Switzerland 2020 Market Observations


It’s been an epic year on so many levels, but for those in real estate, it’s been filled with ups and downs.

2020 has been an unprecedented year worldwide and Switzerland is no exception.

Having made it through the first pandemic wave barely touched, the level of infections are currently high in Switzerland and the government has instituted strict national measures in the last quarter of the year.

Real Estate Market

But it hasn't been all bad for the Swiss housing market this year. Official statistics show residential prices are overall stable, though there are some differences between sectoral and geographical markets.

Geneva bank Edmond de Rothschild expects the Swiss market to show an increase in volume next year but admits that prices could be soft.

Construction has been focused on the rental apartment sector, rather than on owner-occupied housing. This doesn't bode well for rental apartment prices, but the scarcity of newbuild single-family units should help keep house prices looking good.

Developments that were delayed by COVID site close-downs will probably come on the market between now and Q2 2021, following a period of relatively tight supply. The sudden increase in properties could soak up a lot of demand, and it wouldn't be surprising to see temporarily lower price points.

Changing Consumer Behaviour

One thing that agents will be looking at very closely next year is space. Floorplans will become very important as lockdown-weary homebuyers look for big spaces, flexible live/work areas and in apartments, balconies or rooftop gardens.

Buyers may move away from city centres and look for homes in the suburbs: away from major cities to smaller satellite towns; as witnessed in other countries – a pandemic side effect of consumer behaviour.

Qualitative Market Changes

Like everywhere in Europe, Switzerland will see a decline in economic growth for 2020. Even before the new lockdown for winter 2020-2021, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs was forecasting a 6.2% fall in GDP. But in the longer term, once we get through to late spring and early summer 2021, the country looks set for recovery.

So while house prices in Switzerland may not move a huge amount, it's likely the market in 2021 will be qualitatively different from what it was in 2019.


Buyers will be looking for different features, in different places…
but at basically similar prices.

Real estate data suggests that, if they can afford it, Swiss residents are swapping from renting to owner occupation and from apartments to houses. Apartment rents fell 0.6% in November, while house rental prices increased by 1.7% month-on-month, and house prices were up 6.7%. (*figures based on asking prices, not transactions.)

Outlook

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. Engel & Völkers forecasts a moderate rise in prices in the segment for detached properties and freehold apartments.