How Covid-19 changed housing priorities in Switzerland

How Covid-19 changed housing priorities in Switzerland
This rural setting in Switzerland is a dream come true for many people looking to get away from cities. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed where, and how, people in Switzerland want to live, a new study revealed.

For many in Switzerland, the pandemic has been a turning point of sorts — the working from home obligation and quarantines in tight quarters made them realise the importance of space, both in and outdoors.

In a new “Dream Home” survey carried out jointly by Swiss real estate and insurance companies Moneypark, AlaCasa and Helvetia, more than half of the respondents said they want to move from a city to a rural area, preferably into a single-family home with a garden.

“During a pandemic, you are at home a lot — that’s why private outdoor space is becoming more important”,  the study’s authors said.

This is what study participants want most in a home during the pandemic:

  • Most (over 60 percent) prioritise quiet surroundings and proximity to nature
  • More than half (53 percent) want enough space for a home office

Interestingly, as a lot of work is now done at home, “physical proximity of the house to one’s office has lost its importance”, the study found.

READ MORE: Residential property prices continue to climb in Switzerland

The mobility trend from urban to rural areas gained strength earlier in the pandemic.

At the end of November 2020, when Switzerland was in the midst of the second wave, demand for single-person homes in the countryside or small towns “increased significantly”, according to public broadcaster RTS, which did a report on the subject.

“The figures are impressive. There is a ‘Covid effect’ at play here”, Joëlle Salomon-Cavin, an expert in city-country relations, told RTS.

She said that crises are conducive to the development of a negative perception of urban areas, “because proximity can spread this disease”, while the countryside is associated with fresh, clean air.

A study conducted jointly by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and University of Lausanne found that some aspirations emerge during the pandemic; the desire for a less urban and more ecological lifestyle is one of them.

Finding an affordable home in Switzerland is another matter.

While many experts feared that real estate market in Switzerland would collapse during the health crisis, the opposite has happened: purchase prices for houses and apartments have risen.

Figures released by ImmoScout24 Swiss Real Estate Index in January show that at the end of 2020, single-family home prices were 5.6 percent above their level at the start of the year.

READ MORE: Why are Geneva’s rents the highest in Switzerland?

Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.