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Pandemic affects Swiss housing market

Detached houses in canton Zurich - family homes have also been affected by higher prices, experts say Keystone / Alessandro Della Bella

People in Switzerland have been looking for bigger or second homes during the coronavirus pandemic, fuelling housing shortages and pushing prices up. 

This is despite a more modest growth in the population, which is one of the main drivers of demand, and growth “within normal limits” of the foreign resident population in pandemic year 2020, Switzerland’s Federal Office for Housing (FOH) said on FridayExternal link

There was a shortage of rental properties in 2020, especially in the lower price segment, but the middle and upper segments were also affected. Rental flats were in particularly short supply in the regions of Zurich, Zug, Bern and around Lake Geneva, according to the FOH. 

With regard to owner-occupied housing, it said the situation had hardly changed compared to 2019, with offers scarce and prices rising significantly. “Except in Ticino, there are hardly any places where people with little capital can find what they are looking for,” the office said. 

Detached houses, condominiums and the luxury segment have also been hit by higher prices. According to dataExternal link from the consultancy Fahrländer Partner, also released on Friday, prices for family homes rose by 1.5% in the second quarter of 2021, while condominiums were up 1%. In the upscale segment, house prices rose by 2.5%.  

The Swiss situation mirrors findings in other countries, such as the United KingdomExternal link, the United StatesExternal link  and neighbouring FranceExternal link which have also seen house prices rise during the pandemic. Housing and flat shortages have been reported in GermanyExternal link



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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR