Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
New domestic and international train connections for 2023, rents are set to increase sharply, and other Swiss news in or roundup on Wednesday.
SBB: more trains to tourist regions and abroad
With the entry into force of the 2023 timetable on December 11th, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) will expand their existing service to tourist regions, the company announced on Tuesday.
For instance, while currently it is not possible to travel from the French-speaking Switzerland to Graubünden without changes, two direct trains will link the region with the canton’s capital, Chur on weekends.
The Verbier Express train, which connects Geneva Airport to Châble, as well as the VosAlpes Express train, linking Fribourg to Châble, will be circulating on weekends and public holidays during the winter of 2022/2023.
As for international connections, additional night trains from Zurich will go to Prague via Leipzig and Dresden. Also, an additional train will run between Zurich and Stuttgart.
More seats on night trains to Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna and Graz will be added as well.
Strong rent increases are expected in the coming years
Not only is a shortage of vacant apartments looming in 2023, but tenants in Switzerland are also facing steep rent increases.
How steep? According to new estimates released on Tuesday by the Cantonal Bank of Zurich (ZKB), they could go up by 15 percent over the next five years.
That’s because the reference mortgage rate, used for setting rents and which has been at 1.25 percent since March 2020, is expected to gradually increase next year, rising to 2.5 percent by 2027.
These increases will have "a direct consequence on the tenants’ wallets," especially in view of low vacancy rates on the Swiss real estate market.
In all, more than 70 percent of tenants will likely by affected by these increases, the bank said.
Switzerland is the most car-friendly European country
The Swiss have already been named European champions of train travel, and now they are the kings of the road as well.
An international association of motorists has named Switzerland the most car-friendly country in Europe out of 33 nations that were analysed in the study.
This assessment is based on the number of road deaths, the road network, its quality, traffic density, and the price of fuel.
In terms of bottlenecks, the relatively low density of 604 cars per 1000 inhabitants means Switzerland also has fewer traffic jams than its European neighbours.
OECD lowers its growth forecast for Switzerland
The war in Ukraine will continue to have a negative impact on the Swiss economy as the export-oriented country faces the slowdown in international demand, according to new projections that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released on Tuesday.
“The fallout from the war will further weaken international demand and slow trade and investment," OECD noted.
Also, sluggish Swiss consumers will dampen private spending, while inflation – with the expected rise in electricity prices – will remain above the price stability target of the Swiss National Bank, the report said.
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