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Property in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news and talking points

Property in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news and talking points
Many Swiss are attached to their neighbourhoods. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
Stay up-to-date on the latest Swiss property news with The Local's weekly roundup.

Where is it easiest and hardest to find apartments in Switzerland?

On June 1st, 2021, 71,365 dwellings were vacant in Switzerland, or 1.54 percent of the  country’s entire housing stock.

This is 7,467 units less than in June 2020, a decrease of 9.5 percent — the steepest decline in the vacancy rate in 12 years, according to new data from the Federal Statistical Office (OFS).

At cantonal level, the vacancy rate was lowest in Zug (0.34 percent). The cantons of Geneva (0.51 percent), Zurich (0.72 percent), Graubünden (0.87 percent), Obwalden (0.96 percent), Basel-Country (0.97 percent) and  Schwyz (0.99 percent) also recorded low vacancy rates.

In general, the vacancy rate was lower than the national average in 11 cantons.

Despite a slight decline, the canton of Solothurn once again has the highest vacancy rate nationally (3.15 percent). It is also the only canton to cross the 3-percent mark. Next come the cantons of Ticino (2.83), Appenzell Innerrhoden (2.59) and Jura (2.56).

And where is the housing most and least affordable?

The same OFS data indicates that the housing costs remain significantly higher in the cities, the agglomerations, as well as in tax-attractive and tourist regions.

Swiss mortgage rates fall below 1 percent

Housing is notoriously expensive in Switzerland, but mortgage rates are now low — the shorter the loan period, the lower the interest.

For instance, according to Comparis.ch, a consumer comparison site, a five-year rate fixed is 0.48 percent and a 10-year one, 0.70 percent.

These are indicative numbers, the actual interest rate will depend on the applicant’s financial situation and credit history, but it can be calculated here.

In Switzerland, big housing trumps smaller spaces  

In a recent study carried out by the Federal Polytechnic Institute of Lausanne (EPFL), around 40 of respondents moved to a larger dwelling even though their household size had decreased.

In 46 percent of these cases, respondents said they wouldn’t be willing to move because they were attached to their current dwelling, while 30 percent said they already found their current  home too small.

Other reasons included good location, cheap rent, privacy, as well as attachment to their current neighbourhood and community.

Did you know?

Cross-border workers on a G Permit are allowed to buy a house near their place of work without any additional permit or authorisation. 

However, the purchase is connected to the buyer’s work – meaning that it may not be rented out, even partially.

Also, the property needs to be under 1,000 square metres, otherwise additional authorisation from cantonal authorities will be needed. 

Investment properties are not authorised under a G Permit – and if you buy a holiday home, best make sure it’s close to your workplace. 

You can find out more about this here:

Can cross-border workers buy property in Switzerland?

Useful links

Looking for a house or an apartment in Switzerland or just want a little more information about the property market, then check out the following links. 

Why you may be entitled to a rent reduction in Switzerland

How Covid-19 changed housing priorities in Switzerland

Rents on the rise in Swiss cities

The property roundup is new addition and we’d welcome any feedback or suggestions for areas it should cover. Please email us at [email protected]


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