Updated 5 months ago

Zurich is the most popular expat destination in Switzerland, and one of the world's most pleasant cities. Each year, it attracts thousands of expats from across the globe. However, the cost of living in Zurich is quite high – but on the other hand, so is the population's purchasing power thanks to the attractive wages offered.

How to find accommodation in Zurich

To date, Zurich's population amounts to about 400,000 people living in the city – as well as more than a million living in the canton’s broader area. A large number of that population (estimated to be 31% back in 2008 and growing) is actually expats. More than 60% of the population opts to rent instead of buying property, due to the high prices of land and the building costs. Because of that, finding an apartment in Zurich can be hard and the prices are high.

Since apartment hunting will take some time, perhaps the smartest approach would be to get a hotel room, a temporary furnished apartment or share a flat for a few months. This will allow you to be in the area yourself and look for accommodation. Another idea would be to look for something outside the city, within commuting distance from your work: the apartments will most likely be cheaper and the demand not so high.

That being said, you should start your search for accommodation on the internet even from abroad. You can start by browsing real estate websites and databases like Homegate and ImmoScout24. You can also check out classified ads in local newspapers, some of which are also available online. A real estate agency or a relocation agency can also help you find the most suitable accommodation according to your family situation and your budget.

Rent prices

Zurich has always been ranked among the world's most expensive cities. Given the cost of living in Zurich, rent prices are relatively high compared to the rest of the country. Thus, to flatshare, you will need an average of 400-1,000 CHF(€345-€862) per month, for a room with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. To rent a small one or two-room apartment, you should expect somewhere between 800-1,600 CHF (€689-€1,380) per month, depending on whether it’s furnished and where it’s located. For bigger apartments, houses, or for apartments in “nice” neighbourhoods, you should be prepared to fork up to 3,500-4,500 CHF (€3,000-€3,800) per month.

Districts & neighbourhoods in Zurich

Zurich is divided into twelve districts known as Stadtkreise, numbered from 1 to 12. A district can also be one neighbourhood or contain more neighbourhoods. Kreis 1, that is the old town, consists of Zurich City, Lindenhof, Rathaus and Hochschulen which are administrative districts. Kreis 2 also hosts old districts such as Leimbach, Enge and Wollishofen while Kreis 5 is an industrial area consisting of Escher Wyss and Gewerbeschule.

The most popular residential neighbourhoods are Sihlfeld, Friesenberg and Alt-Wiedikon in Kreis 3; Werd, Langstrasse and Hard in Kreis 4; Fluntern, Hottingen, Hirslanden and Witikon in Kreis 7; Seefeld, Weinegg and Muhlebach in Kreis 8.

 Useful links:

Immoscout 24
Home Gate

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