Best Place To Buy a House in Switzerland [2022]

The homeownership rate is relatively low in Switzerland, but this doesn’t make buying a property a bad investment. Thanks to the low mortgage rates and reasonable taxes, having your own house or apartment is more beneficial. When buying your first home in Switzerland, location plays a crucial role. What places are the best, the cheapest, and the worst?

The best places to buy real estate in Switzerland include smaller cities Winterthur, Uster, Wetzikon, Fribourg, and Yverdon-les-Bains. They are located in close proximity to major Swiss cities like Zurich, Geneva, and Bern but offer lower property prices. This factor gives you great job opportunities without paying a lot for housing.

Are you looking to buy a house in Switzerland to live there yourself, or it’s purely an investment? In any case, you should know what cities are most suitable and advantageous when it comes to the purchase of a house. We did the research and picked the best location for your new home.

You also want to read this article on house prices in Switzerland.

Best places to buy a property in Switzerland 

We have defined the best place to buy a home in Switzerland as places that are less expensive to live and buy real estate than major cities like Zurich or Geneva.

Yet, these places aren’t far away from significant Switzerland cities, so if you have a job in a large city, you can easily reach it by car or train. Therefore, you will have similar career opportunities as you were living in a major Swiss city.

Best cities

The cities to buy a house in Switzerland which are close to Zurich include:

  • Winterthur
  • Wädenswil
  • Uster
  • Wetzikon
  • Dübendorf
  • Dietikon
  • Horgen

If you want to buy a property in Lausanne, check out Fribourg, Yverdon-les-Bains, and Bulle. These cities are just 30 minutes away from Lausanne.

Best communities

If you work in Zurich and are okay with commuting less than 30 minutes to work, it is worth considering communities like Oberembrach, Rorbas, and Hüttikon.

Communities like Olten, Frauenfeld, and Aarau are about 30-40 minutes away from Zurich. Prices on property in these locations are significantly lower than in Zurich.

If you work in Geneva, the best communities nearby are Russin, La Rippe and Crassier.

However, if your goal is the buy a property in a major Swiss city, houses in Basel, Bern, Lausanne, and Lugano offer the best value for money, according to real estate experts.

1. Winterthur

“Winterthur from above”
  • Average price per m² for an apartment – 9,032 CHF and ranges from 6,422 – 14,921 CHF
  • Average price per m² for a house – 9,757 CHF, ranges from 6,342 – 15,338 CHF

Winterthur is a city located in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.

Winterthur’s popularity among workers from Zurich is rising every year. The growth of new residents has been continuous in recent years. At the moment, the population of Winterthur is 114,184; it’s the sixth-largest city in Switzerland.

The strategic location of this place gives you excellent career opportunities. This relatively big city (by Swiss standards) is located in close proximity to Zurich.

That allows you to have a short commute to work but live in a city with very well-developed infrastructure and a wide range of free time activities, including various cultural offers.

In fact, Winterthur is one of Switzerland’s significant cultural cities, with 16 museums.

Winterthur has it all:

  • Schools
  • University
  • Plenty of shopping options
  • Cafes, bars, restaurants and clubs for any taste
  • High quality of life

In addition, home prices are significantly lower than in Zurich. Moreover, Zurich Airport is located just 15 kilometers away.

The most significant benefit of buying a property in Winterthur is its location. It’s situated very close to Zurich. You will reach it within 18 minutes train ride.

Rent prices houses

The median rent for houses in Winterthur is 2,500 CHF per month. The monthly rent for 80% of properties is between 508 CHF and 3,820 CHF.

Rent prices apartments

The median rent for apartments in Winterthur is 1,600 CHF. The monthly rent of 80% of flats falls within the range between 816 CHF and 2,480 CHF.

