The homeownership rate in Switzerland is one of the lowest in the world. So not many people buy properties there. If you are thinking of buying property in one of the most expensive countries on the planet, you must be aware of current prices. You might purchase real estate in Switzerland as a long-term investment or for personal living.
The average purchasing price of a single-family home in Switzerland is around 1,050,000 CHF, about 3,040,000 CHF in Zurich (almost three times more expensive), and 2,823,000 CHF in Geneva. The average price per square meter for an apartment was 7,400 CHF in 2020 across the country.
Property prices in Switzerland are higher than in many places in Europe, but mortgages have very low-interest rates. Also, the demand has been rising substantially over the past few years. If you are thinking about buying a home in the wealthiest country in the world, here are some pricing figures. Shortly, it’s not cheap at all. To learn about rental prices in Switzerland, check out this guide.
Cost of the house in Switzerland in 2022
The typical house price in Switzerland is around 1,050,000 CHF. On average, people spend about 6,100 CHF per square meter when buying a house.
The regional price differences are very significant, yet the average cost of a square meter is 6,100 CHF for a house. Apartments are more expensive, with 7,400 CHF per m² on average. Geneva region is the most expensive area to buy a single-family home, with average prices of 10,500 CHF per m².
In the Zurich region, prices in the urban centers are still well below the 10,000 CHF and 8,100 CHF mark.
According to analysts, housing prices in Switzerland have risen by 7% in the past 12 months and, despite the pandemic, show no signs of slowing down. Demand is greater than supply, partly due to Swiss laws banning the construction of dwellings in green space.
The cost of a house in Switzerland depends on:
- kanton (region)
- the neighborhood
- size of the home and land
- age of the construction
What is the best place to buy a home in Switzerland? Read here.
Some cities and regions are particularly desirable in Switzerland, and some are less. A home in a high-demand city can be 3-4 times more expensive than in a less-demanded place.
Besides, purchasing a property in Switzerland costs more than the initial house price. There are some additional costs buyers should count in the price, including:
- real estate agent commission (if applicable)
- notary and registry costs
- land transfer tax (if applicable)
- real estate tax
- security letter fee
- ongoing maintenance costs
Switzerland is a confederation of 26 autonomous cantons – fees and taxes vary from canton to canton, and the cost is usually borne by the purchaser but can be shared with the seller. Thus, check related sites on taxes and fees in your canton before buying real estate.
1. Agent’s fee
Homebuyers who use the services of a real estate agent usually have to pay the agent a commission. Both seller and buyer pay the broker fee in total between 1,5% and 3% of the property price. But the amount can be negotiable.
2. Notary costs
The notary can charge different amounts, generally between 0,1% and 0,5% of the purchase price.
3. Handänderungssteuer (taxes)
The real estate tax is between 1,5% and 3,3% of the purchase price. Plus registry fee is between 0,1% and 0,5%.
4. Security letter for a bank
If you take out a mortgage, a special security letter must be written for the bank. Buyers pay a fee of 0,1%-0,3% to issue such paper.
For example, to calculate additional costs, let’s assume you buy a house in canton Bern for 1,000,000 CHF, where the bank lent 80%. Therefore, a buyer pays around 7,300 CHF in fees.
Can a foreigner buy real estate in Switzerland?
Now you know about prices for Swiss properties, but can you buy one?
Not and yes. What does it mean? There are strict rules in place in Switzerland regarding foreign ownership. Foreigners may only buy a property in a tourist area. Foreigners are allowed to purchase chalets and apartments in most Swiss ski resorts as these are in tourist areas. In general, you may only buy residential property out if you
- are an EU or EFTA national with a Swiss residence permit who resides in Switzerland
- hold a Swiss C Permit
Otherwise, it’s only possible to buy in ski resorts in Cantons Bern, Graubünden, Obwalden, Uri, Vaud & Valais. Swiss property laws are highly regulated.
A non-resident may buy a holiday home in Switzerland upon approval from the canton where the property is located. Foreigners are really only permitted to buy in tourist areas and not in the cities.
Average house prices in Switzerland
As of January 2022, the average price per square meter for a house in Switzerland is 6,242 CHF, with the range covering between 3,100 CHF – 12,443 CHF. The median price for a house is 1,100,000 CHF.
For an apartment, the average cost per square meter is 6,879 CHF, with a range of 4,272 CHF – 14,290 CHF. Apartments’ median price is 717,793 CHF.
Average prices for apartments in different locations (2020):
|Location||Property prices, CHF /m²|
Average house prices in Switzerland as of November 2022:
|Canton||House price/m2||Apartment price/m2|
Generally, cantons Zug and Geneva have the highest property prices in Switzerland.
According to Realadvisor, average prices for properties in Switzerland are as follows:
|Property type||Average price|
|House: 4 rooms||CHF 820k|
|House: 5 rooms||CHF 995k|
|House: 6 rooms||CHF 1.27m|
|House: 7 rooms||CHF 1.49m|
|House: 8 rooms||CHF 1.9m|
|Property type||Average price|
|Apartment: 2 rooms||CHF 420k|
|Apartment: 3 rooms||CHF 625k|
|Apartment: 4 rooms||CHF 815k|
|Apartment: 5 rooms||CHF 1.15m|
Read about rent prices in Switzerland in our guide.
