Today in Switzerland For Members

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 12 May, 2023 Updated Fri 12 May 2023 08:20 CEST
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Parts of the A1 motorway (here between Lausanne and Geneva) will be widened. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Moves to allot living space based on the number of tenants; housing shortage to be debated in Bern today; and other Swiss news in our Friday roundup.


Group calls for capping the number of tenants in apartments

Various solutions have been proposed by real estate experts and government officials to overcome Switzerland's housing shortage.

The latest one, which comes from the Swiss Tenants Association (ASLOCA), recommends limiting the living space allowed for each person, as is already the case in cooperatives and public housing.

This means that a single tenant would be entitled to a maximum of two rooms, thus making larger accommodations available for families.

City and canton officials from all over Switzerland, as well as representatives of various associations from the construction and housing sectors, will meet today with the Economy Minister Guy Parmelin to discuss this, and other possible solutions, to the shortage. 

And in other housing news…

The vacancy rate for dwellings in Switzerland is currently 1.31 percent — well above the long-term national average of 1.07 percent, according to a study published on Thursday by Raiffeisen bank

However, these figures don’t show that the problem is geographical: the housing market has dried up in some parts of the country but not the others.

Vacancies will remain well below the average, meaning that housing will soon become significantly more expensive for more and more households, the bank reported.

READ ALSO: Should foreigners in Switzerland live in the city or the countryside?


Major Swiss motorway to be widened
The Federal Council has accepted a motion on Thursday to enlarge the A1 motorway to at least six lanes on the Bern-Zurich and Lausanne-Geneva sections.

The A1, which is 410 km long, represents a fifth of the entire national road network.

The current two to three lanes in each direction can no longer handle the heavy traffic, causing bottlenecks during peak hours.

The A1 is one of the “most chronically overloaded” parts of the country, the study’s authors revealed, which leads MPs to believe that additional lanes will help the traffic on this motorway to flow better.


The Swiss feel healthier than other Europeans
Perhaps because they have one of the highest life expectancies in the world, people in Switzerland feel healthier than residents of any other country in Europe.

This is the outcome of a report published on Thursday by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) as part of a Europe-wide survey. 

Only 3.9 percent of the Swiss people surveyed rated their state of health as bad or rather bad. In the European Union, this rate is more than twice as high — 8.8 percent.

However, according to FSO, this assessment varies, depending, among other things, on income.

The proportion of Swiss respondents in the lowest income group who assessed their state of health as bad or rather bad was 8.4 percent. In the highest income group, on the other hand, this proportion was only 1.2 percent.
Figures for both groups were still better than elsewhere in Europe.

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