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.
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Prices in Switzerland compared to Europe
Prices in Switzerland 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.
Source: FSO, Statistical Data on Switzerland
Cost of living in Solothurn
As in the rest of Switzerland, the general cost of living in Solothurn is high. Solothurn costs less than Zurich, Basel and Geneva, and is possibly slightly cheaper than Bern in terms of taxes and compulsory insurance.
Monthly rental costs depend strongly on location and availability, and also on amenities and quality of the building. Most people rent apartments and less freestanding houses are available, especially in urban areas. An average two-bedroom apartment will cost around CHF 1,800 a month.
The majority of people rent housing because to buy a property a substantial down-payment is required. The rental market is characterised by higher demand than supply. Charges and utilities are usually added to the monthly rent and include building heating costs and maintenance. Electricity and parking is also paid separately. Ways to save money include living outside of the city centre, where you may get more for your money. The Solothurn old town, Steingruben, has the scarcest housing and is regarded as a desirable place to live, so apartments cost more and are harder to find. There is more variety and availability of housing in outlying areas such as Zuchwil, Biberist, Derendingen, Lüterbach and Oberdorf. Look out for discounts and special offers, use public transport instead of a car, and buy at seasonal sales. Solothurn has a local discount booklet, Zwei für Eins, with special offers for eating out.