Swiss real estate market: Prices set to rise in 2020

The “Residential Properties Market Report Switzerland 2020” examines the development of the market in 50 locations over the past 12 months. “A slight decline in new construction activity is being met with consistently high demand. This is leading to moderate price rises,” says Thomas Frigo, Managing Director of Engel & Völkers Residential Schweiz AG.

Hamburg - This luxury penthouse with lake access and a private marina is on the market with
Engel & Völkers Ascona for 4.2 million Swiss francs (approx. 3.9 million euros). The spacious apartment with 6.5 rooms boasts the best location in Brissago. (Image source: Engel & Völkers Ascona)

Business locations enjoy high level of popularity

Demand among prospective buyers remained high in Switzerland’s business locations in 2019. Zurich is the country’s financial centre, offering a high quality of life with its well-established public transport network, its wide range of cultural activities, and outstanding health and education system. Many buyers were attracted to Zürichberg due to its appealing location as a place to live. Particularly impressive mansions here with expansive gardens proved highly sought after. Only a limited number of this calibre of property comes onto the market each year, resulting in a large excess in demand. Prices in this prime location started last year at 6.5 million Swiss francs (approx. 6 million euros) for mansions, and 18,500 Swiss francs (approx. 17,200 euros) per square metre for freehold apartments.  

Various international organisations including the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are based in and around Geneva. The popularity of the city resulted in high prices for residential property here and in nearby Nyon in 2019. While the main focus of search clients in Geneva was apartments in the city centre, buyer interest in Nyon centred on building plots. The price bracket for detached homes in prime locations began at 4.4 million Swiss francs (approx. 4 million euros), and 12,000 Swiss francs (approx. 11,000 euros) per square metre for freehold apartments.

Mountains and lakes: popular holiday regions

“Trends in the tourism industry often have repercussions on the property market. Overnight stays increased again last year in Switzerland, which had a positive impact on the market for second homes,” says Thomas Frigo. One of the most popular holiday destinations in Switzerland is the renowned ski resort of Gstaad. Its property market is extremely stable, having benefited for many years from the unwaveringly high level of demand. Top sought-after locations in the Gstaad region in 2019 include Oberbort and Saanen with its historic village centre. Entry prices for chalets here were 25 million Swiss francs (approx. 23 million euros), while prices for freehold apartments started at 40,000 Swiss francs (approx. 37,000 euros) per square metre. 

Buyer interest in a holiday property in St. Moritz also remained consistently high last year. Detached homes and apartment buildings in the municipality of Sils were particularly sought after. Both Swiss and foreign buyers tended to favour properties in the upmarket district of Sils Baselgia, with its unobstructed views over Lake Sils. These residences commanded top prices of up to 50 million Swiss francs (around 46 million euros). Entry prices in the most sought-after locations in St. Moritz were 5.9 million Swiss francs (approx. 5.4 million euros) for detached homes and 18,000 Swiss francs (approx. 16,700 euros) per square metre for freehold apartments.

The varied scenery and mild climate make Ascona and Lugano in the southern canton of Ticino a desirable residential and holiday location. Properties with direct lake frontages or  views of Lake Maggiore or Lake Lugano were in especially high demand. The lower end of the price bracket in Lugano’s premium locations was 7 million Swiss francs (around 6.5 million euros) for detached properties and 12,500 Swiss francs (approx. 11,600 euros) per square metre for freehold apartments. In nearby Ascona, freehold apartments in prime locations also achieved entry prices of 12,500 Swiss francs per square metre, while prices for detached properties started at 4.4 million Swiss francs (approx. 4 million euros).

Outlook: Price rises expected for 2020

The company anticipates that the residential property market in Switzerland will continue to see positive growth in 2020. “Real estate will remain attractive for investors, due to the lack of investment alternatives. The growing number of single households also means that the population is spread across an increasing number of properties. Interest in owning one’s own four walls remains high,” says Thomas Frigo. Engel & Völkers therefore forecasts a moderate rise in prices in the segment for detached properties and freehold apartments.  

Please find here the “Residential Properties Market Report Switzerland 2020”. 

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