Coronavirus: Demand plummets but prices stable in Swiss real estate market

Newly released figures have shown that while prices in the Swiss house market have remained stable, demand is sinking significantly due to the coronavirus crisis.

Coronavirus: Demand plummets but prices stable in Swiss real estate market
Houses stand on November 9, 2011 in Mont-sur-Rolle, Western Switzerland. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The report, completed by the Swiss arm of the Raiffeisen financial organisation and released on Thursday, finds that ads for real estate have slumped across Switzerland. 

There has as of yet however been little impact on prices, despite what the authors call an “extraordinary situation” caused by the coronavirus. 

READ: Eight things you need to know before renting in Switzerland 

In addition to the uncertain financial situation dampening enthusiasm for buying, reduced immigration has also contributed to fewer sales. 

With immigration levels currently at zero, the study estimates that each month of the pandemic results in around 4,500 fewer immigrants – meaning a decrease in demand for 2,500 units per month. 

The impact of the decline in immigration is particularly pronounced in the cities, the primary destination for new arrivals to Switzerland. 

Half the usual advertisements – but same prices as pre-pandemic

Figures from April show that half of the usual advertisements for family homes and apartments were made than usually are. 

However, sellers have apparently decided to ride the crisis out, keeping their prices the same as before the pandemic. 

“We don't see any price concessions on the sales price yet. Sellers are obviously stick to their asking prices that they had before the crisis,” Raiffeisen Chief Economist Martin Neff said in a statement. 

The study predicts that prices are unlikely to change, with few concessions expected from sellers for the remainder of 2020. 

The number of properties changing hands has dropped significantly, with potential buyers having more difficulty accessing funds as well as experiencing a general reluctance to make large financial decisons. 

Neff predicts that sales will fall into the future while the pandemic goes on. 

“Sellers and buyers are currently not doing business with each other. The number of properties changing hands will continue to drop.”

While the figures relate to residences, the most considerable drops are expected for the commercial property sector – particularly in the hospitality and retail sectors. 


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New Covid-19 wave in Sweden ‘to peak at end of September’

Sweden's Public Health Agency has warned of a new autumn wave of Covid-19 which it expects to peak at the end of September.

New Covid-19 wave in Sweden 'to peak at end of September'

According to both of the two new scenarios published by the agency on Monday, infection rates are set to rise steadily over the next month, something the agency said was due to a falling immunity in the population and greater contact between people as they return to schools and workplaces after the summer. 

“It is difficult to say how high the peak will be, but it is unlikely that it will reach the same levels as in January and February,” the agency’s unit chief Sara Byfors said in a press release. “The most important thing is that people in risk groups and those who are 65 years old and above get vaccinated with a booster dose in the autumn to reduce the risk of serious illness and death.” 

Under Scenario 0, the amount of contact between people stays at current levels, leading to a peak in reported Covid-19 cases at around 5,000 a day. In Scenario 1, contact between people increases by about 10 percent from the middle of August, leading to a higher peak of about 7,000 reported cases a day. 

The agency said that employers should be prepared for many staff to be off sick simultaneously at points over the next month, but said in its release that it did not judge the situation to be sufficiently serious to require either it or the government to impose additional infection control measures. 

It was important, however, it said, that those managing health and elderly care continued to test those with symptoms and to track the chain of infections, that people go and get the booster doses when they are supposed to have under the vaccination programme, and that those who have symptoms of Covid-19 stay home.