After a brief decline in the previous month, Swiss asking rents rose again in March, reaching a new high since the survey began in 2009. Asking rents have also increased mostly at the cantonal and city level, but there are a few exceptions. This is shown by current figures from the Homegate Rent Index.
Zurich, 13 April 2023 – The Homegate Rent Index for asking rents is compiled by the real estate marketplace Homegate in cooperation with Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB). It measures the monthly, quality-adjusted change in rents for new and re-let flats based on current market offers. Compared to the previous month, the index increased by 0.3 points in March and now stands at a new high of 120.2 points (plus 0.3 per cent). Compared to the previous year, asking rents rose by 2.6 per cent across Switzerland.
Change in the cantons
At the cantonal level, asking rents are trending upwards in 18 of 25 cantons. Most notably, flat hunters in Nidwalden (+1.3 per cent) and Solothurn (+1 per cent) had to pay more for their new flats. In all other cantons with a price increase, the change was less than 1 per cent. Searchers were able to save money in the cantons of Schwyz (-1.3 per cent) and Graubünden (-1.2 per cent), where asking rents fell the most. In the remaining cantons, prices fell by between -0.2 and -0.4 per cent. Despite these changes in March, asking rents fell year-on-year only in Zug (by -2 per cent after a decline in March of -0.4 per cent). In all other cantons, asking rents increased in the last twelve months, in some cases by more than 4 per cent (Glarus, Valais and Appenzell Inner and Ausserrhoden).
Change in the cities
Among the cities surveyed, Zurich, in particular, stands out in the development of asking rents, where they increased by +2.1 per cent compared to the previous month. Although this increase is mainly due to a temporary decline in February, advertised rents in the city of Zurich are at a new all-time high in March (+0.7 per cent above the previous high of January 2023), as is the case in Switzerland as a whole. However, tenants in the city of Bern also had to reckon with higher expenses than ever before when moving house last month. This is after the asking rents there also reached a new index high due to an increase of +0.6 per cent. Asking rents also rose in Geneva (+1 per cent), Lucerne and St. Gallen (both +0.4 per cent) but fell in Basel (-0.6 per cent), Lausanne (-0.4 per cent) and Lugano (-0.3 per cent). Notwithstanding this, all the cities surveyed recorded a year-on-year increase in asking rents, particularly in Zurich (+7.3 per cent) and Lugano (+6.4 per cent).
Method of quality adjustment
The development of asking rents in Switzerland is corrected for the different quality, location and size of the flats. The advantage of this so-called hedonic method is that the real rental price development for new and re-let flats is reflected on Homegate. The Homegate Rent Index is the oldest quality-adjusted rent index in Switzerland and is considered a reference source for real estate professionals to determine the price of rental properties.
The data for all cantons and cities since the start of the survey can be found in the latest release in the news section of SMG Swiss Marketplace Group Ltd. The next Homegate Rent Index is expected to be published on 10 May 2023.