Are you looking for an apartment and plan a move in Zurich, but don’t know where to start looking? We have the right article for you. We give you an overview of the housing market of Zurich as well as a list of the most important online portals and places to look for an apartment in Zürich.

The housing market in Zurich

In general, we observe a clear decline in the number of empty dwellings in Switzerland in 2022. On 1 June 2022, there were 61 496 empty dwellings in Switzerland according to the Federal Statistical Office. This was 1.31% of the total housing stock (including single-family houses). The dwelling vacancy rate has thus fallen 0.23 percentage points year-on-year. Such a large year-on-year decline was last observed 20 years ago

In Zurich, the total number of empty dwellings according to the building and housing statistics was 5517 on 1 June 2021 and only 4660 on 1 June 2022. As a result, the dwelling vacancy rate fell from 0.72% in 2021 to 0.60% in 2022.

Furthermore, it can be seen that it is the three-room dwellings that are often more available. As of 1 June 2022, there were 1,465 vacant dwellings in the canton of Zurich.

How to find an apartment in Zurich?

Determine the search criteria at the beginning

First of all, you should carefully consider which criteria an apartment in Zurich should satisfy. Having a list of a few criteria makes the apartment search significantly easier. The main criteria generally include: 

  • the size of the apartment
  • the location
  • the rent
  • other criteria like a parking space or the proximity of a school 

Find suitable apartments in Zürich on online search portals

One of the most important places to find an apartment in Zurich is the Internet. There are numerous real estate portals, but you will soon notice that often the same apartments are advertised again and again.

The following Swiss search portals are the most used:

You can see that there are numerous real estate platforms on the Internet where your perfect apartment could be offered. Most platforms offer the possibility to create a search subscription for free. You can set up the Abo individually based on your search criteria so that you are immediately notified by e-mail if a suitable apartment is listed.

Flat search on social networks

Nowadays, social networks are a must, even when looking for a flat. On facebook for example, you can find groups such as “Zurich together” where ads for flats are posted directly by individuals. You can also post an ad directly, describing your personality and what you are looking for.

It may turn out that these groups require a prior application to the group owner to become a member.

Notice board – traditional but still relevant

It has lost much of its importance nowadays, but in some social places, housing is still advertised on the notice board. You will find them in busy places like supermarkets, shopping centres or universities. On these boards you may find an advertisement for a flat in the canton or city of Zurich.

You can also post an ad on these notice boards mentioning the accommodation you are looking for and your contact details so that landlords can contact you.

Use your network to find a flat in Zurich

Your circle of friends will increase your chances of finding a new home. Tell all your colleagues and friends that you are looking for a flat in Zurich. In the best case, they will then tell their friends and acquaintances. In addition, if your relative knows the person who is vacating his or her flat, you can ask him or her to recommend you.

If you already live in Zurich and are moving to Zurich or the canton of Zurich, contact your local housing authority. They will most likely have a large number of properties in the area and will have contacts to give you.

If someone moves out of a flat managed by a housing association, the association will be the first to know, even before an advertisement is published. It is therefore in your interest to contact your housing association to find out if a flat is going to become available soon.

Local newspapers in Zurich and their advertisements for housing

Some people still use newspapers to advertise accommodation. For this reason, take the time on the tram in the morning to look at the advertisements in the local Zurich newspapers. You may find a flat that meets your criteria. Find out more tips and tricks for finding a flat.

Have you just found a flat in Zurich that you like?

You are interested in a flat: now what? Contact the real estate agency or the owner of the property in question and arrange a flat viewing. Be prepared for the visit and bring your application file containing an extract from the register of debtors, a letter of motivation and a copy of your identity card. Check whether you have a rental application form on the platform to fill in and submit with your application.

If there is a problem: “Mieterverband” in Zurich

You have found your dream apartment in Zurich and the move has been successfully completed. Unfortunately, problems or disagreements with the neighbors or with the property manager may occur from time to time. In such a case you should contact the Tenants’ Association (Mieterverband) of Zurich.

The association has experience and knowledge regarding questions about tenancy law. The Tenants’ Association offers you help from experts in various fields such as tenancy law advice, legal advice, or advice on defects.

You can also find your answers in our section on rules in rental properties.