NEUCHATEL, SWITZERLAND – The number of new homes grew by 7 percent in Switzerland’s five largest cities during the first quarter of 2012, compared to the same period a year earlier, but the figure hides an overall slowdown in new home construction that will be felt in coming months. Geneva will be the rare exception, judging by new building permits.
Three of the five cities experienced growth in the number of new homes completed, but both Geneva and Lausanne, two of the country’s tightest housing markets, saw a fall, Geneva down nearly 20 percent to just 458 new housing units and Lausanne down 10 percent to 316. Basel had a whopping 81 percent increase in newly completed homes.
New housing under construction was down throughout Switzerland, by 1 percent, with Geneva the only city that was an exception, with a slight increase.
Permits for new construction are down by 11 percent, countrywide but in Geneva’s tight market there is more relatively good news: new permits rose by 140 percent, from 321 in the first quarter of 2011 to 772.