Buying property in Switzerland

Purchasing a property in Switzerland is often a long and drawn out process and is very complicated if you are not registered as a resident of the nation.

It is a good idea to start the search for a home before leaving your home country. Depending on the length of your stay it may make more sense to rent rather than buy a property. If planning on staying in the country for a month or less it makes sense to stay in a hotel or B&B.

Buying a property

As an EU citizen who has declared they are a resident in Switzerland allows you to purchase property without restrictions. However as a non-resident EU citizen you must obtain a permit B, non-EU non-residents require a C permit. These permits can be difficult to obtain as there is a set quota and they are distributed by canton – with the highest number of permits reserved for tourist areas. Special permission must be acquired if you plan on buying over 3,000m² of land.


The vast majority of native Swiss rent their homes. In Switzerland tenants have much better rights than they do in the UK and other parts of Europe. Tenants have a legal right to sublet their rented apartment to another person and enjoy unlimited and easy to cancel lease contracts.  Rent rates in Switzerland are comparable to those in other European countries.

However, you will find variations between the cantons. Due to excess demand, rents are higher in cities like Basel, Geneva and Zurich. Most landlords will expect a three-month deposit, which is returned when you move out along with the interest earned over the rental period. Due to the large number of sub-let apartments many are fully furnished and are often equipped with an oven, fridge and dishwasher.  If an issue does arrive between you and your landlord, being a member of a tenants association will prove beneficial.