• Positive turnaround in assessment of economic outlook
  • Rising prices expected for residential properties and declining prices for both retail properties and office space
  • Strong demand in economic centers: Zurich tops list and Ticino rated least attrac-tive

 

Players on the real estate investment market assess both economic performance and price trends much more positively than in 2020, which was shaped by the pandemic. Whereas market players last year had still expected the next twelve months to bring a negative economic performance and stable real estate prices, they are feeling much more confident this year. That more positive appraisal allowed the Swiss Real Estate Sentiment Index (sresi®), which reflects the expectations of investors, developers and appraisers, to surge from a historic low of -13.1 points to a new record high of +63.7 points within one year.

Development Overall Index

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Positive turnaround in assessment of economic outlook

Market players’ thorough reevaluation of the situation is particularly remarkable with respect to the economic outlook. A year ago, professional real estate investors had still been expecting economic performance to be negative following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Accordingly, the sresi sub-index that reflects assessments of the economic situation plunged well into negative territory at -73.8 points. This year’s survey paints a different picture: the index for the economic situation came in at +63.8 points, which indicates that market participants expect economic performance in the next twelve months to be much more positive. “For Switzerland, fears of a pandemic-related economic downturn have so far proven to be relatively unfounded and those fears have since given way to widespread optimism. This is because the Swiss economy has proven more resilient than market players had originally thought,” explains Beat Seger, Partner and Real Estate Expert at KPMG.

Further price increases expected for residential properties

The Price Expectations Index – the second component of the Swiss Real Estate Sentiment Index – has also risen substantially year on year from +2.1 points to +63.7 points. This shows that players on Switzerland’s real estate investment market anticipate rising prices in the next twelve months. Decreasing prices are expected by merely one percent.

The expected price increase for residential properties hit a new record high of +119.2 points (previous year: +68.0 points), indicating that market participants are more strongly convinced than before that investments in the residential segment are the clear real estate investment of choice. This is also reflected in the increasingly short supply of adequate investment opportunities: the supply index for residential properties has declined from -108.0 points last year to -137.1 points this year.

Price expectations down for retail properties and office space

While price expectations for retail properties have recovered considerably since last year’s record low (-146.8 points), they are still in clearly negative territory at -82.3 points. Market players expect slightly declining prices for office spaces (price index of -32.8 points). Despite widespread discussions about factors impacting demand, negative price expectations for office space have subsided relative to the previous year. “Users have already become accustomed to the new circumstances, which means they aren’t currently focusing on reducing their space,” explains Seger.

Market players rate the supply of adequate investment opportunities for retail properties as just barely adequate (+16.8 points). In the case of office space, market participants expect the supply to be scarcer (supply index of -10.1 points).

Demand in economic centers even higher – Ticino rated least attractive

Market players continue to expect clear price increases in the Zurich and Lake Geneva regions. Both Central and Northwest Switzerland remain attractive for real estate investors and price expectations have also risen year on year in these regions. For the first time in ten years, investors expect prices in the Mittelland region to remain stable. Price expectations for Eastern Switzerland are also only slightly negative. While Ticino has gained some ground year on year, price expectations for that region are still negative. This is likely the result of constrained economic growth combined with an expanded supply.

Price Expectation Index by Region

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Demand for central locations remains strong

Whereas moderate price increases were expected for central locations last year, market players are expecting prices for this category to rise sharply this year. Accordingly, the price index for central locations rose from +75.2 points to +109.8 points year on year. In contrast to last year, real estate investors expect prices for secondary centers and metropolitan areas to rise (price index: +55.4 points). While prices are still expected to decline for peripheral locations, the respondents of this year’s survey feel that the price decline is likely to be moderate compared with the previous year (price index: -32.4 points). 

For more information and the detailed study, please go to: www.kpmg.ch/sresi

Methodology

The KPMG Swiss Real Estate Sentiment Index (sresi®) serves as a leading indicator for anticipated developments in the Swiss real estate investment market. The main index is generated based on assessments of economic developments and price trends in the real estate investment market. The aggregated index reflects respondents’ assessments of the general economic situation (weighted at 20 percent) and the real estate price trend (weighted at 80 percent). The sub-indices express the opinions of market players with respect to individual market and use categories. This data was first collected in 2012, and the survey is repeated every year to generate an index which permits a comparison of market assessments over time. Some 300 real estate investors and appraisers from the Swiss real estate investment market participated in this year’s survey. The respondents represent an investment and appraised volume in excess of CHF 300 billion. The survey was conducted between 6 July 2021 and 30 August 2021.

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