Buying real estate in Switzerland?

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Buying a property in Zurich: a complete guide

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property investment Zurich

Yes, the analysis of Zurich's property market is included in our pack

Thinking of investing in real estate in Zurich? You're not alone!

Many people are captivated by Zurich's cosmopolitan charm and dream of owning a luxurious penthouse or a modern apartment there.

Would it be a profitable investment, though? Are property prices increasing in Zurich? What is the price per sqm? Should you consider investing in the Old Town or Seefeld? What about the taxes? Where are the best rental yields?

We've figured it out for you.

The Investropa team knows this market inside and out. Actually, we've gathered all our findings in a pack. Get it now.

In this article, get ready to receive valuable insights from us.

How's the property market in Zurich?

Confused about the property market's status? Everyone has their views. As for us, we prefer stick to new data and stats for clear conclusions.

Types of properties

In Zurich, there are various types of properties available for sale, catering to different preferences and needs.

These include apartments ranging from cozy studios to spacious penthouses, offering urban living with modern amenities. Additionally, there are charming townhouses and single-family homes that provide a more suburban feel, often accompanied by gardens or green spaces.

For those seeking a more luxurious lifestyle, upscale villas with elegant designs and scenic views can also be found.

Finally, commercial properties such as office spaces and storefronts are available for those interested in business opportunities.

Buying or renting?

(If you plan to use it yourself and not as a rental)

If Zurich is your city of choice, the decision of buying or renting a property in this Swiss financial hub awaits you.

Without a doubt, it's better to buy if you want to invest in a long-term asset that can appreciate in value over time and provide stability in the Zurich housing market.

Our advice? Use the property price-to-rent ratio as your decision-making compass. It's a simple way to gauge the impact of rental earnings on covering the property's cost.

According to Numbeo, the property price-to-rent ratio in Zurich is around 42.21, which is very high.

A high price-to-rent ratio typically suggests that buying a property is relatively expensive compared to renting it.

Property prices in Zurich

On average, according to the last data from Swiss National Bank, purchasing a property in Zurich should cost you around $15,500 per square meter.

Of course, there are notable differences. The value of a square meter for a lakeside property in Zurich might differ from an apartment in the city center. We actually offer a more in-depth analysis in our pack for buying property in Zurich and in Switzerland.

To put things in perspective, it is more than Paris or London.

Obviously, housing prices in Zurich are higher (11%) than in Geneva.

The most expensive neighbourhoods in Zurich are probably Zurich-City, Seefeld, and Enge, while the cheapest are probably Altstetten, Albisrieden, and Oerlikon.

Zurich Property Price per Square Meter


First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that Switzerland is, today, an incredibly stable country. The last Fragile State Index that has been reported for this place is 18.9.

Don't overlook this while weighing the pros and cons of buying a property in Zurich.

Also, according to the IMF’s forecasts, Switzerland's economy is expected to soar by 6.8% in the coming 5 years, resulting in an average GDP growth rate of 1.4%.

If you intend to invest in real estate in Zurich it's a good thing because rising prosperity among individuals signals a probable upturn in housing prices.

Also, in Switzerland, the average GDP per capita has changed by 2.0% over the last 5 years. It's not much, but the growth is here.

However, according to the UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index, the Zurich property market is currently significantly overvalued and presents a risk of a bubble (the index is at 1.81 and there is a bubble risk for a score above 1.5).

Looking for more updated data? We've done a big-picture study to find out if it's a good idea to purchase property in Switzerland right now.

Buying property in Zurich

Buying real estate in Zurich can be a difficult process due to the lack of reliable and up-to-date information available. That's why we have created the pack to buy property in Zurich and in Switzerland.

Buying process

In our pack, we've laid out all the steps involved in the buying process, including the required documents, taxes to be paid, and guidance on finding properties.

Now, we're giving you a more straightforward version to help you grasp the information more easily.

