| Ramzi Chamat
The rental market in Switzerland is at a critical turning point in its evolution, marked by a persistent upward trend in rents. This situation, far from being trivial, raises a range of questions and implications for the various stakeholders involved, ranging from tenants and landlords to investors and regulatory authorities. The crucial importance of this issue lies in its direct impact on households' purchasing power, the dynamics of the real estate market, as well as on the overall economic health of Switzerland. In this context, it becomes essential to analyze in depth the causes, manifestations, and consequences of this continuous increase in rents, in order to identify avenues for reflection and action.
The Swiss rental market is in the spotlight as rents continue their upward trajectory. According to the latest data published by the real estate platform Homegate.ch in collaboration with the Cantonal Bank of Zurich (ZKB), rents have recorded an average increase of 0.5% compared to the previous month in September. This brings the total increase to 3.7% over a one-year period, raising questions about the impact of this trend on tenants, landlords, and the Swiss real estate market as a whole.
The rental index, based on data collected since January 2009, is now at 123.3 points, an increase of 0.6 points from the previous month. This figure reflects an upward trend in nearly three-quarters of Swiss cantons, indicating that this increase is not limited to a single geographical sector. In fact, no canton has escaped this upward trend on an annual basis.
Among the cantons that have recorded the highest increases over a year, Schwytz stands out with 6.2%, Zurich with 6.1%, and Valais with 5.4%. These figures highlight the increasing pressure on the rental market, particularly in certain regions of Switzerland. However, a few cantons, such as Vaud, observed a slight decrease of 0.3% during the month under review, showing that the situation can vary from one region to another.
The main agglomerations in Switzerland are also experiencing a significant increase in rents. Zurich, the country's largest city, tops this unfortunate ranking with a surge of 11.4% compared to September 2022. Bern is close behind with an increase of 5.2%, while Geneva completes the podium with an increase of 5.0%.
However, it is interesting to note that some cities have seen their rents increase less rapidly on an annual basis. Lucerne records the lowest increase with only 1.1%, while Basel and Lausanne show a particularity: their rental property prices have declined by respectively 0.6% and nearly 1.0% during the month under review. These variations show that rental market trends can vary considerably from one city to another in Switzerland.
For Swiss tenants, this constant increase in rents can have significant consequences on their budget. The increased financial pressure can influence their decisions to renew their current lease, look for cheaper housing, or consider other housing options. Tenants may feel compelled to devote a larger portion of their monthly income to paying rent, which can limit their ability to save or invest elsewhere.
On the other hand, this upward trend in rents can encourage real estate investors to consider the Swiss market more closely. The increased demand for housing can make investments in rental real estate more attractive, as landlords can expect to achieve a potentially higher return on their investments. However, this can also increase competition among investors for the purchase of real estate, which could drive prices up even further.
Given this continuous increase in rents, local and national authorities could be led to reflect on rent regulation in Switzerland. They might consider measures aimed at stabilizing rents and ensuring housing affordability for all. However, this can be a complex challenge, as rent regulation needs to strike a balance between the interests of tenants and landlords.
In summary, the constant increase in rents in Switzerland, as revealed by the latest data, has significant implications for the rental market, tenants, and real estate investors. As rents continue to climb, it is essential to closely monitor market trends and potential responses from authorities to ensure long-term stability in the Swiss rental market.