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PROPERTY

Swiss rents: This is where cheapest and priciest apartments are

How cheap or expensive a rental property is in Switzerland depends on many factors, the primary one being location. Here’s an overview of where the highest and lowest rents are right now.

Swiss rents: This is where cheapest and priciest apartments are
How expensive this apartment is depends on its location. Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

This is what we already know in regards to Switzerland’s rental market: apartments are cheaper/more expensive in some cantons and regions than in others.

As a rule, areas in and around major cities and economic hubs (especially multi-national ones) have higher property prices — both for tenants and home buyers — than smaller, more remote towns and rural areas.

For instance, rents in the region of Zug and Zurich, as well as Lake Geneva (which comprises the city and canton of Geneva, and parts of Vaud), are the highest in Switzerland, while Jura, Neuchâtel and non-touristic areas of Valais are much cheaper.

READ MORE: These maps reveal where rent prices are highest in Switzerland

However, the news platform Watson took a slightly different approach in analysing not just the cantons, but 101 labour market regions within.

“These areas, which have been in force since 2019, are delimited according to living and working spaces, and are based on the movements of workers between their place of residence and place of work”, Watson explains.

The news outlet compared the prices for 3.5, 4.5 and 5.5-room apartments in various employment markets, based on Homegate listings.

The findings confirmed the general trend: “The closer to the centre of a large city, the more expensive it gets. The demand there is greater than the supply.”

3.5 room apartment

In 2021, the lowest median rent for a 3.5-room apartment (a two-bedroom flat) was in the labour market regions of Visp (Valais) and Samedan-Pontresina (Graubünden).

The lowest rent for nine flats of this size was 500 francs.

The other low-rent areas:

  • Biasca (Ticino): median price 950 francs
  • Tramelan-Valbirse (Bern): median price 995 francs
  • Delémont (Jura): median price 1,075 francs

On the other hand, “anyone who wanted a 3.5-room apartment in Le Grand-Saconnex near Geneva had to dig deeper into their pockets”, Watson noted.

The median price in 2021 in this posh district of Geneva was 4,950 francs, with the cheapest apartment costing 3,100 francs a month. The other two Geneva communities with the highest rents are Vernier-Lancy (3,500 francs median rent) and Thônex–Chêne-Bougeries (3,000 francs).

“Rents in the Lake Geneva region are among the highest. Not only the location on the lake plays a role, but also the economic potential”, Simon Hurst, Senior Consultant at the real estate appraiser IAZI/CIFI told Watson.

READ MORE: Why is Geneva’s rent the highest in Switzerland?

Rents in Geneva are among the highest in Switzerland. Photo: Pixabay

4.5-room apartment

The cheapest three-bedroom flats — 955 francs — can be found in Moutier, Jura.

The other ones are in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchâtel, where the median price is 1,045 francs, followed by Brig-Glis, Valais (1,050), and Biasca, Ticino (1,075).

As far as the highest rents, they can again be found in the Lake Geneva region, with Zurich not far behind:

  • Geneva: median price 3,400 francs
  • Zurich: 3,130 francs
  • Küsnacht (Zurich) 2,990

5.5-room apartment

The rental market of this size is comparatively small, so there were fewer than 50 advertisements in 50 labour market regions, according to Watson.

The lowest median rent, 1,435 francs, was found  in Brig-Glis (Bern), followed by La Chaux-de-Fonds (1,490), and Widnau-Au (St. Gallen), 1,655 francs.

The highest prices are, again, in the Zurich and Lake Geneva  areas: median price in Zurich: 4,275, in Geneva: 4,200, in Nyon (Vaud): 4,000.

But if you think this is expensive, just wait: in the fashionable resort of St. Moritz (Graubünden), the median price is a whopping 13,365 francs for a 5.5-room flat.

However, Hurst put this numbers into perspective “We don’t have enough details about the properties there, but St. Moritz is a special market”.

