campione. The tax collector’s foot is already in the door. Fortunately, this tax is very low, around US $500 per year, depending on the property.