Housing in Switzerland | expatwoman.com

Housing in Switzerland

If you're considering moving to Switzerland it is important to know whether it is more viable to rent or buy a house...

Posted on

16 March 2017

Last updated on 30 January 2018
Housing in Switzerland
If you're considering moving to Switzerland it is important to know whether it is more viable to rent or buy a house, and what the housing market, processes and procedures are so you are fully prepared to make your move. Switzerland is one of the most beautiful expat destinations in the world but it is also one of the most expensive. On top of this, Switzerland's highly regulated market can make buying your dream Swiss house more difficult, but that doesn't mean that it's not possible. Here at Santa Fe, we can provide you with all of the information that you may need when it comes to moving to Switzerland. We also offer a home search service in order to help provide you with everything you need when looking for a property in Switzerland.

Property Ownership

Buying a property and owning your own home is not the norm in Switzerland with over 60% of people in the country renting their property. However, property ownership is much higher in more rural areas of Switzerland when compared to big cities such as Zurich and Basel, so if you are considering a long term stay in rural Switzerland, then purchasing your property may be something to consider. However, over the past 50 years, a rise in population has led to an increased pressure on the housing market, creating a rise in house prices meaning that desirable property purchases are difficult to find, and when they are available, they are often very expensive.
There are also a number of regulations that you will need to be aware of if you are considering owning your own property in Switzerland. You can only buy a property if you are an EU or EFTA national with a Swiss residence permit or you hold a Swiss C permit. If you fall under these categories then you will have the same rights as a Swiss citizen, meaning you can invest in property, purchase a business premises, or purchase a holiday home. If you have a Swiss British permit then you must only purchase a property to live in.


The rental market in Switzerland is fierce, but is the more popular option for both expats and locals. There are a broad range of properties to choose from, such as chic inner city apartments to former farmhouses or even the occasional chateau. However, the availability of these properties particularly in cities such as Geneva and Basel is very slim, with only a small percentage of these properties being available at one time. When tenants apply for a property, they are likely to have to provide a large amount of documentation before their application becomes successful. Nevertheless, long term rentals do become available with some even lasting up to 50 years, as well as being suitable for families with children due to many apartments often having access to communal areas and sometimes even playgrounds.


With Switzerland being such a small country which is easily accessible from Germany, France and Italy, some people actually live in these surrounding countries and commute into the big cities in Switzerland for work. While this circumstance will depend on your work permit, it is something that you may want to consider due to cheaper rental prices across the border.
If you're in need of help with your property search, make sure to get in touch with a member of our local Swiss team today. Contact Santa Fe Relocation Services and we can assist.

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