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Swiss rents: This is where cheapest and priciest apartments are

How cheap or expensive a rental property is in Switzerland depends on many factors, the primary one being location. Here’s an overview of where the highest and lowest rents are right now.

Swiss rents: This is where cheapest and priciest apartments are
How expensive this apartment is depends on its location. Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

This is what we already know in regards to Switzerland’s rental market: apartments are cheaper/more expensive in some cantons and regions than in others.

As a rule, areas in and around major cities and economic hubs (especially multi-national ones) have higher property prices — both for tenants and home buyers — than smaller, more remote towns and rural areas.

For instance, rents in the region of Zug and Zurich, as well as Lake Geneva (which comprises the city and canton of Geneva, and parts of Vaud), are the highest in Switzerland, while Jura, Neuchâtel and non-touristic areas of Valais are much cheaper.

READ MORE: These maps reveal where rent prices are highest in Switzerland

However, the news platform Watson took a slightly different approach in analysing not just the cantons, but 101 labour market regions within.

“These areas, which have been in force since 2019, are delimited according to living and working spaces, and are based on the movements of workers between their place of residence and place of work”, Watson explains.

The news outlet compared the prices for 3.5, 4.5 and 5.5-room apartments in various employment markets, based on Homegate listings.

The findings confirmed the general trend: “The closer to the centre of a large city, the more expensive it gets. The demand there is greater than the supply.”

3.5 room apartment

In 2021, the lowest median rent for a 3.5-room apartment (a two-bedroom flat) was in the labour market regions of Visp (Valais) and Samedan-Pontresina (Graubünden).

The lowest rent for nine flats of this size was 500 francs.

The other low-rent areas:

  • Biasca (Ticino): median price 950 francs
  • Tramelan-Valbirse (Bern): median price 995 francs
  • Delémont (Jura): median price 1,075 francs

On the other hand, “anyone who wanted a 3.5-room apartment in Le Grand-Saconnex near Geneva had to dig deeper into their pockets”, Watson noted.

The median price in 2021 in this posh district of Geneva was 4,950 francs, with the cheapest apartment costing 3,100 francs a month. The other two Geneva communities with the highest rents are Vernier-Lancy (3,500 francs median rent) and Thônex–Chêne-Bougeries (3,000 francs).

“Rents in the Lake Geneva region are among the highest. Not only the location on the lake plays a role, but also the economic potential”, Simon Hurst, Senior Consultant at the real estate appraiser IAZI/CIFI told Watson.

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

Rents in Geneva are among the highest in Switzerland. Photo: Pixabay

4.5-room apartment

The cheapest three-bedroom flats — 955 francs — can be found in Moutier, Jura.

The other ones are in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchâtel, where the median price is 1,045 francs, followed by Brig-Glis, Valais (1,050), and Biasca, Ticino (1,075).

As far as the highest rents, they can again be found in the Lake Geneva region, with Zurich not far behind:

  • Geneva: median price 3,400 francs
  • Zurich: 3,130 francs
  • Küsnacht (Zurich) 2,990

5.5-room apartment

The rental market of this size is comparatively small, so there were fewer than 50 advertisements in 50 labour market regions, according to Watson.

The lowest median rent, 1,435 francs, was found  in Brig-Glis (Bern), followed by La Chaux-de-Fonds (1,490), and Widnau-Au (St. Gallen), 1,655 francs.

The highest prices are, again, in the Zurich and Lake Geneva  areas: median price in Zurich: 4,275, in Geneva: 4,200, in Nyon (Vaud): 4,000.

But if you think this is expensive, just wait: in the fashionable resort of St. Moritz (Graubünden), the median price is a whopping 13,365 francs for a 5.5-room flat.

However, Hurst put this numbers into perspective “We don’t have enough details about the properties there, but St. Moritz is a special market”.

“I assume that many of the advertisements are for holiday properties, mostly luxury apartments”, he said.

READ MORE: How rent prices vary in different cities in Switzerland

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For members


REVEALED: Which city has Switzerland’s cheapest beer?

Anyone looking for a cheap pint in Switzerland is likely to struggle no matter where they are, but there are still good deals to be had for a cold, frosty one.

REVEALED: Which city has Switzerland’s cheapest beer?

Some research carried out in Switzerland is more important to consumers than others.  

This one definitely fits under the ‘news you can use’ category.

A recent survey conducted by consumer website Hellosafe compared the price of a half a litre of beer in 29 cities in different cantons.

The prices come from 2022 and have incorporated recent spikes in cost for beer producers. 

READ MORE: Seven beers to try in Switzerland

Where is Switzerland’s cheapest beer? 

The study found that one of the cheapest pints, at 5.22 francs, can be had in Aarau, followed by Bern  (5.92).

While it is one of the world’s most expensive cities, a big mug of beer in Zurich costs “only”  6.96 francs, four cents less than in another relatively inexpensive location, the Valais capital of Sion.

Where is Switzerland’s most expensive pint of beer? 

Beer lovers in the west of Switzerland would be better off sticking to wine, with French-speaking Switzerland charging the most when it comes to beer anywhere in the country. 

The priciest half-litres are in Geneva (7.72 francs) and Lausanne (7.96).

Reader question: Can you drink in public in Switzerland?

Next on the list are Basel and Davos, which may appear to have very little in common with each other besides beer costing CHF7.03 per pint. 

What does the future hold? 

The study also looked ahead at how the war in Ukraine is likely to increase the cost of cereals used to manufacture beer, impacting the price of the end product.

Grain prices in Switzerland are expected to rise by 4 percent per tonne by the end of 2022, which will see price increases in several parts of the country. 

Accordingly, the price of a pint in Lausanne could increase by 32 cents and reach CHF 8.28. 

If Hellosafe’s estimates are correct, then the price of beer will increase the least in Olten, Langenthal, Chur and Arbon.

Beer in Switzerland

While Switzerland may be known internationally more for wine, beer has seen a strong surge in interest in recent years – particularly since the pandemic. 

Switzerland now boasts the highest density of breweries anywhere in Europe, with the Covid crisis a major factor in transforming the country into a beer hub. 

READ MORE: How the Covid crisis led to a boom in Swiss beer production

In 2020, 80 new breweries were established in Switzerland. 

Switzerland now has 1,212 breweries – which gives it a higher ratio of breweries to people than any of the other big brewing nations in Europe, including Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Belgium. 

Just ten years ago, Switzerland had only 246 breweries, while in 1990 there were only 32 breweries in the entire country, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports.