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UPDATE: In which Swiss canton are rents the highest and lowest in 2022?

When it comes to rents, big disparities exist between different Swiss regions. This is where prices are highest and lowest across the country.

Rent for the same apartment varies sharply from one canton to another. Photo by léa b on Unsplash
Rent for the same apartment varies sharply from one canton to another. Photo by léa b on Unsplash

The fact that rents differ from one to another of Switzerland’s 26 cantons is not exactly breaking news.

But what might be surprising is how big the disparities are, particularly in cantons which are only a short trip from another. 

According to a new large-scale study carried out by Swiss Marketplace Group (SMG), rents in Switzerland’s most expensive canton are more than three times higher than those in the cheapest. 

The survey, which used data from ImmoScout24 and Homegate real estate platforms, found that the cost of a 3.5-room apartment in the canton of Zug — the most expensive in Switzerland — is equivalent to the rents of almost three apartments of the same size in Jura.

The 3.5-room flats, which typically consist of a living room and two bedrooms, in addition to kitchen and bathroom, are the most sought-after accommodations in Switzerland, according to SMG.

Geneva and Vaud are two other cantons where rents for a 3.5-room property are notoriously high — 2,248 and 1,895 francs respectively.

On one hand, the study found “the average price difference of more than 1,200 francs between the expensive canton of Zug and the relatively affordable canton of Jura”.

On the other, “there are many cantons in the lower and middle price segments, where asking prices have risen over the past year. This, combined with stable and falling rents in the upper price segment, means that the rent gap has started to close”.

READ MORE: Why is Geneva’s rent the highest in Switzerland?

This map shows where the cheapest and priciest rents can be found. 

A comparison of cantonal rental prices across Switzerland. Image: SMG

A comparison of cantonal rental prices across Switzerland. Image: SMG

In which Swiss canton is rent the cheapest and most expensive in 2022?

The highest prices tend to be in the more urbanised cantons near the cities of Geneva and Zurich, while lower costs were found in regional and rural cantons. 

Located in the northwest of Switzerland, Neuchâtel and Jura have the most affordable rents —  a little over 1,000 francs for a 3.5-room flat.  

There are other rules at play however besides a mere proximity to Switzerland’s largest and most economically powerful cities. 

Zug, the most expensive canton to rent in Switzerland, has a favourable tax system and as such attracts many of the country’s wealthiest people.

In fact, one in eight residents of Zug have a net worth north of one million francs, as we covered in the following article. 

READ MORE: Which Swiss canton has the most millionaires?

The complete list of Switzerland’s 26 cantons ranked from most expensive to cheapest on the average monthly rent for a 3.5 bedroom apartment. 

Zug 2428
Geneva 2248
Zürich 2131
Basel-City 2029
Schwyz 1948
Nidwalden 1947
Vaud 1895
Lucerne 1777
Baselland 1767
Obwalden 1685
Aarau 1659
Graubünden 1591
Bern 1577
Thurgau 1570
Freiburg 1556
Appenzell Ausserrhoden 1539
St. Gallen 1537
Solothurn 1496
Schaffhausen 1483
Ticino 1470
Wallis 1440
Uri 1427
Glarus 1373
Appenzell Innerrhoden 1372
Neuchâtel 1343
Jura 1135

What about buying an apartment rather than renting?

SMG study looked at this option as well, analysing slightly larger dwellings — 4.5 rooms, which means three bedrooms instead of two. Prices for this this type of properties “soared in 17 of the 26 cantons”, the study found.

On average, an apartment of this size costs 516,000 francs in Jura, but more than three times as much — 1,722,000 francs in Zug, SMG reports.

A comparison of cantonal house prices across Switzerland. Image: SMG

A comparison of cantonal house prices across Switzerland. Image: SMG

One way to find a less expensive option is to look for properties in neighbouring cantons.

“If, for example, you could see yourself living in the cantons of Aargau, Schaffhausen, Thurgau or St. Gallen instead of Zurich, you could save up to 43 percent on average when buying a home”, the report said.

