Recently published statistics show that 36% of homes are owned by those who live in them, a rate that falls to 12% in municipalities with more than 100,000 residents.
Swiss municipalities with the highest rates of home ownership (37%) have between 10,000 and 15,000 residents, a rate exceeding the smallest municipalities of less than 10,000 residents (31%).
At a cantonal level, the cantons with the lowest rates of home ownership were Geneva (18.1%) and Basel-City (15.8%). These two cantons are both largely urban, where competition for space is high. More sparsely populated cantons with high rates of home ownership include Valais (54.5%), Jura (49.9%), Solothurn (47.3%) and Aargau (47.3%). Vaud (29.8%), Zurich (27.7%) and Bern (38.8%), large cantons with urban centres were all in between.
Buying property in Switzerland is difficult. Property prices are high relative to incomes and bank lending rules are strict. Banks in Switzerland ask for a minimum deposit of 20% and typically lend up to a maximum of 5 times annual income. Someone wanting to buy a CHF 1,000,000 apartment would typically need a deposit of CHF 200,000 and an income of CHF 200,000. This leaves many who might otherwise buy renting.
In popular parts of Switzerland CHF 1,000,000 (US$ 1,095,000) would only be enough to buy a small apartment.