Living in Switzerland is pricey. Rents are rising year after year. Cities like Zurich, Basel, Geneva, or Bern are among the most expensive. It’s crucial to know local rent prices before you pack the bag and move to the most expensive place in the world.
In 2023, the average rent price in Switzerland across the country is 16.5 CHF per square meter. The rent of the average-sized apartment (100 square meters) costs 1,970 CHF per month in Geneva, but in canton Jura, it’s only 1,160 CHF.
Rent prices in Switzerland are the highest in Europe and among the highest in the world. Read this article to learn how much to budget in each Swiss city and for each type of home. Also check out our guide on house prices in Switzerland.
How much is the rent in Switzerland?
Rents in Switzerland are around 60% higher than the EU average. As an expat, you can expect to spend at least 30% of your monthly salary on rent. This is an optimal ratio, but you might spend more.
Facts about rent prices in Switzerland:
- Swiss residents spend between 20% and 30% of their net income on rent and maintenance of their homes.
- On average, the net rent for an apartment in Switzerland is 1,329 CHF (excluding bills).
- The average net rent per square meter across the country is 16.50 CHF.
- The highest rents are in the canton of Geneva at 18.70 CHF/m², and the lowest is in canton Jura – at 11 CHF/m².
What costs you will pay in rent in Switzerland depends on the canton, but also on the apartment type, size, and luxurious it is. You better find out about rental costs before you move to Switzerland to avoid unpleasant surprises. In order to do so, we wrote this article for you.
Generally, about 60% of all residents in Switzerland are renting their current home; hence, rent is widespread, and there are many options on the market. Another 40% are lucky homeowners and live in the owned properties.
The most common housing type is three-room apartments. Currently, around 850,000 of them are rented out in Switzerland, with the highest net rent paid in the canton, Zug.
In Zurich, apartment rents range between 2,000 CHF – 6,000 CHF from small to large ones. Additionally, utilities might cost up to 300 CHF. Other bills you pay as a tenant include telephone, internet, and tax on TV and radio; in summary, about 90 – 100 CHF per month.
Cities like Zurich, Basel, Bern, and Geneva are among the world’s most expensive places to live. Due to strong immigration in recent years, rental prices have increased significantly (by 20% in the last 10 years).
Most rented properties are in cantons Basel-city (84%) and Geneva (78%) had the highest proportion of rented residential homes. At the same time, cantons Appenzell Innerhoden (39%) and Valais (41%) have much fewer properties on rent.
When it comes to households, the majority of tenants in Switzerland are singles (45%) and couple households with or without children (44%).
Property prices have been rising steadily, and so are the rent prices. Usually, the competition for apartments is also pretty high, making tenants apply for a desirable place as they were applying for a job.
Finding the right home also takes time. In German-speaking parts, it’s about one month on average, while in French regions, it’s a whopping four months.
Also read: Best place to buy a house in Switzerland.
Average rent prices in Switzerland in 2023
In 2023, the average monthly rental price of apartments in Switzerland is 16.5 CHF per square meter. There is a significant difference between the cantons.
For the average-sized apartment (100 square meters), you will pay 1,970 CHF per month in Geneva, but in canton Jura, it’s only 1,160 CHF. The difference is 810 CHF.
Moreover, according to the Swiss statistical center, the average net rent for an apartment was 1,373 CHF in 2020 at the national level. The highest rents have been seen in the cantons of Zug, Zurich, and Schwyz. On the other hand, the cheapest cantons are Jura, Neuchâtel and Valais.
Average rent prices in various Swiss cantons
In the table below, you can see average rent prices for different property sizes in all Swiss cantons in CHF, excluding utilities and other additional expenses.
|2020||Number of properties||1 room||2 room||3 room||4 room||5 room||6 room|
|Average across Switzerland||819||1,111||1,327||1,578||1,928||2,429|
Moreover, here is the statistical data for each canton and the average rental price (CHF/m²) per month in 2020:
According to this data, Geneva is the most expensive, and Jura is the cheapest place to rent in Switzerland.
Yet, cantons Geneva, Zurich, and Zug are very close in terms of pricing. Thus, they are the most expensive states to live in.
Rent prices in Zurich
|Apartment type||Average price|
|One-bedroom in the city center||1.799|
|One-bedroom outside of the city center||1.316|
|Three-bedroom in the city center||3.330|
|Three-bedroom outside of the city center||2.303|
Rent prices in Geneva
|Apartment type||Average price|
|One-bedroom in the city center||1.826|
|One-bedroom outside of the city center||1.436|
|Three-bedroom in the city center||3.420|
|Three-bedroom outside of the city center||2.577|
Rent prices in Bern
|Apartment type||Average price||Range|
|One-bedroom in the city center||1.362||1.003 – 1.641|
|One-bedroom outside of the city center||977||775 – 1.459|
|Three-bedroom in the city center||2.359||2.097 – 3.191|
|Three-bedroom outside of the city center||1.698||1.367 – 2.006|
That said, the average income in the city of Bern is 4,777 CHF after taxes. So, you will be able to afford the rent in any case.
Average rent in Switzerland in the past and presence (in CHF):
|Average rent (in CHF)||820||1,059||1,373|
|Properties with 6 rooms and more||1,626||1,978||2,429|
Apartment rent prices
Generally, the average rent per m² for apartments across Switzerland is 260 CHF per year or 21,6 CHF per month. The apartment with 50 m² will cost you about 1,050 CHF per month. Average rent prices range between 176 CHF and 480 CHF.