This is the step-by-step process to purchase a property in Zurich:

  1. Determine your budget and property preferences, considering the city's real estate market.
  2. Engage a licensed real estate agent familiar with Zurich's property laws and regulations.
  3. Review available properties, considering factors like location, amenities, and proximity to transportation.
  4. Conduct thorough due diligence, including checking the Grundbuch (land registry) for ownership details and potential encumbrances.
  5. Secure a mortgage from a Swiss bank or lender, ensuring compliance with the country's financing requirements.
  6. Make an offer through a formal purchase offer letter and negotiate the price with the seller or their agent.
  7. Sign a legally binding purchase contract (Kaufvertrag) in the presence of a notary public.
  8. Pay a deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) into the seller's escrow account.
  9. Get necessary approvals from the authorities, such as the municipality or cantonal authorities.
  10. Obtain a bewilligung (residence permit) if you're a non-Swiss resident planning to live in the property.
  11. Arrange for the final settlement and transfer of ownership before a notary.
  12. Pay the remaining balance, including notary fees, property transfer tax, and agent commissions, to complete the purchase process and become the property owner in Zurich.

Also, if you're not from the country, you might want to check our article on how to buy property as a foreigner in Switzerland.

Make a profitable investment in Zurich

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buying property in Zurich

Where to find a property

You may embark on your property search in Zurich with these useful websites:

  • Immo Scout 24 - A leading real estate marketplace in Switzerland, offering rentals and sales of properties across various cities.
  • RealAdvisor - Providing tools to help sell your home faster, market insights, real estate listings, and mortgage comparisons in Switzerland.
  • - A Swiss real estate portal offering residential and commercial listings, property estimates, and services to support real estate projects.
  • Homegate - Offering a smart property search platform in Switzerland for buying, renting, property valuation, and moving services.
  • Comparis - A Swiss property marketplace with a vast selection of properties for rent and purchase from multiple major websites, featuring transparent pricing and useful guides.

Also, know that we have included contacts of real estate agencies, property lawyers, moving companies, expats communities and more in our pack for buying property in Switzerland.

Properties & Budget

As mentioned before, the average price per sqm in Zurich is $15,500. A 1-bedroom property of 60 square meters would cost approximately $930,000, and a 2-bedroom property of 85 square meters would cost approximately $1,318,000.

Of course, the price of properties can be influenced by their qualities and the area they're in.

The nicest neighborhoods in Zurich will be more expensive. Consider a condominium in Seefeld, which might be priced at around $1,780,000, while a house in Riesbach could be priced at $2,710,000.

Still, some spots are easier on your budget. You could find an apartment in Altstetten for $510,000, or you may discover one in Oerlikon priced at only $420,000.

We give a more detailed breakdown in our full pack for buying property in Switzerland.

Risks and pitfalls

Here are the main pitfalls specific to buying property in Zurich, Switzerland:

  • Swiss property laws and regulations can be complex and unfamiliar to foreign buyers.
  • Non-Swiss residents may face restrictions on purchasing secondary residences.
  • High property transaction costs, including transfer taxes and notary fees, can add significantly to the purchase price.
  • The Swiss property market may experience limited supply and high demand, leading to inflated prices.
  • Zoning laws and strict building regulations might limit property development or renovation opportunities.
  • Switzerland's strict inheritance laws could affect property inheritance and succession planning.
  • Property maintenance costs, including insurance and property taxes, tend to be higher in Switzerland.
  • Non-EU citizens may face additional bureaucratic hurdles and legal requirements to buy property in Zurich.

We don't want this to happen to you, so we have included a full checklist for your property investment in our pack of documents. Avoid these mistakes and save a lot of money.

real estate Switzerland

Everything you need to know is included in our Switzerland Property Pack

Living in Zurich

Living in Zurich is an excellent experience, offering a high quality of life in a vibrant and beautiful city with a variety of activities and amenities.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Zurich is quite high, due to the city's high salaries and strong Swiss Franc. However, the quality of life is also high, with excellent public transportation, infrastructure and safety.

