Swiss, nation of renters, increasingly home owners

Basel, Geneva, 2 big exceptions

Zug tenants pay the most for their housing, all categories combined

housing rate of occupation, Switzerland 2010

Switzerland 2010, housing, rates of occupation by group: tenant or sub-letting, coop, PPE , house owner, other (copyright Swiss Statistical Office)

BERN, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss are traditionally a nation of renters, but figures released by the federal government Thursday 28 March show that for the decade from 2000 to 2010, the rate of home ownership picked up speed, further marking a trend away from renting. In 1970 28.5 percent of the population rented. By 2010 the figure had risen to 36.8 percent.

The figure may sound very low to people from English-speaking countries where home ownership tends to be far higher, but it marks a significant trend for Swiss housing.

The home ownership rate varies hugely from  one area to another, although southwest Switzerland boasts both the one of the lowest and highest rates, with Geneva having the nation’s second lowest rate, 17 percent, and Jura the highest, 58 percent. Valais is not far behind Jura, with just over 56 percent; both are heavily rural rather than urban.

Basel has the lowest rate, at 14.3 percent, but the figure has risen since 1980, when it was just 11 percent who owned their  homes.

The highest average rent paid is in Zug, at CHF1,740, all sizes and categories of housing combined. The average, Swiss-wide is CHF1,284 and in Jura, where the rent is lowest, the average cost dips to CHF902.

Three-room apartments account for the largest share of rental units, more than 666,700 in 2010.

The average rent paid for them was CHF1,216, compared to CHF976 in 2000.