Living preferences: Best places to live

Article from 19.05.2022
Living preferences

Among other factors, central location and image play a role when choosing the ideal living area. However, depending on the respective living situation, different location criteria are weighted differently, which is why different municipalities attract different types.


When the Swiss decide to move, they usually don’t move far: About 50 percent of households are moving within their or to a neighbouring municipality. It makes sense - after all, there is an existing network, either consisting of social contacts or through work. By moving away, those anchors are left behind, which is why other factors and attributes become more important.


This is one of the reasons why the pros and cons of a new area should be duly considered prior to moving. Surveys and studies reveal the criteria that play a role, and how those different criteria are weighed depending on household structure. An older couple, for instance, will have different priorities to a 30-year old single person. Socioeconomic characteristics such as status, occupation, income or lifestyle also play a role when it comes to preferences. Individualised households will give more weight to public transport than middle-class households, with the latter probably putting more weight on an area’s image and stability.


Index allows for ranking of municipalities

In Switzerland, the most important local characteristics are known extensively, and they can be calculated for each municipality. The necessary data can be divided in large-scale and small-scale indicators. The first category is mainly about centrality. When choosing a new place of residence, the accessibility of facilities that are important for everyday life, such as the working place, is a determining factor. In terms of small-scale characteristics, the focus is on the immediate residential environment as well as small-scale image and neighbourhood.


Fahrländer Partner Raumentwicklung (FPRE) has determined the living- and living quality index (WLQI) for every Swiss municipality, allowing for a relative comparison across the entire country. The result: Not a single municipality is unattractive, and each one has its benefits as well as drawbacks.


Middle-class families for instance will find municipalities with a combination of easy accessibility and rural atmosphere alluring. Such areas usually offer high quality in terms of surroundings paired with attractive natural areas and little urban sprawl.


Centrality as an important factor – but living in the countryside has its charms too

According to the country-wide comparison, municipalities in the catchment area of urban centres are coming off particularly well. While cities rank high with individualised and young households, there obviously are others who prefer the countryside idyll.


Ultimately, every household puts a different emphasis on the various factors of a potential new place of residence. Experienced real estate agents know about the pros and cons of the different areas and can help you find the area best suited to your needs and preferences.


These municipalities are attractive

The WLQI Index shows that there are attractive municipalities in each of the country’s regions. We have compiled a list of Swiss municipalities that are particularly alluring for certain household types:


Lausanne VD

The city of Lausanne with its 140,202 inhabitants scores with its central location, good transport connections as well as many hours of sunshine and its location on the shores of Lake Leman. This mix is particularly appealing to young, open-minded singles and couples.


Walchwil ZG

With only 3,820 inhabitants, the municipality of Walchwil scores with is idyllic setting on the shores of Lake Zug. A large portion of its households is upper-class. The town of Zug is close by - a mere 12 minutes by car. These are attractive conditions for traditional middle-class families.


Ennetbaden AG

Ennetbaden has 3,486 inhabitants and is part of the medium-sized agglomeration of Baden-Brugg. Above all, the municipality scores with good transport connections and its reputation. It is favoured by young, middle-class singles and couples.


Hettlingen ZH

Hettlingen has 3,101 inhabitants and is close to Winterthur. Its proximity to the town of Winterthur, combined with its housing stability makes it a sought-after area, however, limited reserves of building plots won’t allow for an extensive demographic growth. This is a factor that appeals to middle-aged and older singles as well as couples.


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