SWISS OFFICE MARKET

Agglomeration offer rents
Market changes price band
CHF/m² p.a.
Median
CHF/m² p.a.
Aarau 11 580 -6 % 140 - 250 210
Baden-Brugg 43 665 22 % 155 - 325 215
Basel 145 485 -16 % 150 - 320 220
Bern 94 625 -15 % 120 - 305 205
Biel 17 395 -37 % 115 - 210 145
Chur 4 160 -31 % 135 - 285 180
Fribourg 16 485 -7 % 150 - 290 205
Geneva 461 885 -7 % 220 - 630 360
Lausanne 168 410 9 % 155 - 390 250
Lugano 75 310 7 % 145 - 420 230
Lucerne 52 185 -11 % 150 - 315 215
Neuchâtel 25 360 39 % 125 - 240 165
Olten-Zofingen 20 565 -19 % 110 - 215 150
Schaffhausen 19 965 20 % 110 - 240 185
Solothurn 7 630 -31 % 130 - 275 160
St. Gallen 36 700 -13 % 130 -265 185
Thun 9 725 -6 % 125 - 275 210
Winterthur 27 570 -12 % 145 - 355 215
Zug 125 180 -8 % 150 - 450 230
Zurich 604 695 -24 % 150 - 555 260
Agglomerationen 1 977 575 - 13 % - -

The office market had stabilised in recent years – until employees suddenly began working from home as a result of the pandemic, reversing the trend. As a result, available office space in the Swiss agglomerations rose by 23% within a span of six months in 2020 to 2.26 million m2. Few regions posted a slight decline, with most agglomerations seeing a sharp rise in supply. The amount of excess supply in 2020 would have been much higher had it not been for long-term contracts in the office market. The pandemic caused a significant amount of uncertainty for companies. Many office tenants postponed decisions related to office space planning. Others used the increase in the number of employees working from home to plan or actually reduce space in order to achieve cost savings. Tenants have become aware of their much stronger negotiating position, which led to corresponding incentives for rental contracts concluded in 2020.

Overall, most rents fell. However, there were major differences in terms of location: in agglomerations, empty office space was and is under strong competitive pressure due to the excess supply. Yet demand rose in central locations in major centres. Location factors, such as an urban environment with attractive dining and leisure options or proximity to clients and peers, have become increasingly important as a result of the pandemic. It is becoming increasingly clear that value creation, productivity and social relationships in the workplace require a certain amount of personal interaction. As a result, the contrast in trends among the various locations are likely to become more pronounced in 2021. In addition, bankruptcies that had been postponed as a result of economic programmes and savings measures by many companies will result in even more space coming on to the market – particularly in the form of attractively priced subleases.
 
„Corporations are looking to cut their office space in half, while SMEs plan to reduce it by a third. Cost pressure will reduce space needs significantly, particularly in the agglomeration.“
Claudia Zinno
Marketer Commercial Property and Tenant Representation
"Despite or even because of the pandemic, demand in the CBD continues unabated. Potential tenants are making compromises in terms of the size of the space, but not in terms of location. For them, the rule of thumb as more employees work from home is: if we have to have an office, then it has to be the right one."
Alessandro Rondinelli
Marketer Commercial Property and Tenant Representation