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Homeowners are drawn to the countryside, tenants would like extras

The ideal home survey conducted by MoneyPark, alaCasa and Helvetia is the largest independent investigation into what constitutes a dream home for the Swiss. While tenants and homeowners share many needs and wishes, there are also major differences between them.

28 May 2020, text: Leo Wehrli, photo: Envato, Deposit

Satisfaction is generally at peak levels. 98 percent of homeowners and 90 percent of tenants are satisfied with their current living situation. As many as 70 percent or so of homeowners are «very satisfied.»

Homeowners are drawn to the countryside

The countryside remains attractive. A total of some 45 percent of Swiss would like to live in a rural area. This wish is especially prevalent among homeowners. Over half would prefer to live in the country.

Tenants' idea of the best place to live is distributed somewhat more evenly over the three categories town/city, agglomeration and countryside, at 28, 36 and 36 percent respectively.

The main reason cited for nonetheless opting to live in or near a town or city is proximity to the workplace. Shorter commute times are simply too enticing.

The shared dream

Whether a tenant or already a homeowner, the Swiss dream of a detached single-family house in the country. Finances are the main hurdle to tenants realizing this dream. Homeowners also face the problem of not finding a suitable property on the market.

Single-family house with garden patio and mowed lawn.

What most Swiss dream of: A detached single-family house.

Who hasn't given it a try, who wants to try again?

Even if it isn't perhaps a detached house in the country, half of all Swiss are planning to buy a property. Every third homeowner is actually considering purchasing a further piece of real estate.

A terraced house is increasingly gaining in appeal as an affordable alternative to detached single-family houses on a constant upward price spiral. More than a quarter of tenants also consider buying an apartment in a multi-family dwelling an option worth pursuing.

There are many reasons for buying residential property. Younger respondents in particular cite the lower living costs as the main consideration. The freedom to design your own living space, security in old age and – mainly in Western Switzerland – not being dependent on landlords were all among the reasons listed by more than one third of respondents.

Young couple embracing in the apartment they have just moved into.

The majority of the Swiss population is very satisfied or satisfied with their living situation.

Discrepancy in terms of outgoings

While it is completely normal for tenants to spend 20 to 35 percent of their gross household income (GHI) on their principal place of residence, for almost three quarters of homeowners living costs make up less than 20 percent of GHI. This discrepancy becomes particularly apparent when you look at a concrete example:

The average rent for a four-room apartment at the end of 2019 was around CHF 1500 per month, excluding ancillary costs. The mortgage interest on a comparable apartment is in the vicinity of CHF 700, i.e. less than half.

For years homeowners have also been benefiting from falling mortgage interest rates and rising property prices. If you own it, your home is also an investment.

The trend is «living plus»

An idea that resonates well with tenants are extra services designed to simplify everyday life. «Living plus is the keyword here. More and more tenants want services they can readily avail of to make daily living that bit easier», explains André Keller, CIO Helvetia Insurance. «This is something that all age groups require», Keller expands.

People of all ages clearly feel the need for additional support services to enhance their living situation. There are differences though. Demand for apartment cleaning services is much greater among younger people for instance, while older respondents have more of a need for someone to tend to their home when they are away.

The study

The ideal home survey conducted by MoneyPark, alaCasa and Helvetia is the largest independent investigation into what constitutes a dream home for the Swiss.