In which Swiss canton is it hardest to find an apartment?

In which Swiss canton is it hardest to find an apartment?
The sign reads 'For Rent'. Photo by AFP
There are nearly 80,000 vacant dwellings up for grabs across Switzerland - but where?

On Monday, the Federal Statistical Office (OFS) released figures showing that there are 3,449 more vacant apartments and houses on the market in 2020 — 4.6 percent more than during the same period last year. 

That means there are a total of 78,832 vacant flats across the country – around two percent of Switzerland’s total dwellings. 

But as with everything in Switzerland, the situation varies greatly from canton to canton. 

In which cantons are the apartment vacancies? 

Overall, the number of empty dwellings increased in 15 cantons.

According to FSO, the best chances of finding a house or an apartment are in Bern, Ticino, Vaud, Solothurn, Aargau and Jura.

Solothurn has the highest vacancy rate in Switzerland at 3.22 percent, followed by the cantons of Ticino (2.71 percent), Aargau (2.65 percent) and Jura (2.52 percent).

Where is finding a flat hardest?

It probably comes as little surprise to anyone who has been on the flat hunt recently, but finding a flat is hardest in Switzerland’s largest cities. 

Fewer options are available in international and heavily populated business centres like Geneva, Zurich, Zug and Basel City, though it is still possible to find properties for rent there.

In Geneva, just 0.49 percent of homes are vacant. 

In the cantons of Zug (0.70%), Zurich (0.91%), Obwalden (0.92%) and Basel-Stadt (0.96%), the vacancy rates remained below the one percent mark.

READ MORE: Renting in Geneva: Five things you should know about finding an apartment

How has the pandemic had an influence?

The highest increases have been seen in the Ticino and Lake Geneva regions, where vacancies increased by 0.42 and 0.21 percent respectively. 

The FSO also found that the number of vacant homes for rent throughout the country is growing, while the number of homes for sale remains stable.

However, the supply of newly constructed housing is declining.

There is good news for people looking for smaller sized apartments — those that have less than five rooms: there are more flats of this type on the market now than in 2019. 

Most of the vacant ones are three and four-room flats, according to FSO.

In regards to prices, the trend is still the same as in previous years: while low vacancy rates in Switzerland’s largest cities push rents higher, in smaller cities and towns more and more apartments are going unrented. 

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