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How much can it cost you to change apartments in Swiss cities?

How much can it cost you to change apartments in Swiss cities?
A sign reads 'to rent' (Illustration photo) Photo: FRED DUFOUR / AFP
Thinking of moving to another apartment in one of Switzerland’s major cities? Be prepared to pay out.

Change apartments in Switzerland’s largest cities and you will pay 35 percent more in rent than what you’re currently paying, a new report has found. 

The report, prepared by Switzerland’s Raiffeisen Bank, found that when taking only increased rents into account, you’ll be liable for a monthly rent which is more than a third higher. 

The 35 percent increase is only on the basis of rent and doesn’t include other costs for making the switch, i.e. moving fees, time off work, etc. The five largest cities in Switzerland are Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Lausanne and Bern. 

HAVE YOUR SAY: How to find a flat in Switzerland

The reason for the increase in costs is the amount average rents have risen in major cities compared to the duration of the average tenancy. 

The report notes that tenancy laws also play a role. 

Martin Neff, Chief Economist at Raffheisen Bank, points out that the gap is even larger for people who have lived in their apartment longer.  

“The longer you have lived in your apartment, the greater the difference,” he said. “This is a consequence of tenancy law, which has led to a large gap between existing and available rents in many parts of Switzerland.”

Going up the country

The study finds that a result of increasing costs in urban areas, more and more people are heading to suburban or regional areas to live. 

Despite growing populations in Swiss cities, the study finds that Swiss-born residents move away from cities more than they move to them – with Switzerland’s immigrant population keeping demand in the cities high. 

More and more Swiss citizens are moving to the country. Image: Fabrice Coffrini

One in four Swiss residents is foreign, with the percentage much higher in urban areas. In Zurich, for instance, one in two city residents is foreign. 

As the report notes, immigrants often pay more when they move to the cities as they don’t understand local culture and real estate laws. 

“City dwellers are increasingly moving to peripheral, well-developed and rural communities. If you only consider the domestic resident population, more people move out of the city than into the city. 

“The cities only grow through the influx of immigrants with little knowledge of the local real estate market.

“No wonder many choose to move out of the city.”

On February 9th, Switzerland held a referendum on whether or not to support a project to promote affordable housing, but the initiative was defeated. 

READ: Why Switzerland voted no to affordable housing

The study also found that new developments were booming in country areas due to increased demand from city slickers making a sea change. 

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