Here are some examples to better understand the cost of living in Zurich, Switzerland:

  • A glass of Rivella, a popular Swiss soft drink, at a local cafe: $3-$5.
  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the trendy Kreis 5 (Zurich West) neighborhood: $2,500-$4,000 per month.
  • Monthly pass for the efficient Zurich public transportation system (ZVV): $70-$110.
  • A bottle of Swiss mineral water (e.g., Henniez) at a grocery store: $2-$3.
  • Utilities (electricity, heating, cooling) for an 85m² apartment in Zurich: $150-$250.
  • A meal for two at a traditional Swiss restaurant (e.g., fondue or raclette): $80-$150.
  • Entrance fee to the Swiss National Museum (Landesmuseum Zürich): $10-$15.
  • Health insurance coverage for a family of four: $800-$1,500 per month.

Neighbourhoods and spots

Since we always want to make things clear and reader-friendly, we made a table that explains the different neighborhoods in Zurich. For yields, prices and rents, check our property pack.

Neighborhood Description Strengths Weaknesses

Altstadt (Old Town)

Altstadt is the historic core of Zurich, featuring cobblestone streets, medieval buildings, and cultural attractions like museums and churches.

Rich history, charming architecture, central location.

Limited green spaces, can be crowded with tourists.

Kreis 4

Kreis 4 is a trendy and diverse neighborhood known for its lively nightlife, street art, and a variety of international restaurants.

Vibrant nightlife, multicultural atmosphere, diverse dining.

Noisy at night, limited parking options.


Enge is an upscale residential area near Lake Zurich, offering a mix of beautiful parks, luxury shopping, and lakefront promenades.

High-end living, lake views, excellent shopping.

Higher cost of living, limited affordable housing.


Wiedikon is a family-friendly neighborhood with tree-lined streets, local markets, and a variety of recreational facilities.

Family-oriented, good amenities, pleasant environment.

Can be less lively, limited upscale dining options.


Seefeld is an elegant lakeside district with upscale residences, boutique shops, and proximity to parks and cultural venues.

Exclusive living, beautiful lakefront, cultural attractions.

Expensive real estate, limited public transport.


Oerlikon is a lively and dynamic neighborhood with a mix of residential and industrial areas, offering good shopping, restaurants, and local markets.

Convenient shopping, diverse dining options, good transport links.

Some areas may be noisy due to industrial zones.


Hottingen is an affluent area with elegant mansions, green parks, and a peaceful atmosphere, located close to the city center.

Upscale living, proximity to the city center, tranquil surroundings.

Higher property prices, limited nightlife.

Life in Zurich

Zurich is the economic powerhouse of Switzerland and one of the world's leading financial centers. It is home to a large number of international banks and insurance companies, as well as a strong presence of multinational corporations.

What expats usually like the most in Zurich is the high quality of life, with its excellent public transport system, low crime rate and stunning natural scenery. They also appreciate the diverse cultural offerings, from the city's many museums and galleries to its vibrant nightlife.

An important point (that we just mentioned) to note is that Zurich is an extremely safe city - the crime index is around 21, which is an exceptional score. Zurich has a culture of law-abiding citizens who take pride in their community and respect the law, resulting in almost no crime.

A good point for a property investor - Zurich has a comprehensive mass rapid transit system, called the Zürich S-Bahn, which serves the entire city and its surroundings.

Access to healthcare in Zurich is excellent, with a Healthcare Index of 72. You probably know that when there's a solid healthcare setup, it makes a location more appealing, which benefits real estate.

Finally, it is worth noting that Zurich has two world-class universities: ETH Zurich (top 12) and the University of Zurich (top 90).

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Renting out in Zurich

This section is for you if you want to buy property solely for renting out and earning income.


Tenant Profiles in Zurich

According to the data reported by Wikipedia, the home ownership rate in Switzerland is 42%, which is quite low.

It means that, if you decide to buy and rent out in Zurich, there will be a significant tenant pool. It's a good thing.

If you decide to buy and rent out to long-term tenants, you should target young professionals, students, and families. These are the main tenant profiles in Zurich, as the city is known for its diverse job market and quality of life.

