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Moving to Zurich

Zürich is notoriously expensive and is regarded as quite a difficult place to relocate to. This is especially the case for expats. Luckily, we at Kingpin International have formulated some tips and information to ease the stress of finding a place in this beautiful Swiss city. Most people living in Zürich, including the expat population, tend to rent their property due to regulations in place and extremely high property prices. 

Brush up on your Swiss rental knowledge 

As mentioned, finding a place in Zürich can be frustrating, particularly in the central areas and the other more popular locations in the city. Therefore, one recommendation is to do as much research as possible on the Swiss rental system to avoid losing out to the competition. An effective way to do this is by consulting expat blogs for Zürich, or on a more formal level to use a rental agent who typically will have the vast local knowledge to guide you in your search. However, using agencies can be costly, in some cases the equivalent of 2-3 months’ rent, meaning you should ensure this is a viable option before going ahead. 

Many expats will likely be surprised at the depth of information sent to landlords in order to impress and become the preferred tenant. This is something to be very aware of and it all stems from the level of competition for homes, particularly in the areas of central Zürich. Salaries will often be a deciding factor for landlords accepting tenants as they seek someone reliable in their payments. 

For utilities, some will form part of any lease agreement i.e. water and heating. But for others, the tenant may have to deal with these themselves. For example, any extra channels being added to the basic cable television network will have to be arranged by the tenant.  

Cost of Living

It’s generally recognised that living costs in Zürich are comparatively high, therefore worth investigating the basic living costs of the city to get an idea. 

Statistics show that although earlier this year it was ranked the second-best city worldwide for ‘quality of life’, living in Zürich does mean you will have to spend more money than in other European cities. It would cost a single person about 1535 Euros to live in Zürich each month excluding rent. As renting is much more common in Switzerland than buying, the rent of a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is approximately 1611 Euros. Basic utilities for an 85-metre square apartment are around 151 Euros each month to cover electricity, heating, cooling, water and garbage costs. 

Areas to Consider

There are many areas in Zürich to base your property search, with much depending on your personal circumstances. Prices tend to get slightly lower as you leave the realms of the city centre, with rates in the central areas being fairly expensive. 

City of Zürich 

This is probably the best location for single expats or for those who will not relocate with children, simply due to the fact that housing tends to be apartments with limited space. This is one of the most expensive and competitive areas of Zürich with its close proximity to the main centre and major work business locations. 

Lights in street at night
Zurich City at Night

Lake Zürich 

Living near the lake comes with many advantages. Aside from the stunning views and a large thriving expat community, on either side of the lake, there are International Schools that can be one of the prime considerations for expats with children.  

Pfannenstiel and Albis regions 

Similarly, these areas tend to be more popular with expats and families due to their short distance from International Schooling options. 

Online Help

Like most major city locations around Europe, there are a variety of online portals that seek to help expats find appropriate accommodation for their stay in Zürich. These can act as a good starting point for any property search, particularly prior to arriving in the city. Getting an idea of what you want and where you would like to stay before seeking the expert help of agents or speaking to any landlords can turn out to be hugely beneficial. 

Below are some of the well-known online portals for finding properties in Zürich: 

Statistics according to Numbeo 


If you are interested in a move to Zürich or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, please browse our current International Tax vacancies. 

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