How much do you need to earn per month to buy a house in Switzerland?
Theoretically, a gross salary of 5,000 CHF per month is enough to buy your own home in Switzerland. The monthly mortgage payment should be less than 33% of your monthly income. Yet, your ability to take a mortgage will depend on the house’s price and loan amount.
To finance your single-family home, regardless of whether it is a prefabricated or new construction, you need at least 20% of the purchase price from your own funds in order to obtain the remaining 80% as a mortgage from the bank.
Swiss banks lend up to 80% of the cost of the property, so let’s say your purchase is 1 million CHF, you could pay a deposit of 200,000 CHF and borrow 800,000 CHF. Hence, you will need to have 200,000 CHF saved.
Moreover, Swiss interest rates are among the cheapest in Europe, with about 1% variable and 1,5% fixed for long-term rate payments.
Swiss banks use a 4.5% rate to assess whether you can afford the mortgage, regardless of actual interest rates. So your annual interest on the 800,000 CHF loan is 8,000 CHF. So taking a mortgage makes sense.
The average salary for Swiss workers in 2022 is 6,538 CHF per month. Earning between 6K CHF and 9K CHF per month is considered a good income, you can afford rent, bills, restaurants, and weekends away.
Banks will give you a loan with a term if you pay between 25-33% of your after-tax salary on mortgage repayments. So expect to pay up to 40% from a salary of 6,538 CHF when earning the average. That comes to around 2,066 CHF maximum in monthly repayments when deducting all taxes.
Your mortgage repayments will, of course, depend on your loan and the current interest rate, but in early 2022 a family of four will need to earn a net salary of at least 9,000 CHF per month to service an average loan and pay their way to live well in Switzerland.
To be truly viable, your total repayments need to represent less than a third of your income.
Read about Swiss salaries in our detailed article.
When talking about renting a place in Switzerland, most people pay roughly 2,000 CHF to 3,000 CHF per month outside of the city centers, but rental prices vary widely, as do property prices. Hence, in most cases, your monthly loan repayment will be lower than your rent.
Geneva and Zurich being the most expensive cities, aren’t open to foreign investment, so expats are likely to rent in these cities.
House prices in Switzerland in 2022
House prices in Switzerland vary significantly depending on the location. Overall, prices have been going up in recent years.
As of January 2022, the average price per m² for an apartment across the country is 6,474 CHF, and 6,000 CHF for a house.
For example, a detached house with five rooms and around 160 m² of living space would cost between 1,5 – 2,3 million CHF in Geneva or Zurich/Zug, versus 550,000 CHF to 750,000 CHF in Valais, according to this source.
Even in Geneva, there are significant price differences between areas outside the city (Bernex, Confignon, Chancy, and neighboring Vaud) and the city itself.
House prices in different cantons:
House prices in the largest Swiss cities:
Home prices get very high if you want to live close to a large city. Zurich is by far the most expensive place to buy real estate in Switzerland.
Furthermore, apartments and houses are usually significantly more expensive in places with low taxes and vice versa. Zug is a canton with the lowest possible taxes in Switzerland. A house or even a flat is unaffordable except for the wealthiest.
Therefore, an apartment price in Zug would allow you to buy a house of significant size with a large garden in another region (with higher taxes).
Why in Switzerland do most people rent instead of buying?
The homeownership rate in Switzerland is one of the lowest in the world, at 41.6% in 2019. More than 60,000 people emigrate to Switzerland each year.
Most of them rent accommodations that are more expensive than repayments on an average loan. Yet, many people cannot afford the 20% minimum deposit on a property.
That’s also the main reason why most people rent homes in Switzerland instead of buying. You can rent a reasonably decent apartment or even a house with a garden in nice places, which are affordable depending on the region.
The main problem is high real estate prices, so you need to have enough savings for a down payment, which can be around 200,000 CHF for an average property.
Moreover, many people don’t want to give up their lifestyle in order to pay monthly margate payments and take responsibility for the property.
In Switzerland, you can also rent a family home. Renting gives greater flexibility, less work, and fewer responsibilities.
How much does it cost to build a house in Switzerland?
Whether you decide to buy or build a house depends on your personal needs and the amount of money you are able to invest.
Building a home in Switzerland is fairly expensive, starting at around 150 CHF per m² and rising to over 2,000 CHF per m². The average cost is about 350 CHF per m². Additionally, you will need to pay construction costs.
Add around 100,000 CHF for the attachment of the electrical and water grid, a driveway, and all the other tasks outside the house itself.
Cost of land
You will also need land to build a house on. The price of the ground varies significantly in Switzerland. Many cantons have strict rules regarding how much living space you can have on which amount of land.
In other words, you can not build as close to the border as usual in many parts of the USA or Germany.
You can get a piece of land enough for a free-standing house, including “Handänderungssteuer” and such, for around 100,000 CHF and up or several million CHF.
In some cantons, it can be 280 CHF per m², a small piece of land of around 400 m² will cost at least 120,000 CHF. Therefore, you can build a small house in the rural part of Switzerland for approximately 500,000 CHF. It will be cheaper than buying.
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