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Home ownership

We can help to make your dream of owning your own home come true using money saved in your occupational pension. Please note, however, that withdrawing money early to buy a home can leave a gap in your benefits.
Lebensereignis Wohneigentum

Federal government promotion of home ownership

The federal government promotes the acquisition of owner-occupied residential property in Switzerland. You can withdraw some or all of your retirement assets from PUBLICA to offset against your mortgage. Alternatively, you can pledge your retirement assets for your own use.

What conditions must be met?

  • purchase or construction of an owner-occupied residential property;
  • renovation/conversion of an owner-occupied residential property;
  • repayment of a mortgage;
  • purchase of shares in housing cooperatives or similar participations.

Up to your 50th birthday, you can withdraw or pledge your entire pension assets. After you turn 50, the maximum you can withdraw or pledge is the vested benefits you would have been entitled to at 50 or half of your current vested benefits.

Difference between early withdrawal and pledging

The rules on promotion of home ownership distinguish between early withdrawal and pledging of assets held in an occupational pension fund. Early withdrawal means taking money out of your pension fund so as to increase your equity and reduce your mortgage

Withdraw retirement assets early to buy a home

Taking money out of your pension fund early gives you more equity at your disposal. This makes it easier to fund your home purchase, and it also makes your mortgage smaller, so you end up paying less interest.

On the negative side, an early withdrawal leaves a gap in your pension cover, which is why you should pay it back by the time you retire or find a private pension solution that fills the gap. If you fail to pay it back, the benefits you receive from the pension fund when you retire will be lower. The benefits you receive if you become disabled or those your survivors receive on your death might also be lower, depending on the pension fund. Please consult your contact at PUBLICA if you are interested in an early withdrawal. He or she will help you to avoid suffering pension shortfalls in retirement.

Use your retirement assets to buy a home 

Early withdrawals to buy a home are possible every five years. The minimum withdrawal is CHF 20,000. Any repayment must take place before retirement. The minimum repayment is CHF 10,000.

The amount withdrawn from your retirement assets is taxed separately from your other income at a reduced rate. The money withdrawn must not be used to pay this tax. If it is paid back to PUBLICA at a later date, the tax can be reclaimed, albeit without interest. Following an early withdrawal, voluntary pillar 2 buy-ins with tax relief are only possible once the money withdrawn has been repaid in full. The money must also be paid back to PUBLICA in full if the home is sold.

Pledge your retirement assets to buy a home

Instead of withdrawing capital from your pension fund, you can pledge your retirement assets to your bank, which increases your mortgage by the pledged amount. This allows you to use a higher level of debt to buy your home.

The conditions for pledging are similar to those for early withdrawals, but the pledged money remains with PUBLICA, and your insurance cover and retirement benefits remain unchanged. In addition, no capital withdrawal tax is payable, since the pledged money merely serves as collateral for the bank that can be called in if needed. The terms of the pledge are set out in a special pledge agreement. Because the pledge increases the amount of the mortgage, it results in higher interest payments. At the same time, however, it offers you tax benefits as a borrower.

Which is best for you: an early withdrawal or a pledge?

Early withdrawal: pros and cons
Pledge: pros and cons

Also worth knowing

Up to their 50th birthday, active members can withdraw or pledge their current vested benefits. After turning 50, the maximum they can withdraw or pledge is the vested benefits they had at age 50 or half of their current vested benefits.

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