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Land of lessees Swiss continue to rent rather than buy houses

rental sign in front of apartment building

"For rent": owner-occupied dwellings are not the norm in Switzerland.


Some 59% of Swiss households were rentals in 2015, according to the most recent figures. The average monthly rent across the country came in at just over CHF1,300 ($1,395).

The numbers were released on Monday by the Federal Statistical Office and reflect the situation at the end of 2015, when 2.1 million rented accommodations were recorded.

The regions with the highest proportion of renting were the urban cantons of Basel City (83%) and Geneva (78%). At the other end of the scale came Valais and Jura, with 38% each.

+ Read more about the system of housing in Switzerland

In terms of prices, the net monthly average in 2015 came in at CHF1,306. The cantons of Zug, Schwyz and Zurich were the most expensive; Jura, Neuchâtel, and Glarus were cheapest (see chart).

swiss average rents
(Federal Statistical Office)

The statistical office also clarified that about half of such rentals (according to 2017 figures) involved private individuals and families. The other half were leased by public authorities, businesses, apartment associations and other groups.

Above all, the numbers show that Switzerland continues to be a land of renters. According to corresponding Eurostat figures for 2015external link, no country in the European Union has such a high proportion of renters as opposed to home owners.

In every one of the 28 EU member states, owner-occupied dwellings outnumbered rentals.

In non-EU Switzerland, barriers to home ownership such as high prices and steep mortgage requirements have prevented many from climbing onto the property ladder.


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