READ MORE: REVEALED: The six major Swiss cities where rents are falling

Member comments

  1. This topic is very interesting to many people, I should think. However I find it quite difficult to understand the statistics and graphics. Am I the only one?
    The list of cantons in the above article on the comparative rents for 3.5 room apts list the names of the cantons on one side than a bunch of numbers that correspond to what exactly. For a comparative of “26 cantons” there are numbers like 29`?
    Also the map is color coded for rents and Geneva/Vaud seems sort of glomed together in dark blue. Obviously the key is color coded, so that is easy, but the boundaries of cantons are not delineated, the cantons have no names, and for some cantons, I am a bit iffy, frankly. I am frustrated, any help is welcome.

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‘The right decision’: Why foreign residents are moving from Swiss cities to the country

For some international residents surveyed by The Local, moving away from Switzerland’s urban centres is the right move — literally and figuratively. Here’s why.

‘The right decision’: Why foreign residents are moving from Swiss cities to the country

The transition from town to country  is not a new phenomenon but it has grown significantly since the start of the Covid pandemic, when many people — Swiss and foreigners alike —  moved from cramped cities to smaller towns and villages.

To many people, this kind of relocation made even more sense given the work-from-home requirement that had been in place off and on during the pandemic.

“There was a Covid effect on a desire for the countryside. We can say that the coronavirus worked as a kind of trigger”, Joëlle Salomon-Cavin, lecturer at the Institute of Geography and Sustainability at the University of Lausanne (UNIL), said in an interview with RTS public broadcaster.

The pandemic, however, has not been the only catalyst at play. A study carried out jointly by UNIL and the Federal Polytechnic Institute of Lausanne found three major reasons for the move: the search for a better balance in life, the desire for a less urban and more ecological way of life, and the quest for personal well-being.

Foreign residents are no exception when it comes to a desire for a simpler, greener, and less stressful life — at least this is what emerges from the answers to The Local survey.

On January 25th, we asked our readers to share their experiences of moving from cities to countryside, including their reasons for doing so, and whether they are happy with the choice they made.

READ MORE: Have your say: What to expect when you move to the Swiss countryside

This is what they told us

Most respondents had mostly positive things to say about the move.

Stephen Farmer moved from Basel to Büsserbach in canton Solothurn because he wanted to buy a house with a garden “and get more peace and quiet”.

In hindsight, “it was absolutely the right decision and I’ve never been happier”.

Before he moved, “several people told me that rural Swiss don’t like foreigners and it would be difficult for me to be accepted. But the people in my village are friendly and I found it easier to make Swiss friends here than in Basel”.

Many foreigners prefer living in Swiss countryside. Photo by Tim Trad on Unsplash

Steve Fors relocated from Zurich to Remigen in Aargau “for more space and slower pace”.

“It was the best decision”, he said. “We love our flat and village. We’ve found great friends in our neighbours and I work remotely three days a week”.

No regrets either for another reader who moved from Zurich to Walensee in St. Gallen “in order to be closer to nature and enjoy three to four times more space for the same rent”.

Since making the move, he “found more time to read and focus on things I was passionate about”.

His conclusion: “I would never move back to a large city, especially after the past two years”.

Yet another reader relocated from Basel to Lenzerheide in Graubünden but rented out the Basel apartment “in case we want to move back one day”.

So far, however, there are no regrets or desire to go back. “Quality of life is much better here and taxes are lower. I can also ski for an hour at lunchtime or go for a hike”.

Das moved from Bern to Frauenkappellen. While he was surprised by the lack of non-Europeans in the village, “it was a good decision otherwise, both in terms of people and space”.

Sometimes, the readers are brave enough to move from one linguistic region to another, as was the case for John Aran, who relocated from Swiss-German Schaffhausen to Valais in the French-speaking part.

He found the people in his new home “much more friendly”.

“I hope I won’t regret it”

While most of the responses to our poll were positive, some readers were less enthused about their move away from larger cities.

Filip, who moved from Zurich to Wädenswil to be closer to his son’s school, said their new small town “feels lonely somehow. There is hardly anyone around during the day”.

Another transplant, Sandra Shibata, who left Geneva for Valais, found it harder to make friends in her new town. “I hope I won’t regret this decision”, she said.

One reader who also made the move from Geneva to Valais offered a more scathing review of her new home:  “Valais is super backward, sexist, and xenophobic, and job hunting is a nightmare here”.

READ MORE: Where do Switzerland’s foreigners all live?