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 Ticino
There is a marked difference between owning and renting property in Ticino.
Research by Credit Suisse reveals property prices in Ticino can exceed 35% of the Swiss national average. Lugano and Locarno are particularly popular locations.
On the other hand, renting a property often costs less than the Swiss average. An apartment of 90m² would cost around CHF 1635 a month. The apartment vacancy rate of Mendrisio, at about 3%, is twice as high as the Swiss average.
Charges and utilities include building heating costs and maintenance and are usually added to the monthly rent. Initial charges are partial and the actual usage is calculated later, then invoiced or refunded. Electricity is billed directly to the tenant. A deposit of up to the equivalent of three months' rent is payable to finalise the contract. Using public transport can save money. Buying at seasonal sales, choosing when and where to shop, and taking advantage of discounts and special offers are other ways of saving money in Ticino.