ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Swiss households reacted cautiously to the economic uncertainties of 2010 by putting more money into savings. Net worth (financial assets + real estate – liabillities) per capita increased by CHF6,000 to CHF341,000.
Losses on investments linked to the strong Swiss franc and falling markets had an impact, but higher savings and rising real estate prices offset the losses.
The Swiss National Bank says Friday 18 November that “the net worth of households rose by CHF74 billion, or 2.8 percent, to CHF2,691 billion. The main reasons for the increase were the persistently high level of saving by households and the further advance in real estate prices. By contrast, currency movements reduced the growth in household wealth by some CHF25 billion.”
The SNB details some of the changes:
“Currency movements had a considerable impact on financial assets. From end-2009 to
end-2010, the euro lost 16% against the Swiss franc, while the US dollar lost 10%. As a
result, households suffered losses amounting to some CHF 25 billion on the value of their
foreign currency investments, measured in terms of Swiss francs. Domestic share prices
were stable. Share prices on foreign stock exchanges rose slightly, but this did not offset
the currency losses on foreign shares.
“Deposits with banks and PostFinance grew by CHF 36 billion to CHF 586 billion, due partly
to household savings and partly to a shift from debt securities to deposits.”
Real estate prices had a significant impact on household wealth, with rising prices and growth in mortgages, but consumer lending otherwise remained stable. “The value of real estate owned by households (single-family homes, owner-occupied apartments and apartment buildings with rental apartments) grew by CHF55 billion to CHF1,415 billion. The largest part of this advance was attributable to higher real estate
prices in all three categories. Household liabilities rose overall by CHF 30 billion to CHF 682 billion. Mortgage loans, which account for some 90% of this total, increased by CHF 28 billion to CHF 632 billion. Consumer loans remained stable at CHF 15 billion, while other loans advanced by CHF2 billion to CHF32 billion.”