House prices down slightly by 0.66% during the year to Q1 2022

Switzerland’s housing market continues to stabilize. House prices fell slightly by 0.66% in Q1 2022 from a year earlier, following a y-o-y growth of 1.8% in the same quarter last year. During the latest quarter, house prices were down 0.28% q-o-q.

After about 15 years of uninterrupted house price rises, Switzerland’s housing market has stabilized in the past three years, mainly due to the Swiss government’s market-cooling measures.

The property market’s slowdown in recent years can be attributed to the Swiss National Bank’s stricter lending criteria, designed to lower housing debt (currently 90% of all household debt). The decision of the central bank to abandon its cap against the euro in 2015 also made Swiss real estate more expensive for foreign investors, thereby reducing demand.

Housing loan volumes have increased only modestly in recent years, because of the Federal Council’s imposition of a countercyclical capital buffer (CCB) for residential real estate in February 2013, as part of SNB’s attempt to contain the appreciation of the Swiss franc.  However in March 2020, the requirement was removed to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was only on January 26, 2022 that the capital buffer targeted at mortgage loans financing residential real estate was reactivated. Banks are given until September 30, 2022 to meet the increased capital requirements.

Rents, rental yields: yields are lowish, at around 3.27% 

Zurich apartments are expensive, at around €11,467 per sq. m.  

Switzerland: typical city centre apartment buying price, monthly rent (120 sq. m)
  Buying price Rate per month Yield
Zurich € 1,446,840 € 3,946 3.27%
Geneva € 1,377,120 € 3,827 3.33%

Recent news. Switzerland’s economy expanded by 3.5% y-o-y in 2021, in contrast to a 2.9% contraction in 2020 but below initial projections amidst the resurgence of infections in late-2021 and restrictions were tightened across the region. To boost economic activity, the Swiss government introduced an economic stimulus package worth CHF 65 billion (€ 64.1 billion) - the biggest in the country’s history.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) forecasts Switzerland’s economic growth this year at a modest 2.8%, as supply chain bottlenecks, rising inflation, and the conflict in Ukraine pose major risks to economic recovery.