Why does Zug have Switzerland’s 'most acute' housing shortage?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Why does Zug have Switzerland’s 'most acute' housing shortage?
There's no place to build in Zug. Image by Tao Gutekunst from Pixabay

Finding an affordable place to live in the tiny Swiss canton is nearly impossible, with the number of reasonably priced rental options becoming scarcer each year.

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When there is talk about scarcity of housing in Switzerland, usually Zurich is cited as the worst case.

However, according to an analysis by Watson news platform, which is based on data from the Federal Statistical Office, “nowhere else in Switzerland is the housing shortage as acute as in Zug".

In 2023, for instance there were 6,731 fewer vacant apartments compared to the previous year, which corresponds to a decrease of nearly 11 percent.

Overall, the vacancy rate in Zug is 0.42 percent.

What exactly does it mean?

To those unfamiliar with real estate metrics, “the lower the number, the fewer vacant apartments there are," according to the report.

By comparison, in Zurich, which is also in the throes of housing crisis, that number is 0.53  percent.

This scarcity has an effect of rents.

“A look at the common real estate platforms online shows a depressing picture for the canton of Zug," Watson noted.

For instance, a 2.5-room apartment rents for 5,000 francs, a 3.5-room apartment for 7,700 francs, and a 3.5-room attic apartment for 10 ,400 francs.

“For the few empty apartments that exist, landlords rarely charge less than 4,000 francs a month."


Why is Zug hit so severely by the housing crisis?

A few reasons are cited by real estate professionals.

Firstly, “because of its low taxes, Zug is a very attractive place to live, and for company headquarters as well,” according to Casha Frigo, a broker at Engel and Völkers realtors in Zug.

READ ALSO: Why does the canton of Zug have Switzerland's lowest taxes?

And Zug does, indeed, have a high concentration of multinational companies, the largest of which is the mining giant, Glencore.

Another reason for the housing shortage is that the potential for building new apartments in and around the canton’s 11 municipalities is being exhausted.

“Zug is small and has a lot of green spaces where building is not allowed,” Frigo pointed out. 


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