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Property in Switzerland: Where are house prices rising the fastest?

The Lake Geneva region is beautiful but also very expensive to live in.
Apartment prices in areas like this one, overlooking Lake Geneva, are among the costliest in Switzerland. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
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Where house prices are rising the most in Switzerland

When it comes to property prices, no area in Switzerland can be called “cheap”. But some regions are costlier than others.

And this trend is not about to change, according to Raiffeisen bank: buying a home is becoming more expensive, with prices for both single-family houses and apartments rising further — by 4.4 percent on average — in the third quarter of 2021.

Costs are going up across the country, but the increase in tourist regions is particularly steep, said Raiffeisen’s chief economist Martin Neff.

In those communities, prices rose by 18.3 percent and apartments by 12.9 compared to the previous year.

Viewed by region, prices for single-family houses climbed the most in Ticino (11.7 percent) and in the Bern area (11.1). In the apartment category, the Lake Geneva region leads the ranking with an increase of 12.3 percent.

Cross-border conundrum: France no longer wants to build housing for Genevans

Many people who work in Geneva commute there from Annemasse, a French community located 10 kilometres from the border. Some Genevans live in France as well, while traveling daily to work on the Swiss side.

Much of the housing boom in Annemasse is attributed to needs of cross-border commuters, but municipal authorities now want to not only slow down the construction, but also to build cheaper housing for lower income, local residents. 

This strategy will inevitably impact Geneva, which will be forced to house the employees on its own territory.

For his part, Geneva State Councillor Antonio Hodgers said he understands Annemasse’s decision,  as “no one wants to be another’s suburb, which is catastrophic from the point of view of mobility and climate.”

He noted that “Geneva must make an effort” in terms of construction.

“We are committed to building 2,500 homes per year”, he added.

Which Swiss regions have the highest number of vacant apartments?

Flats, especially reasonably priced ones, are often difficult to find in Switzerland, but in some areas of the country it is easier than in others.

“These are primarily municipalities and regions where a lot of apartments are still being built, although the demand is stagnating”, according to Fredy Hasenmaile, real estate expert at Credit Suisse bank.

However, the location of these rentals is not necessarily prime  — many are in communities that are far away from the major city centres and are therefore rarely an option for commuters.

Among them are the two half-cantons of Appenzell, as well as peripheral communities in Uri and at the southern foot of Jura.

However, most rentals can be found in the La Chaux-de-Fonds region of Neuchâtel and in Ticino’s Mendrisio region. In both areas, the vacancy rate is over 4 percent, compared to 1.54 percent nationally.

High vacancies are good news for tenants, as they benefit from falling rents, Hasenmaile said.

Did you know?

If you are a homeowner in Switzerland, there are certain taxes you will have to pay. This is a roundup of these fees from the website of Swiss authorities:

You have to pay income tax on the equivalent rental value of your property. On the other hand, mortgage interest rates are fully deductible and maintenance expenses are partially deductible.

Several cantons levy a tax on property (also known as land or real estate tax) 

Property transfer tax is normally levied when you buy property.

If you own an apartment, a house or land, you must declare it in your tax return, and you are liable to pay wealth tax on it.

If you sell your house or apartment, you must pay property gains tax.

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. 

Eight things you need to know before renting in Switzerland

How can I buy a second home in Switzerland?

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s rules for Airbnb rentals?
 

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


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