Switzerland’s housing market is cooling, with house prices falling by 1.03% in Q2 2022 from a year earlier, following y-o-y declines of 0.66% in Q1 2022 and 0.11% in Q4 2021 and annual growth of 1.48% in Q3 2021 and 1.89% in Q2 2021. During the latest quarter, house prices were down slightly by 0.45% q-o-q.
After about 15 years of uninterrupted house price rises, Switzerland’s housing market has stabilized in the past three years, mainly due to the Swiss government’s market-cooling measures.
The property market’s slowdown in recent years can be attributed to the Swiss National Bank’s stricter lending criteria, designed to lower housing debt (currently 90% of all household debt). The decision of the central bank to abandon its cap against the euro in 2015 also made Swiss real estate more expensive for foreign investors, thereby reducing demand.
Housing loan volumes have increased only modestly in recent years, because of the Federal Council’s imposition of a countercyclical capital buffer (CCB) for residential real estate in February 2013, as part of SNB’s attempt to contain the appreciation of the Swiss franc.
However, in March 2020, the requirement was removed to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was only on January 26, 2022 that the capital buffer targeted at mortgage loans financing residential real estate was reactivated. Banks are given until September 30, 2022 to meet the increased capital requirements. Rents, rental yields are lowish, at around 3.27%.