Zurich: Residential real estate market – Prices flatline on a high after period of growth

Zurich is among the cities in the world offering the highest quality of life. As one of the leading financial and economic centres in Europe, the city attracts many private buyers and institutional investors. With its population now having reached 440,000, more people are currently live in Zurich than ever before. “In Q3 2022, residential property prices in Zurich only rose slightly (+0.6%) over the same quarter last year. In view of the continuing demand from national and international buyers, along with the extremely limited supply of properties in prime locations, we expect prices to flatline on a high in 2023,” says Axel Kühn, Licence Partner at Engel & Völkers Zurich Paradeplatz & Oerlikon. The average price per square metre for apartments in the luxury segment is currently between 22,000 and 35,000 Swiss francs (approx. 22,000 to 35,000 euros). The average sales price for mansions and detached properties with living interiors of some 300 square metres is 9 million Swiss francs (approx. 9.1 million euros). The steady growth in the population will continue to drive this excess demand – meaning that, despite the current economic outlook and rising interest rates, prices can be expected to remain stable in the city centre, in prime locations, and the surrounding regions. The high quality of life, the diverse array of cultural offerings and educational institutions, and the proximity to the mountains make Zurich an attractive primary residence. Alongside traditional banks and insurance firms, many tech companies and start-ups have recently relocated their headquarters to Zurich. This trend alone will mean that the appeal of the city as a place to live and work will continue to increase. 

Appealing location factors and a high standard of living attract international buyers

Around 120,000 companies are based in Zurich, forming a dynamic network of major international corporations, innovative medium-sized companies and highly specialised small businesses. “The burgeoning start-up scene gives a further boost to its status as a business hub, which in turn is prompting lots of young talent and a highly qualified workforce from all over the world to settle here and, after initial rental experiences, act on their long-term purchase plans,” says Lars Keller, Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Zurich & Zurichberg. While domestic clients account for around 75 percent of the real estate market, 25 percent of all property transactions in Zurich can now be attributed to foreign buyers living in Switzerland – and this figure is on the rise. The majority of prospective buyers come from Germany, the Benelux Union, the UK, France, Italy, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

Top prices for residential property in hillside locations on Lake Zurich

Among the most exclusive locations are Fluntern and Hottingen at the foot of the Zurichberg. These two residential neighbourhoods are east of the historic city centre and combine the benefits of suburban living with the luxury of expansive natural surroundings. The many opportunities for jogging and mountain biking make this location particularly popular with clients who enjoy a sporty, active lifestyle. Historic estates on large plots with magnificent gardens and unobstructed views of Lake Zurich and the Alps are in high demand here. In 2022, just a small number of properties of this calibre changed hands for tens of millions. Top prices per square metre in excess of 33,000 Swiss francs (approx. 33,000 euros) were fetched for high-end apartments.

The Enge neighbourhood is situated southwest of the city centre. Residential properties here are set over a hillside dotted with large parks filled with mature trees. This area is especially popular with young families due to it being within walking distance to Zurich’s business centre and lakeside bathing spots. In 2022, townhouses sold here for up to 10 million Swiss francs (approx. 10 million euros). The top price per square metre for loft apartments was as much as 24,500 Swiss francs (approx. 24,500 euros). 

Höngg is located above the Limmat River on the slopes of the “Käferberg”. Thanks to its south-facing location overlooking the city centre, Lake Zurich and the Limmat Valley, this neighbourhood is highly sought-after by families and commuters. Residents here also value the proximity to the local recreation areas of Waidberg / Käferberg, as well as the convenient transport links to the city centre and Zurich Airport, which can be reached in just 15 minutes by car. In 2022, mansions in Höngg sold for an average of 4 to 5 million Swiss francs (approx. 4 to 5 million euros). 

Zurich West is the former industrial quarter and one of the city’s up-and-coming districts. This trendy district has a captivating alternative flair and makes for an architectural contrast to the picturesque Old Town. A host of different cafés, vibrant craft shops and second-hand boutiques add to the charm of Zurich West. This area of the city is particularly popular with students and young entrepreneurs. Top prices per square metre for freehold apartments here in 2022 reached 23,500 Swiss francs (approx. 23,500 euros).

Outlook: Thriving economic area to safeguard high prices

New construction projects such as “Europaallee” directly next-door to Zurich’s main railway station, the “Käferholz” residential complex with over 200 premium freehold apartments and “Hamberger Park” with luxury apartments are all playing their part in the ongoing structural evolution of the city, and  attracting renowned corporations such as Google. Zurich is becoming increasingly cosmopolitan with the accompanying influx of expats, without losing any of its historical heritage as a centre of culture. The sustained price rises in recent years prove that Switzerland’s regional real estate market is witnessing stable growth. For 2023, prices are expected to level out on a high. “Thanks to their stable value, residential properties in and around Zurich are a sound and future-proof investment,” says Kerstin Kühn, Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Zurich Paradeplatz & Oerlikon, who goes on to make a recommendation: “Focus on properties in well-developed communities in suburban or rural areas that offer space to set up a home office, or, alternatively, focus on micro-apartments in the city centre.”

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