Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
More refugees are expected this autumn, mortgage rates are now lower, and other news from Switzerland on Tuesday.
Switzerland prepares for new influx of Ukrainians
While close to 60,000 people from Ukraine are already in Switzerland, the government is expecting many more to come in the fall.
The reason for another refugee wave is also war-related: the lack of heating fuel will push thousands of people to leave the country before the weather turns cold.
Consequently, the search for accommodations for refugees fleeing Ukraine “is expected to intensify in the coming months”, according to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).
The cantons are under increasing pressure to find housing solutions for expected arrivals, as they had been when the first rush of refugees started to come to Switzerland in March.
Demand for air-conditioning is growing in Switzerland
It is rare for Swiss households to have air-conditioning units, but due to extremely hot weather in the past weeks, with another heatwave forecast for this week, there is more demand for these cooling units.
While in most cantons fixed installations in private homes are subject to various rules and .authorisations, mobile air conditioners are allowed and an increasing number of people are buying these bulky units in search of some relief.
The Interdiscount store in Geneva’s section of Charmilles, for example, sold 50 percent more air conditioners so far this summer compared to the same period in 2021, and the trend is expected to continue.
“With the evolution of the climate, we have to rethink and redefine summer comfort”, according to Cédric Petitjean, director of Geneva’s energy office.
READ MORE: 40C: Switzerland set for another heatwave
Winter “comfort” will be re-defined too
When the weather turns cold, many Zurich residents may look back at this year’s heatwave with longing and nostalgia.
That’s because gas shortage is looming and in order save electricity, the city’s government will call on households to lower the temperature from the usual 23 degrees to 20.
"If all households were to implement this, it would make a difference overall," said Martin Neukom, head of Zurich’s construction sector.
Other cantons are getting ready for the impending gas crisis as well, not ruling out countrywide restrictions on electricity consumption.
Swiss mortgages: first up and now down
While the price of properties remains high, there is some good news on the mortgage front: fixed-term interest rates now fell slightly to 2.29 percent, after peaking at 2.58 percent on June 22nd.
Does this mean home ownership will become more affordable?
While lower mortgage rates may offset somewhat the cost of buying a home, much will depend on where the property is located — you will likely not find any bargains in either Zurich or Geneva, or other cities / cantons with a large concentration of international companies like Zug, Basel and Vaud.
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