The single-family home as a discontinued model

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Population growth, a shortage of building land and living space and the increased promotion of high-density construction are making the single-family home an obsolete model. Replacing ageing single-family homes with potential for expansion with apartment buildings creates living space. Private individuals are increasingly selling to investors. What needs to be considered?

The single-family homes in the suburbs and rural regions are lined up one after the other. According to a study by Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB), over 70 percent of single-family homes in the canton of Zurich are under-occupied, with one in seven being a single-person household. With the continuing population growth and the focus on sustainability, the prevailing ideal of many Swiss people owning their own home is no longer in keeping with the times.

There is still excess demand for detached houses (EFH), but the traditional house is slowly becoming obsolete. In 2000, < 600 single-family homes were demolished nationwide, 20 years later more than three times as many. In view of the increasing scarcity of building land, the replacement of obsolete single-family homes with multi-family homes is favored in terms of spatial planning and the densification of existing settlements. This is particularly suitable if a renovation is due anyway.

*Expected subsequent deliveries of demolitions and new buildings in 2022 estimated for 2021 based on previous years. The Single-family home stock in the canton of Zurich could decline for the first time.

Further densification is unavoidable in Switzerland. Building land is scarce, immigration is high and ESG (Environmental Social Governance) issues are becoming central. The Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) aims to make better use of existing settlement areas. For example, previously underutilized building zones, gaps between buildings and vacant lots are to be densified or single-family homes converted into apartment buildings. Pressure is likely to increase in line with the environment.

A sale to investors. What needs to be considered?

If you want to sell a property, preparation is crucial for a successful outcome. Here are some questions you should answer:

  • What is the condition of the property? Assessment of the building fabric, piping systems, maintenance backlogs, facilities, etc.
  • Do you know the value of your property? Reliable determination of the market value for sound planning
  • Do you know the utilization potential? Clarification of the residential zone and utilization rate, calculation of any usage reserves, building and zoning regulations (BZO)
  • Which use is possible and promises the greatest potential? Review of the future benefit potential
  • How high is the property gains tax?
  • Is it worth selling through an estate agent?
  • What are the options for replacement or rental?
  • Do you know the market? Don’t miss the right time!

One important aspect is property gains tax. In view of the sharp price increases over the last 20 years, property gains tax affects most home sellers.

Calculate property gains tax

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