For members


UPDATE: In which Swiss canton are rents the highest and lowest in 2022?

When it comes to rents, big disparities exist between different Swiss regions. This is where prices are highest and lowest across the country.

Rent for the same apartment varies sharply from one canton to another. Photo by léa b on Unsplash
Rent for the same apartment varies sharply from one canton to another. Photo by léa b on Unsplash

The fact that rents differ from one to another of Switzerland’s 26 cantons is not exactly breaking news.

But what might be surprising is how big the disparities are, particularly in cantons which are only a short trip from another. 

According to a new large-scale study carried out by Swiss Marketplace Group (SMG), rents in Switzerland’s most expensive canton are more than three times higher than those in the cheapest. 

The survey, which used data from ImmoScout24 and Homegate real estate platforms, found that the cost of a 3.5-room apartment in the canton of Zug — the most expensive in Switzerland — is equivalent to the rents of almost three apartments of the same size in Jura.

The 3.5-room flats, which typically consist of a living room and two bedrooms, in addition to kitchen and bathroom, are the most sought-after accommodations in Switzerland, according to SMG.

Geneva and Vaud are two other cantons where rents for a 3.5-room property are notoriously high — 2,248 and 1,895 francs respectively.

On one hand, the study found “the average price difference of more than 1,200 francs between the expensive canton of Zug and the relatively affordable canton of Jura”.

On the other, “there are many cantons in the lower and middle price segments, where asking prices have risen over the past year. This, combined with stable and falling rents in the upper price segment, means that the rent gap has started to close”.

READ MORE: Why is Geneva’s rent the highest in Switzerland?

This map shows where the cheapest and priciest rents can be found. 

A comparison of cantonal rental prices across Switzerland. Image: SMG

A comparison of cantonal rental prices across Switzerland. Image: SMG

In which Swiss canton is rent the cheapest and most expensive in 2022?

The highest prices tend to be in the more urbanised cantons near the cities of Geneva and Zurich, while lower costs were found in regional and rural cantons. 

Located in the northwest of Switzerland, Neuchâtel and Jura have the most affordable rents —  a little over 1,000 francs for a 3.5-room flat.  

There are other rules at play however besides a mere proximity to Switzerland’s largest and most economically powerful cities. 

Zug, the most expensive canton to rent in Switzerland, has a favourable tax system and as such attracts many of the country’s wealthiest people.

In fact, one in eight residents of Zug have a net worth north of one million francs, as we covered in the following article. 

READ MORE: Which Swiss canton has the most millionaires?

The complete list of Switzerland’s 26 cantons ranked from most expensive to cheapest on the average monthly rent for a 3.5 bedroom apartment. 

Zug 2428
Geneva 2248
Zürich 2131
Basel-City 2029
Schwyz 1948
Nidwalden 1947
Vaud 1895
Lucerne 1777
Baselland 1767
Obwalden 1685
Aarau 1659
Graubünden 1591
Bern 1577
Thurgau 1570
Freiburg 1556
Appenzell Ausserrhoden 1539
St. Gallen 1537
Solothurn 1496
Schaffhausen 1483
Ticino 1470
Wallis 1440
Uri 1427
Glarus 1373
Appenzell Innerrhoden 1372
Neuchâtel 1343
Jura 1135

What about buying an apartment rather than renting?

SMG study looked at this option as well, analysing slightly larger dwellings — 4.5 rooms, which means three bedrooms instead of two. Prices for this this type of properties “soared in 17 of the 26 cantons”, the study found.

On average, an apartment of this size costs 516,000 francs in Jura, but more than three times as much — 1,722,000 francs in Zug, SMG reports.

A comparison of cantonal house prices across Switzerland. Image: SMG

A comparison of cantonal house prices across Switzerland. Image: SMG

One way to find a less expensive option is to look for properties in neighbouring cantons.

“If, for example, you could see yourself living in the cantons of Aargau, Schaffhausen, Thurgau or St. Gallen instead of Zurich, you could save up to 43 percent on average when buying a home”, the report said.

READ MORE: REVEALED: The six major Swiss cities where rents are falling

Member comments

  1. This topic is very interesting to many people, I should think. However I find it quite difficult to understand the statistics and graphics. Am I the only one?
    The list of cantons in the above article on the comparative rents for 3.5 room apts list the names of the cantons on one side than a bunch of numbers that correspond to what exactly. For a comparative of “26 cantons” there are numbers like 29`?
    Also the map is color coded for rents and Geneva/Vaud seems sort of glomed together in dark blue. Obviously the key is color coded, so that is easy, but the boundaries of cantons are not delineated, the cantons have no names, and for some cantons, I am a bit iffy, frankly. I am frustrated, any help is welcome.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


UPDATE: What are Switzerland’s rules for cannabis consumption?

Switzerland has a complicated set of rules for both medical and recreational cannabis consumption. Here's what you need to know.

UPDATE: What are Switzerland's rules for cannabis consumption?

Long prohibited and seen as a gateway drug with potentially dangerous impacts, countries across the globe have begun legalising cannabis in recent years. 