“I assume that many of the advertisements are for holiday properties, mostly luxury apartments”, he said.

READ MORE: How rent prices vary in different cities in Switzerland

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FAMILY

EXPLAINED: Why so many baby names are banned in Switzerland

These days, it’s not just celebrities who seem to have a penchant for ruining their child’s life by bestowing him or her with an odd moniker. In Switzerland however, there are several rules about what you can - and cannot - name your child.

EXPLAINED: Why so many baby names are banned in Switzerland

Whether its hanging out your washing on a Sunday or flushing your toilet after 10pm at night, Switzerland has several rules which can be surprising to foreigners. 

One such example is what you are allowed to name your kids.  

While from time to time, parents’ failed attempt to give their child a unique name might make the news, there are in fact an extensive variety of rules about which names can actually be chosen in Switzerland.

Sticklers for the law as they are, the Swiss have several rules controlling what baby names can be given. 

No names which will damage a child’s well-being

Although this appears incredibly difficult to define, there are several actual examples which have been rejected for breaching the well-being rule. 

In considering this, Swiss authorities will look at whether “the child will be exposed to ridicule because of its name.”

This includes ‘Grandma’, ‘Rose Heart’, ‘Prince Valiant’ and ‘Puhbert’. 

REVEALED: The most popular baby name in each Swiss canton

They specifically prohibit giving your kid a name which will damage his or her “well-being”. Names aren’t allowed to be offensive either. 

Twins

Twins must not have names that are too similar to each other. 

The names must not be either spelt or pronounced in the same way. 

Swiss media gives the example of calling two boys “Philip” and “Philipe”. 

No villain names

Switzerland – or at least large parts of it – remain relatively religious, which is probably why choosing a bible villain name for your child is verboten. 

Newspaper Telebasel reports that the name Judas has already been rejected by Swiss registry offices – and will likely be rejected again. Satan, Cain and Lucifer are also banned. 

Boys are boys, girls are girls

Ever the traditionalists, Switzerland has tight gender rules for naming children. 

Specifically, a name must clearly indicate a person’s gender. 

Girls cannot be given a boy’s name and vice versa. 

If a name does not clearly indicate the person’s gender, then the child must be given a hyphenated double name or a second name to make this clear. 

Numbers or letters

In 2017, a Swiss court said ‘J’ was not appropriate as a middle name. 

The court held that allowing ‘J’ would be similar to letting people have a name made up of numbers – although ‘Jay’ a la Homer ‘Jay’ Simpson would presumably be fine. 

No place names

While the world might be debating how to cater to non-binary people who want to be identified as ‘their’, identifying as ‘there’ is a big no go in Switzerland. 

Place names for people are forbidden in Switzerland. 

This may not be interpreted incredibly strictly – Dakota Fanning and Brooklyn Beckham will be OK for now – but if you want to name your little boy ‘Matterhorn’ you may come across some resistance. 

READ MORE: How much does it cost to raise a child in Switzerland?

No product names either

No matter how much you love a particular product, you will be prevented from honouring the brand by naming your child after it. 

That means Ovaltine, Rivella, Chanel or Ferrari are off the table. 

You’re also banned from naming your child after a plant or after an animal. 

What about foreign names? 

One major question – particularly among Local readers – is whether foreign names are banned. 

The main question is whether the name appears in the ‘Internationalen Handbuch der Vornamen’ – the International Handbook of First Names. 

This book – which does not appear to exist in English – expressly lists acceptable first names. 

If it appears in the book, it’s OK with Swiss authorities. 

Which names have actually been banned in Switzerland? 

Suissebook has listed several baby names which have been banned in Switzerland for breaking at least one of the rules listed above. 

In addition to all of those mentioned so far in this article, it includes Bierstubl (place name), Troublemaker (well-being), Mercedes (brand name) and Sputnik (not sure if that is a place or a thing, but either way it’s banned).

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