Cost of living in Switzerland?
Switzerland is one of the most expensive places to live in the world. Taxes are relatively low, but insurance, services and food are expensive. Swiss residents still have comparatively high disposable incomes and purchasing power. A 2012 purchasing power study ranked Zurich first and Geneva fourth internationally. Workers require considerably less time to earn enough to buy universal products such as a Big Mac or an iPod Nano.
Prices in Switzerland compared to Europe
Prices in Switzerland (DE) are higher than the European average. The 2014 Mercer Cost of Living Survey ranked Zurich and Geneva as the fifth and sixth most expensive cities in Europe. Housing and utilities, as well as food, healthcare, clothing and leisure activities cost more in Switzerland. Transport, electronics and telecommunications are at similar levels to the rest of Europe. Petrol is cheaper than in France and Italy, but the costs involved in owning a car are high. In spite of the Eurozone's current instability, Switzerland's policy of enforcing a minimum exchange rate to the Euro has been successful in keeping the inflation rate just slightly negative since late 2011.
Average monthly expenses in Switzerland
Although salaries are higher and taxes lower than the European average, a large portion of gross income goes towards obligatory health insurance and other deductions. Most people rent accommodation because property prices are high and a large down payment is required. Housing and energy account for an average of 16%, transport 8%, entertainment and leisure 13% and food and non-alcoholic beverages 7% of a typical monthly household budget.
Cost of living in Fribourg
As in the rest of Switzerland, the general cost of living in Fribourg is high. Fribourg is cheaper than Zurich, Basel and Geneva, and possibly slightly cheaper than Bern in terms of taxes and compulsory insurances. Monthly rental costs vary depending on the area, but would typically cost around CHF ,1300 for a studio apartment and CHF 1,600 for a two-bedroom flat.
Even though the demand for properties in Fribourg has risen during the last few years, it had only a minor effect on prices. This is mostly due to the lower charges and utilities – these which include building heating costs and maintenance, usually additional to the monthly rent.
The Old Town and Villars sur Glane are considered desirable areas: the former for its location and the latter for quality of life. The area close to the station, known as ‘Gare', may have reasonably priced apartments, but may also be noisier. Schönberg is a cheaper residential area, but is considered less safe by Swiss standards. Ways to save include living outside of the city centre, where you may get more for your money, looking out for discounts and special offers, using public transport, and watching out for seasonal sales.