Recent figures show an annual 4.2% rise in the number of vacant homes in Switzerland, extending a trend that started 10 years ago, according to the Federal Statistical Office.
At the start of June 2019, there were 75,323 vacant homes, representing 1.66% of Switzerland’s total stock of homes.
However, high vacancy rates in some regions masked low ones in others. While cantons such as Solothurn (3.40%), Thurgau (2.65%), Jura (2.59%), Aargau (2.59%), Schaffhausen (2.56%) Neuchâtel (2.39%) and Ticino (2.29%) had high vacancy rates, others, such as Zug (0.42%), Geneva (0.54%), Obwalden (0.87%) and Zurich (0.89%) had low ones. Rates in Basel-City (1.02%), Basel-Landschaft (1.06%) and Vaud (1.10%) were well below the 1.66% national average too.
Between 1 June 2018 and 1 June 2019, vacancies rates rose in 20 cantons and fell in 6. The six cantons with declining vacancy rates were Zurich (-0.10%), Zug (-0.02%), Nidwalden (-0.40%), St. Gallen (-0.02%), Aargau (-0.06%) and Valais (-0.28%). Bern (+0.03%), Basel-City (+0.31%), Vaud (+0.02%) and Geneva (+0.01%) were among the cantons with rising rates.
Across Switzerland there was a large difference between the number of vacant properties for rent and for sale. At 1 June 2019, there were 62,825 empty properties for rent and 12,498 for sale. Year-on-year the number of vacant rental properties rose (+5.2%) and the number of vacant properties for sale declined (-0.6%).
Changes in vacancy rates also varied by home size. The steepest annual rise was for one and two room apartments (+6.8%). By contrast, the number of vacant places with six rooms fell by 3%.