Here is a little summary table we've made for you.

Property type and area Profiles of potential tenants What they are looking for Expected monthly rent in $

Apartment in Kreis 1

Professionals, expats

Central location, city life

$2,000 - $5,000

Studio in Kreis 4

Youth, artists

Trendy area, nightlife

$1,200 - $2,500

Penthouse in Seefeld

Affluent individuals, families

Lake views, upscale living

$4,000 - $10,000

Apartment in Oerlikon

Young professionals, families

Good transport, amenities

$1,500 - $3,500

House in Witikon

Families, nature lovers

Suburban living, greenery

$3,000 - $7,000

Apartment in Wiedikon

Young professionals, students

Accessible location, cafes

$1,000 - $2,500

Studio in Langstrasse

Students, artists

Cultural area, diverse

$800 - $1,800

Rental yields

As of today, rental yields in Zurich are floating around 2 or 3%. It's low. Among other things, this weak performance can be explained by Zurich's high housing prices relative to rental prices, which keeps rental yields relatively low.

Properties located in central Zurich, near public transportation, shopping, and other amenities tend to have the best rental yields due to the high demand for such locations. Additionally, properties located in the outskirts of Zurich, with less competition from other rentals, can also offer good rental yields.

For further explanation and a more detailed breakdown, you can check the reports and analyses we have made.

Finally, be aware that, according to the Swiss National Bank (SNB), rental incomes in Zurich are taxed at 60%, which is very high


You could also decide to rent short-term to business travelers, tourists, or students studying in Zurich. Additionally, you could target people attending conventions, conferences, or other events in the city.

If you decide to go with that option, look for properties in the Old Town, Zurich West, and Zurich-Oerlikon areas. These areas tend to be more popular with tourists and have a higher demand for short-term rentals.

Currently, there are approximately 3,015 active Airbnb listings in Zurich, reflecting a highly dynamic and bustling short-term rental market. The average daily rate stands around $175, which is quite high.

You have the opportunity to generate a nice additional income stream then. According to online testimonials and analytics platform like AirDNA, Guesty and Inside Airbnb, people who offer short-term rentals in Zurich can make around $2200 per month. Also, the average occupancy rate is estimated at 75%.

Is it worth buying real estate in Zurich then?

Buying a property in Zurich is a double-edged sword, and the decision hinges on your financial prowess and objectives.

If you've got deep pockets and a long-term perspective, Zurich could be your oyster. The city boasts a stable economy, promising GDP growth, and a high property price-to-rent ratio that leans towards buying, offering potential for property appreciation and stability.

Moreover, Zurich offers a top-notch quality of life with excellent public transportation, low crime rates, and healthcare, making it an attractive prospect for those craving safety and comfort. If you plan to rent out your property, Zurich's limited homeownership rate opens doors to a sizable tenant pool, and the tourist market presents lucrative short-term rental opportunities.

However, tread cautiously if you're not swimming in cash. Zurich's property prices are stratospheric, among the highest globally, and its property market is perilously overvalued, harboring a bubble risk. Complex regulations and high transaction costs can trip up foreign buyers, while the city's rental yields are depressingly low, making it an unsavory choice for income-focused investors.

Add to that the hefty 60% tax on rental income, and the appeal dims further. In short, Zurich can be a real estate dream or a financial nightmare depending on your financial situation and objectives. If you're a high roller with a long-term vision, it might be worth the gamble. But if you're not swimming in wealth and seek immediate returns, it's probably best to look elsewhere for more investor-friendly pastures.

Make sure you understand the real estate market in Zurich

Don't rush into buying the wrong property in Switzerland. Sit, relax and read our guide to avoid costly mistakes and make the best investment possible.

real estate market Zurich

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement or advice. While we strive for accuracy, we do not guarantee the completeness or reliability of the information, including text, images, links, or other elements in this material. Following the content and analyses presented here does not assure specific outcomes. For guidance tailored to your individual circumstances, it is recommended to consult with a professional, such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor.