Home ownership rates vary significantly across the country. The lowest rates are found in the canton of Basel-City (16.0%) and Geneva (18.3%). Relative to these two cities, home ownership abounds in Valais (57.2%), the highest. Vaud (31.4%), Zurich (28.5%), Bern (39.9%), and Luzern (34.8%) are all in between.
In addition, there is a correlation between age and ownership. 47.5% of those 65 and older own, while only 26.1% of those between 25 and 65 do. Rising prices probably explain some of this difference.
While Swiss home ownership lags behind much of the world it increased from 31.3%, in 1990, to 37.4% in 2014, a 19.5% rise. The biggest gainers were Basel (+45.5%), Zurich (+36.4%), and Geneva (+32.6%). Only one canton, Obwalden (-9.0%), saw a decline.
In nations like the UK, where buying a home is considered a cultural rite of passage, ownership rates have gone in the opposite direction. After peaking in April 2003, at 71%, UK home ownership slumped to 64% in February 2016, according to the Resolution Foundation. Outer London (-13.5%) and Greater Manchester (-14.5%), declined the most.
The US shows a similar trend. After peaking at 69% in 2004, the rate was 64.5% by 2014. And like Switzerland, home ownership in America’s principal cities is much lower than the average – it was 49.9% in 2014. Unlike Switzerland however, the ownership level in key US cities has stayed flat at 49%, showing few signs of growth.
Swiss home ownership rates (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now
European home ownership rates (in English)
UK home ownership rates (in English)
US home ownership rates (in English)