A nation of renters: How Swiss families live

A nation of renters: How Swiss families live

A new report by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has attempted to find out what an average family's house in Switzerland looks like. The initial findings show that Switzerland is a nation of small apartment renters.

Two-thirds of the population of Switzerland rent

The FSO used the latest data from the Federal Housing Office to calculate what the average household looks like in Switzerland. The study showed that there are 3,7 million homes in Switzerland, with an average of 2,3 occupants each. 

In 2020, almost two-thirds of the population rented a house or apartment in Switzerland. 2,3 million households rented, compared with 1,4 million families who bought their own home. The rate of renting to buying varied by canton, with only 15 percent of people in Basel owning their home, compared to 66 percent in Canton Appenzell Innerrhoden.

Company-owned apartments increasingly common in Switzerland

Another factor that has changed in recent years is who owns rental apartments. The FSO found that, in the last 22 years, more homes were built for private companies than individuals. Now, there are several Swiss cities like Zurich, Geneva and Basel where the majority of apartments and houses are owned by companies instead of individual landlords.

The size of apartments has also changed significantly over the last 22 years. Now, the most common rental property has three rooms, with very few larger properties being leased. A new phenomenon is the rise of small apartments, with over 170.000 one-room flats being rented in 2020.

Finally, the FSO calculated that the average rental cost across the country was 1.373 Swiss francs a month. The cheapest and most expensive cantons to sign a rental contract were also revealed, with Zug and Canton Zurich the most expensive and Jura the cheapest.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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