Renting in Zurich: Why sticking to one apartment will save you money

Sandra Sparrowhawk
Sandra Sparrowhawk - [email protected]
Renting in Zurich: Why sticking to one apartment will save you money
The Swiss city of Zurich. Photo by Ilia Bronskiy on Unsplash

Renters in Zurich who frequently move around will pay more rent than those who have been living in their flat for a long time, a new study reveals. But why is that?

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So far, there has been little information at the cantonal level on the extent of the difference between those recently agreeing their entering a rental agreement and those who have been renting long-term. A new publication by the Statistical Office of the Canton of Zurich now sheds light on the situation.

According to the study, households that have not changed residence for a long time pay less rent than those who move around.

For example, between 2016 and 2020 those in long term rental agreements paid on average a net monthly rent of CHF 1,840 for a four-room apartment in the canton of Zurich and those newly moving in paid a whopping CHF 2,100.


READ ALSO: Where are property and rent prices rising the most in Switzerland?

However, this figure conceals major differences in terms of the year the property was built as well as the region it is situated in. Apartments in Zurich built between 1945 and 1970, for instance, are the cheapest to rent, while newly built apartments are understandably the most expensive. Gunning for an apartment in the city or near the lake will also set you back more than relocating to the countryside – no matter the size.

READ ALSO: How can I reduce my rent price in Switzerland?

New rent agreements are more costly than longterm rents - especially in the city of Zurich

If we are to compare the rent of the households moving in with the rent of the longterm households, the same pattern emerges regardless of the apartment size and price region: Longterm households essentially pay less than new renters.

The differences between longterm and new rents are particularly notable in the city of Zurich where the vacancy rate is also lowest, and most households rent, thus demand is always high. On the other hand, the differences in rent are small in the less expensive municipalities, most of which are in the northern and western regions of the canton.

READ ALSO: How to find a flat to rent in Zurich

So, what’s behind the difference?

The study found that households opting to move out of their residence have often not lived in their apartments very long and therefore already pay higher rent prices. As a result, the rent cost for the subsequent vacant apartments is already significantly higher than those apartments in longterm rents. Hence the reason why those moving in will also pay a higher rent price.

Still, there are exceptions, especially in the cheaper, mostly peripheral communities in the north and east of the canton of Zurich where around 70 per cent of households rent.

As a general tip, it makes more sense to commit to an apartment longer term if you are looking to save money on rent.




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