Living space is becoming scarcer and increasingly expensive. There’s no change in sight as the Swiss population continues to grow. According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO), over ten million people will live in this country by 2040. More than a third of all households already consist of just one person – and this trend is growing. Tiny houses, micro homes and small houses have arrived just in time to help tackle these developments.
Tiny houses: What you need to know about costs and financing
The population is growing, living space is becoming scarcer and prices are rising. How can these challenges be tackled? Small living formats, like tiny houses, micro homes or small houses, are one possible solution. Find out here what you need to consider in terms of purchasing and financing.
Less is more
Although they are a maximum of 50 square meters in size, tiny houses provide everything you need. Could they be a little bigger? Micro homes or small houses up to 100 square meters in size provide enough space for many couples, and even some families. But it isn’t just the reduced living space that offers an attractive solution. The lower energy and resource requirements also leave a smaller carbon footprint – especially stand-alone tiny houses, which are sited on primarily unused residential land. This small living format is appealing to anyone looking for an affordable, sustainable way of living or a simpler life.
Good to know: not every small property is a tiny house
Tiny houses have their roots in the USA. They’ve seen an upturn since 2008 because of the financial and property crises. In recent years, the trend has found its way to Europe. In Switzerland, tiny houses primarily appeal to people who appreciate minimalism and ecological living. But not every small property is a tiny house. From a size of around 50 square meters, they’re usually called micro homes or small houses. But there’s no clear definition.
PostFinance employee Tipuna gives us a glimpse into his small house on The link will open in a new window tiktok.com (German).
How much does a small house cost in Switzerland?
According to Tina Gojani from the Kollektiv Winzig office, tiny houses in Switzerland can be bought from 150,000 Swiss francs. Those who do it themselves can easily get away with half that. Micro homes cost from 200,000 Swiss francs. And, according to Module Art Manager Kathrin Merz, a small house currently being redesigned by Bauart Architekten und Planer AG could set you back somewhere between 350,000 and 450,000 Swiss francs. Ultimately, the price for a small house depends on various factors, such as the size and quality of the build. Often, consultancy or architectural services will be extra, as well as additional building costs, like fees and permits, taxes and insurance, transport and delivery costs.
Good to know: these costs arise after you move in
After moving in, you’ll have maintenance and running costs for electricity, heating, water and insurance. As a rule of thumb, reckon on 1 percent of the property value. Then finance costs, such as a loan or mortgage interest, have to be paid, with financial institutions estimating around 5 percent in most cases. There may also be amortization, at least for a second mortgage, and the costs of renting the plot of land or site location.
What kind of plots can I consider?
Many people dream of owning their own property. But prices for building land are high in many parts of Switzerland. Over 2,000 Swiss francs per square meter is typical these days. If you already own a developed plot of land, you may be able to build an additional small house on it. Perhaps you’re a tiny house fan who doesn’t want a fixed location so wants a mobile tiny house. You’ll need to think about rent or perhaps a campsite. A site location is relatively inexpensive, but many campsites don’t allow permanent residence. Whichever solution you find, it’s best to enquire about the regulations set by the municipality in which you want to settle.
Finding a suitable plot of land for your dream can require a little imagination. Find out about the area that appeals to you; trawl the internet; check with the municipality and companies; place an advert in the local newspaper and on local business noticeboards; check out social media and use your network to ensure that as many people as possible know about your plans. There are also projects in Switzerland where people work together. If you’re interested in living in a settlement, find like-minded people, for example in the “Verein Kleinwohnformen Schweiz” [Swiss small living association].
Do I need a building permit and insurance, even for a tiny house?
Whether large or small, every fixed installation in Switzerland needs a building permit. Here the specifications set by the Confederation, the canton and the municipality must be met, and requirements like thermal insulation, electrical insulation, technical standards, soundproofing, roof type and border margins complied with. You also won’t get far without insurance, as every house usually needs building insurance. As there are differences between cantons, it’s best to contact your canton or your insurance company.
Are you interested in a small living format but aren’t sure if it’s right for you? In Switzerland, some people offer the option of living in a tiny house for a trial period.
How can I finance my tiny house, micro home or small house?
Swiss banks deal very differently with the financing of small houses. The financing structure is especially difficult for tiny houses on wheels as a traditional mortgage isn’t possible for a house not firmly fixed to the ground. If you’ve got your eye on a small living format, you should discuss your options promptly with a financial institution.
Good to know: small house financing from PostFinance
Are you planning a tiny house, micro home or small house on your own land? PostFinance also finances smaller projects as long as they are built on a firm foundation and you can meet the minimum amount. Please contact us for a consultation.
Find out more about external financing in our blog post “Six things you need to know before taking out a mortgage”.