2. Uster

  • Average price per m² for an apartment – 10,381 CHF and ranges from 7,381 – 17,149 CHF
  • Average price per m² for a house – 11,195 CHF and ranges from 7,277 – 17,599 CHF

Uster is a smaller than Winterthur town located in the same German-speaking area next to Zurich. Hence, Uster is also situated in the canton of Zurich. It is the third largest town in this canton, with about 35,000 people living there.

You will have all the needed infrastructure and amenities. You can also live very close to a lake which is called Greifensee.

Home prices are pretty high in Uster, but they are still significantly lower than in Zurich.

Similar to Winterthur, Uster is in proximity to Zurich. In fact, you can rich the Swiss capital within 14 min on public transport.

Rent prices houses

The median monthly rent for houses in Uster is 3,479 CHF which isn’t the cheapest on our list. Most properties are rented for 2,420 CHF and 3,690 CHF per month.

Rent prices apartments

The median rent for apartments is 1,780 CHF per month. The rent for 80% of flats falls between 950 CHF and 2,800 CHF.

Read more about rent prices in Switzerland.

3. Wetzikon

"Near the city Wetzikon"
“Near the city Wetzikon”
  • Average price per m² for an apartment – 9,066 CHF; prices range from 6,446 – 14,977 CHF
  • Average price per m² for a house – 9,943 CHF and prices range from 6,463 – 15,630 CHF

Wetzikon is also a German-speaking small town near Zurich, allowing you to be in the Swiss capital after just 20 min of commute by train. It’s great for families who want to go on hikes and live a simple life while being just a short drive away from Zurich.

As of 2020, Wetzikon has about 25,056 people living there. Worth to note that the population has increased by 18.8% in the last 10 years.

However, Wetzikon might appear as a boring city with less to offer to international residents. For most entertainment options, you probably need to head to Zurich. That said, if you want to have a quiet life and you work in Zurich, this is a perfect place.

Rent prices houses

The median rent for houses in Wetzikon is 2,650 CHF per month. The rent of 80% of all homes ranges between 1,550 CHF and 3,375 CHF.

Rent prices apartments

Apartments cost almost the same as in Uster. The median rent for apartments in Wetzikon is 1,800 CHF. The rent for 80% of properties falls between 1,084 CHF and 2,582 CHF.

4. Fribourg

“The city of Fribourg”
  • Average price per m² for an apartment – 6,713 CHF; prices range from 5,458 – 8,552 CHF
  • Average price per m² for a house – 6,729 CHF with a range from 4,744  to 9,320 CHF

The city of Fribourg is located in a completely different part of the country, hence, the contrast in home prices. Fribourg is a French-speaking city situated near major Swiss cities like Lausanne and Bern.

It lies on the border with the German-speaking region of Switzerland.

With a population of 38,829 people, Fribourg is a pretty significant city in the region of western Switzerland. Moreover, it has a beautiful medieval old town overlooking the Sarine River.

There you will find plenty of sightseeings, including the Gothic Fribourg Cathedral.

Fribourg is a beautiful city. Not only are property prices incredibly affordable by Swiss standards, but you are also a short drive away from other significant cities like Lausanne and Bern.

It’s about 40 minutes away from Lausanne by public transport. Yet, it’s even closer to one of Switzerland’s largest cities, Bern. You will be at your destination just within 22 minutes of the train ride.

But don’t mistake it for German Freiburg im Breisgau; these are two totally different cities. Fribourg is one of the larger cities in French-speaking Switzerland after Geneva, Lausanne, Biel/Bienne, and Neuchâtel.

Moreover, Fribourg is an important economic, administrative and educational center with all infrastructure you ever need and even a bilingual university (University of Fribourg).

Rent prices houses

The median rent for houses in Fribourg is 2,080 CHF. The monthly rent of 80% of properties falls within the range between 526 CHF and 3,380 CHF.

Rent prices apartments

The median rent for apartments is 1,350 CHF per month. The monthly rent of 80% of all flats falls within the range between 700 CHF and 1,950 CHF.

