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City rent prices leap despite Swiss-wide vacancies rising

The cost of renting apartments continues to rise in Swiss cities. (© Keystone / Gaetan Bally)

Rental prices in Swiss cities became markedly more expensive last year even though vacancy rates are increasing in Switzerland. The latest study from real estate portal reveals the disparity between urban and rural areas.

Zurich saw the biggest leap in rental prices in 2019, rising 3.3% in the year. This compares to a 0.6% average rental hike across the country. The cities of Basel and Bern saw a rise of 1.8%, while people seeking accommodation in Geneva had to pay 1.5% more.

This comes at a time when the Swiss central bank is maintaining rock-bottom interest rates (-0.75%), a monetary policy stance that favours property buyers more than people renting accommodation. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) and a range of other forecasters predict very low inflationexternal link this year.

But, as previously reported by, the situation varies significantly between towns and the countryside. The latest Homegateexternal link research, released on Monday, shows the trend to be even more nuanced.

Canton Graubünden in southeast Switzerland, which is sparsely populated yet a popular location for tourists and people buying second homes, saw rent prices increase by 1.2%. Canton Ticino, bordering Italy, witnessed a -0.6% drop.

Rental prices also fell in the northwestern canton of Jura and the centrally located canton Lucerne (both -0.3%).

Homegate expects rental prices to continue to increase this year, fuelled by immigration to urban centres. “The recovery in urban rents is likely to continue to mask the vacancy problem in rural areas,” it statedexternal link.

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About Swissinfo
SWI – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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