Accommodation in Zurich

Updated 2019-08-16 14:17

Zurich is one of the most popular expat destinations in Switzerland, as well as one of the world's most livable cities. Each year, it attracts thousands of expats from across the globe. The cost of living in Zurich is quite high. However, on the other hand, so is the population's purchasing power thanks to the attractive wages offered. Therefore, accommodation is not so hard to find as long as you know where to get started.

How to find accommodation in Zurich

To date, Zurich's population amounts to about 400,000 people living in the city - as well as around 1.3 million living in the canton. There is a big established community of expats - with 26.9% of the residents in Zurich holding a non-Swiss passport. More than 60% of the population opts to rent instead of buying property, due to the high prices of land and the building costs. The housing market in Zurich is also very saturated, making the search for an apartment particularly difficult.

Since it is a general practice in Switzerland to visit the flat before submitting an application, it is recommended that you arrange accommodation for a short period of time, such as a hotel room or a short-term serviced apartment, in advance prior to your arrival. Once you arrive in Zurich, you can begin your search online, at property agencies, relocation companies and on newspaper columns. Going to multiple flat visits will not only increase your overall chance of getting an apartment in the end, it will also allow you to familiarise yourself with the city and the neighbourhoods, which will be highly beneficial in your decision on where your new home should be in the city.

That being said, you should certainly start your search for accommodation on the internet even from abroad, in order to schedule a few flat visits in your first days or weeks in the city. Looking for an apartment in the city centre can be very time-consuming. If you do not mind commuting for work, it might be a good idea to look for something outside the city, which will most likely be cheaper and easier to get since the demand is not as high. Websites such as ImmoScout 24 and Homegate are two of the popular flat-hunting platforms where you could begin your search. Alternatively, checking accommodation groups of Zurich in social media platforms such as Facebook may land you a private deal directly with the current tenant or owner of the flat.

Last but not least, although usually expensive, using services from a relocation agency could undoubtedly boost your chance of getting a flat. In fact, you will most probably be guaranteed to find a flat with them, as relocation agencies often have an extensive network and partnerships with apartment owners.

Rent prices in Zurich

Zurich has always been ranked as one of the world's most expensive cities. In fact, rent in Zurich is the most expensive in Switzerland, with apartments of 3 and 3.5 rooms amounting to an average of CHF 2,324 per month, ahead of other international Swiss cities, such as Geneva and Lausanne. Renting a single room in a shared flat can range from around 500 to over 1,000 CHF depending on its size and location. To rent a one or two-room apartment, you should expect somewhere between 900 and 1,600 CHF per month. For bigger apartments, houses, and those situated in friendly neighbourhoods, you should be prepared to fork up to 3,500-4,500 CHF per month.

Districts and 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. Krise 1, which 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, Lanstrasse and Hard in Kreis 4. Fluntern, Hottingen, Hirslanden and Witikon in Kreis 7, as well as Seefeld, Weinegg and Muhlebach in Kreis 8.

Useful links:

Immoscout 24

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