5. Yverdon-les-Bains

  • Average price per m² for an apartment – 8,037 CHF; price ranges from 5,039 – 12,658 CHF
  • Average price per m² for a house – 7,809 CHF; prices range from 4,420 – 12,502 CHF

City Yverdon-les-Bains is also situated in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, just 30 km or 21 minutes away from the city of Lausanne and 50 minutes from Geneva by train.

With 29,955 people living there, about 32% are foreigners. Yverdon-les-Bains is the second-largest municipality in the canton of Vaud. The majority of residents are French-speaking (82.6%); however, you will also find Serbo-Croatian (3.9%) and Portuguese (3.5%) speakers.

Yverdon-les-Bains is a beautiful city on Lake Neuchâtel. It’s known for the spa and historic old town with cobbled streets. In fact, Les-Bains is French and means bathing resort.

There are also some sights you can visit. Overall, it’s a great place to buy a reasonably priced home. The city is close to very expensive property markets like Geneva and Lausanne. Yet, you can get a house here for a fraction of the price.

Rent prices houses

The median rent for houses in Yverdon-les-Bains is 2,200 CHF per month, which is reasonably affordable considering the prices mentioned before. Most properties are rented for between 1,320 CHF and 2,700 CHF.

Rent prices apartments

The median monthly rent for an average apartment is 1,486 CHF. The majority of apartments are rented for a price between 800 CHF and 2,122 CHF per month.

Cheapest place to buy a house in Switzerland 

Houses are sold at very high price-tags in Switzerland. This is the main reason for low homeownership in the country. Yet, there are some surprisingly affordable places too!

Properties are the cheapest in the following Swiss cantons: Appenzell, Uri and Glarus. In addition to lower house prices in these regions, taxes and other expenses are also reasonable.

Other affordable places for home buyers are also located in more rural areas like Valais, Ausserrhoden, Thurgau, Jura, and Schaffhausen.

If you don’t want to live in a Swiss village, the French-speaking town La Chaux-de-Fonds is one of the least expensive cities where you can buy a house. The average price per square meter is around 3,250 – 3,500 CHF.

Besides that, houses in Italian-speaking northern Ticino (Leventina, Blenio) are considerably less expensive. For example, the average price for a home with 5 to 6.5 rooms is 450,000 CHF.

In the table below, you can see house prices in the cheapest cities and communities in Switzerland:

LocationAverage price/m2
Raron (VS)6,000 CHF
Leventina (TI)4,700 CHF
La-Chaux-de-Fonds (NE)3,500 CHF
Delsberg (JU)3,500 CHF
Delemont (JU)4,300 CHF
Goms (VS)5,000 CHF
Hinterland (AR)5,000 CHF
Gösgen (SO)6,000 CHF
Leuk (VS) 4,300 CHF
Porrentruy (JU)4,000 CHF
Source: realadvisor.ch

House prices in Switzerland

The average price of a single-family home in Switzerland is around 1,050,000 CHF. However, in Zurich, it’s over 3 million CHF, and 2,8 million CHF in Geneva. The average price per square meter for an apartment is about 7,400 CHF across the country.

Here are average house prices across Switzerland as of November 2022:

CantonHouse price/m2Apartment price/m2
Geneva13,50713,587
Zug14,33314,389
Schwyz10,27710,465
Basel-city9,8899,780
Zurich8,8508,942
Waadt8,2358,101
Nidwalden7,6178,500
Obwalden7,2507,258
Luzern6,9776,923
Basel-area6,8867,969
Uri6,6009,068
Aargau6,2986,389
Thurgau6,0385,914
St. Gallen6,0375,933
Freiburg5,9245,714
Appenzell5,5936,348
Solothurn5,5265,222
Bern5,4625,827
Tessin5,4107,438
Neuenburg5,2785,283
Wallis5,2485,313
Schaffhausen4,9536,170
Graubünden4,7679,286
Glarus3,7445,629
Jura3,2504,304
Switzerland average 6,8207,385