While the legalisation for medical use has been widespread, there have also been successful legalisation campaigns in several countries. 

The situation in Switzerland is also in flux and has been complicated by a range of recent changes.

Whether referred to as cannabis, marijuana or hemp, Switzerland’s Narcotics Act qualifies it as “a psychoactive substance”, with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being its most intoxicating ingredient.

The law specifies that “only THC is controlled under the Narcotics Act. Other active substances like cannabidiol (CBD) are not subject to the Narcotics Act as they do not have comparable psychoactive effects”.

Here’s what you need to know. 

Switzerland has legalised medical marijuana 

As of August 1st, the use of cannabis for medical purposes will be allowed in Switzerland

Patients who are medically prescribed the drug will no longer need to seek exceptional permission from the health ministry, as was the case prior to August 1st. 

Demand for cannabis-based treatments has risen sharply, with the health ministry issuing 3,000 exceptional authorisations in 2019.

The government “intends to facilitate access to cannabis for medical use for patients” and was therefore lifting the ban on its use for that purpose, it said in a statement.

The previous procedure involved “tedious administrative procedures”, said the ministry. “Sick people must be able to access these medicines without excessive bureaucracy.”

As of August 1st, “the decision as to whether a cannabis medicinal product is to be used therapeutically will be made by the doctor together with the patient” the government wrote

The sale and consumption of cannabis for non-medical purposes will remain prohibited.

READ MORE: Switzerland to lift ban on medical use cannabis

The new regulations could benefit thousands of people suffering from severe chronic pain, it added, including those with cancer and multiple sclerosis.

READ ALSO: Why Basel is about to become Switzerland’s marijuana capital

The law change will also mean that the cultivation, processing, manufacture and trade of cannabis for medical use will be subject to the Swissmedic regulatory authority, just as with other narcotics for medical use such as cocaine, methadone and morphine.

Legality of recreational cannabis is determined by the THC

THC of at least 1 percent is generally prohibited in Switzerland and use of products with this (or higher) content may be punishable by a 100-franc fine.

Of course, if someone is determined to smoke it, 100 francs may not be much a deterrent — but that’s a subject for another article.

“By contrast, possession of up to 10g of cannabis for personal use is not considered a criminal offence”, the law states, as long as it is not used by or sold to minors.

Italy's constitutional court has blocked the latest efforts to legalise cannabis.

Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP.

And, as with nearly everything else in decentralised Switzerland, “there are still considerable differences between cantons regarding implementation of the fixed penalty procedure”.

However, “cannabis flowers intended for smoking with a high proportion of cannabidiol (CBD) and less than 1 percent THC can be sold and purchased legally”, according to the legislation. 

That’s because, unlike the THC, cannabidiol “does not have a psychoactive effect”.

In other words, low-content THC and CBD will not give the “high” that recreational users seek.

When will Switzerland legalise recreational cannabis?

Currently, small amounts of recreational cannabis are tolerated in Switzerland.

“The decisive factor for classification as a banned drug is how much THC is contained in a cannabis product. If the THC content exceeds one per cent, the product is prohibited. Hashish is prohibited regardless of its THC content.”

As noted by the Swiss government, “If you are caught in possession of a small amount of cannabis (no more than 10 grams) for your own consumption, you will not be fined. In addition, if you supply (but do not sell) up to 10 grams to an adult, e.g. when sharing joints, you will not be fined.”

“If you are caught using cannabis, you may be given a fixed penalty fine of 100 francs.”

In June 2020, the National Council approved a plan to start cannabis trials for recreational use.

The experiments are to be carried out in Switzerland’s larger cities. Basel, Bern, Biel, Geneva and Zurich have all expressed interest in conducting the trials. 

The study seeks to find out how the market for cannabis works – and how to combat the black market. The social effects of legalisation will also be examined. 

At this point, no decisions have been made. However, Swiss authorities have set certain conditions in case recreational use is approved.

The National Council said if cannabis were to be legalised, it must be locally grown in Switzerland – and it must be organic. 

Health Minister Alain Berset noted that legalisation should benefit Swiss farmers even though “very few producers have experience in this area”.

READ MORE: Switzerland backs recreational cannabis trials – with one condition

Can you grow your own cannabis?

In truth, a number of people cultivate marijuana plants on their balconies or in their (secluded) gardens for their own personal use.

As it turns out, the law allows it, as long as it is a variety of the plant that does not have a narcotic effect — that is, the THC content must be less than 1 percent. 

By the same token, cannabis-based products with THC content of below 1 percent can be brought into Switzerland from abroad.

However, the import rules differ depending on the type of product  it is — flowers, seeds, extracts, oils, or other goods.

How much cannabis is consumed in Switzerland each year?

Precise numbers are hard to come by, but according to an article in Le Temps, which based its information on a medical study, about 100 tonnes are consumed in the country annually.

Cannabis remains the largest market in terms of volume: it represents 85 percent of drugs consumed in Switzerland, netting between 340, 000 and 500,000 francs per year.

READ MORE: Drugs and alcohol: Just how much do the Swiss consume?