New report reveals the eye-watering salary required to buy a house in Zurich

New report reveals the eye-watering salary required to buy a house in Zurich

A new study by real estate agent and consultancy Iazi has revealed just how much people have to earn in order to buy a single-family house in Switzerland’s largest cities. Needless to say, the figures are quite the read.

Iazi analyses house prices in major Swiss cities

To create the study, Iazi analysed the average cost of a 140-square metre single-family house in Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne, Bern and Basel, to see how much someone would have to earn before a bank would even consider giving them a mortgage. Said mortgage would be set at 4,5 percent annual interest with 1 percent of additional cost, along with a 20 percent down payment.

The report comes after a recent study by Wüest Partner found that while seven Swiss cantons do have affordable apartments to buy, only two have affordable single-family houses. The Iazi study also began by noting that house prices have skyrocketed in recent years.

Iazi’s Donato Scognamiglio told SRF that house prices are increasing “because Switzerland is very attractive and generates enormous demand” for housing. He argued that immigration combined with a lack of new housing is the main reason homes are even less affordable.

How much do you need to earn to buy a house in Zurich?

Brace yourselves: in Zurich, the average cost of a small house stood at 3,19 million francs, meaning according to its own affordability rules, Iazi calculated that a person or household would have to have a salary of at least 525.000 francs a year before they could even contemplate a mortgage - along with a down payment of over 600.000 francs.

Geneva was found to have the second most expensive 140-square metre houses at 2,94 million francs, meaning an annual salary of 484.000 francs a year is required. Geneva was followed by Basel (2,25 million to 370.000 francs a year) and Lausanne (1,96 million to 322.000). Bern placed bottom, with single-family homes costing a mere 1,87 million francs, requiring a minimum salary of just 308.000 francs a year.

Iazi: 100.000 francs a year is needed to get a house mortgage in Switzerland

SRF noted that a working couple on the average Swiss salary (80.000 francs a year each) would be just less than halfway away from securing a mortgage in Bern. Scognamiglio noted that the absence of affordable housing in the cities means prospective homebuyers have to look further afield to find their dream home. 

“If you are willing to commute, drive out into the urban areas and make certain compromises, you can still find an affordable house,” he noted. Iazi found that now, a combined income of at least 100.000 francs a year is required to secure a mortgage in all Swiss cantons, adding that because of a lack of supply, so long as current homeowners can still afford their properties and do not have to sell, house prices will remain high.

However, Scognamiglio did find some reasons to be cheerful, noting that the Swiss economy continues to fare better than other nations, inflation is lower, as is unemployment. However, largely as a result of the positive economy, “It will never be cheap to buy a house in Switzerland.”

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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