In Switzerland, it’s typical for apartments to have not an equal number of rooms, but rather 3,5 or 4,5 apartments.
Rent for a 5.5-room apartment
Yes, 5.5-room apartments also exist in Switzerland and are popular among families.
The most affordable prices for that type of apartment are in the regions of Brig-Glis and La Chaux-de-Fonds. At the same time, the most expensive areas for a 5.5-room apartment are around Lake Geneva and Lake Zurich.
The cheapest apartment of that size could is rented out for 2,950 CHF, and the most expensive for 16,729 CHF per month.
Cheapest places to rent a 5,5-room apartment:
- Brig-Glis: median preis 1,435 CHF
- La Chaux-de-Fonds: median preis 1,490 CHF
- Widnau-Au: median preis 1,655 CHF
Most expensive places to a rent 5,5-room apartment:
- Zürich: median preis 4,275 CHF
- Geneva: median preis 4,200 CHF
- Nyon: median preis 4,000 CHF
Rent for a 4.5-room apartment
The average 4.5-room apartment in Switzerland has about 100 to 110 square meters. The median rent for such apartments in the largest Swiss cities is as follows:
- Geneva: 3,820
- Zurich: 3,073
- Lausanne: 2,850
- St. Gallen: 2,004 – it’s the lowest price across the ten largest Swiss cities.
The areas around Lake Geneva and Lake Zurich are also among the most expensive for 4.5-room apartments.
Cheapest places to rent a 4,5 bedroom apartment:
- La Chaux-de-Fonds: median preis 1,045 CHF
- Brig-Glis: median preis 1,050 CHF
- Biasca: median preis 1,075 CHF
Most expensive places to rent a 4,5 bedroom apartment:
- Geneva: median preis 3,400 CHF
- Zürich: median preis 3,130 CHF
- Küsnacht (ZH)–Meilen: median preis 2,990 CHF
Rent for a 3.5-room apartment
Apartments with 3.5-rooms are about 75 to 85 square meters large on average. The average median rent across various Swiss cities:
- Geneva: 2,680 CHF
- Zurich: 2,489 CHF
- Lausanne: 2,194 CHF
- St. Gallen: 1,675 CHF
- Biel: 1,690 CHF
- Lugano: 1,750 CHF
Areas around Lake Geneva are the most expensive to rent a 3.5-room apartment. The median price in 2021 was 4,950 CHF, while the cheapest apartment was 3,100 CHF.
That said, the cheapest places to rent a 3,5 bedroom apartment are:
- Biasca: median preis 950 CHF
- Tramelan–Valbirse: median preis 995 CHF
- Delémont: median preis 1,075 CHF
The most expensive places to rent a 3,5 bedroom apartment include:
- Le Grand-Saconnex: median preis 4,950 CHF
- Vernier–Lancy: median preis 3,500 CHF
- Thônex–Chêne-Bougeries: median preis 3,000 CHF
This data is from 2021.
Rent for a 2-room apartment
2-room apartments average between 45 to 55 square meters in living space. Median rental prices are:
- Zurich: 1,734 CHF
- Geneva: 1,690 CHF
- Lausanne: 1,500 CHF
- Biel: 1,125 CHF
- St. Gallen: 1,289 CHF
House rent prices
Average prices for renting a house in Switzerland are lower, coming to about 218 CHF per m² per year or 18,16 CHF per month. That said, rates vary drastically, from 100 CHF to 387 CHF per m² per year.
Average monthly cost of living in Switzerland
Average monthly expenses vary significantly depending on where you are living. So, the cost of living in Zürich is the highest. If you live in one of the major cities and have a child, you should budget around 5,000 CHF – 6,000 CHF per month.
On average, a household in Switzerland spends around 1,767 CHF per week. This amount includes housing, bills, food, transport, and all typical costs. This comes to about 7,068 CHF per month.
If you are single, your monthly expenses will be significantly lower; here is an example (in CHF) :
- Rent 1,200
- Health insurance: 330
- Other insurances: 100
- Telecommunications: 150
- Transportation: 460 (car)
- Other health costs: 180
- Food: 450
- Shoes and clothing: 130
- Household, hygiene articles: 300
- Entertainment, recreation, culture: 700
- Total per month: 4,000 CHF if you own the car.
If you are moving to Switzerland with your family, you should have at least 4,000 CHF available every month.
A couple with one child might spend between 5,000 CHF and 6,000 CHF per month to cover average expenses and save some money. You can expect the highest prices while living in major Swiss cities.
Here are some statistical data on average monthly expenses for a family of four living in Switzerland:
|Personal expenses including:||7,071|
|1. Food and drinks||1,015|
|2. Clothing and shoes||329|
|3. Living, utilities and maintenance||1,712|
|4. Interior, household appliances & items||315|
|8. Free time and entertainment||780|
|9. Eating out||777|
|10. Other goods and services||549|
|Total expenses for a family of 4||10,852|
|Saving with the average household’s income||2,825|
Cheapest places for rent in Switzerland
If you want to live on as less money as possible in Switzerland, you might need to move to one of the cheapest areas in the country. That said, here are the most affordable cantons to rent a one-bedroom apartment:
The cheapest cantons to rent a four-room apartment or house:
Most expensive places for rent in Switzerland
You must also know what areas are the most expensive for renting a home in Switzerland. Here are the most pricey cantons for renting a 1-room apartment: