A recent survey run by ZHAW finds that the price of housing is too high for the majority of people wishing to own their own home in Switzerland. Aspiring home owners would like to see greater support.
Switzerland is a nation of renters, something reflected in low home ownership rates by international standards. Across Switzerland, only 36% of the population lived in a home owned by it occupants in 2020. Homeownership ranged from 15% in Basel-City to 58% in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden.
However, in reality many more would like to own a home but cannot find anything they can afford.
The ZHAW study involved interviewing a representative sample of around 1,000 people who did not own a home in German- or French-speaking Switzerland during the second half of 2021. Out of this group 37% were categorised as permanent renters, 31% transitional renters and 32% home seekers hoping to buy something.
Homeownership was considered to be accessible to a privileged few. Around 80% of those looking to buy their own home now or in the future found prices too high. A majority also said that they did not have sufficient assets or had not yet found an affordable property. Only 15.9% of home seekers and transitional renters surveyed considered homeownership affordable. High real estate prices and a lack of sufficient assets and income were seen as the main barriers.
To improve the chances of homeownership 52.4% would like help identifying financing options and 52.7% would like help determining the maximum purchase price they could afford. In addition, they would like greater access to their pensions assets.
Key motivations for home ownership were to settle down long term (90%), design freedom (81%) and having a nice place (75%). Financial considerations such as financial stability (72%) and the desire to provide for family (68%) were less important. Only 17% were aiming to buy a house and sell it at a higher price.
The desire to own was closely associated with age. 45.8% of those aged 30-39 wished to buy a home compared to only 23.7% of those aged 50-69. Homeownership was also strongly associated with having family.
ZHAW study (in English)