Here are home prices in the most populated Swiss cities:

LocationProperty prices, CHF /m²
Switzerland average 7,400
Basel9,750
Bern7,850
Geneva14,290
Lausanne10,290
Zurich13,490
Source: Wüest Partner, Zürich

You can see the real estate prices across all Swiss cantons on the graph below:

Most expensive places to buy a house in Switzerland 

Properties are most expensive in Sant Moritz, Geneva, Zurich, Zug, Vaud, Basel, and Entremont district in the Valais with the ski resort of Verbier. These places offer the best job opportunities but cost significantly more to live in. Everything, from home prices to rents and taxes, is high.

Here are average house prices in the most expensive areas of main Swiss cities (in CHF):

  1. Kilchberg Zurich: 2,97 million
  2. Geneva: 2,89 million
  3. Zollikon Zurich: 2,60 million
  4. Cologny Geneva: 2,59 million
  5. Rüschlikon Zurich: 2,53 million
  6. Zug: 2,50 million
  7. Küsnacht Zurich: 2,49 million
  8. Herrliberg Zurich: 2,47 million
  9. Erlenbach Zurich: 2,45 million
  10. Zürich overall: 2,43 million

Buying a house as a foreigner in Switzerland

Buying a home in Switzerland as a foreigner is possible, but it will involve some limitations. Your possibilities mainly depend on your nationality and your residential status in Switzerland. The state has restrictions for buyers who are non-residents.

Foreign buyers are able to purchase real estate in ski resorts in Cantons Bern, Graubünden, Obwalden, Uri, Vaud & Valais.

You can see the allowed areas on a map below:

Source: www.investorsinproperty.com

You can see more on limitations for foreigners here.

Foreigners non-residents (who don’t live in Switzerland) must also follow the rules when choosing a property, including:

  • It must be located in a tourist area
  • The living area may not exceed 200m²
  • The land area may not exceed 1,000m²
  • The property can not be rented out

Besides that, foreign nationals living outside Switzerland can have only one home in the country.

However, the situation changes as soon as you have a Swiss Residence Permit category C. For non-EU buyers, it’s a mandatory document to be able to buy a house in other locations and without following the rules mentioned above.

That said, EU and EFTA nationals have the same rights regarding the home purchase as Swiss citizens as long as they live in Switzerland. They don’t need authorization to purchase a property.

Additionally, investors need to consider the cost of buying a house in Switzerland.

The total home purchase costs are usually between 2.5% to 3.8% of the property price (purchase tax, land registry fees & notary’s fee) in most Swiss cantons. Canton Vaud is the most expensive, with a rate of about 5%.

Mortgages

Most home buyers don’t have enough savings and will need to take out a bank loan for a house in Switzerland. Swiss banks land to foreigners who reside in the country. Usually, the mortgage is possible up to 70% to 80% of the purchase price.

If you work in Switzerland, the monthly mortgage payment should be less than 33% of your monthly income.

Buying a house in Switzerland with a permit B

Many foreign nationals reside in Switzerland under a B permit. You might be wondering if it’s enough to buy a house in the country.

Foreigners are allowed to buy real estate with a B permit without limitations, but it only relates to EU/EFTA nationals. Therefore, EU citizens can purchase residential real estate in Switzerland without any restrictions.

At the same time, non-EU citizens (including British citizens) will receive the same rights only with permit C.

With a permit B, they must obtain authorisation in order to buy a holiday home, a residential unit in a serviced apartment building, or a second home. That said, you can buy a house that is intended to be your permanent living space without approval from the state.

Cross-border commuters (G permit) from the European states can buy real estate in the area where they work without authorisation. But they aren’t allowed to rent it out if they are still working in this area as cross-border commuters. After you relocate to another region, you can rent it out.

Anna

Anna is an enthusiastic expatriate with experience of living in Germany, Austria and Greece. She shares her passion for living abroad on this website.

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