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COVID-19 Impacts on Switzerland Real Estate

4/23/2020

Robert Hauri | Co-Owner, CEO 
SPG INTERCITY ZURICH AG 

Last Thursday the Federal Council announced a plan for ‘the way back’ to the ‘new normal’: 

  • 27 April: some shops can open again, such as: hairdressers, DIY/garden centres, florists
  • 11 May: all retail shops can reopen, schools as well 
  • 8 June: universities to reopen, as well as museums and zoos 

Borders are still more or less closed, people are still being told to stay home and work from home. No specific date for restaurants, bars, coffee shops and sports facilities to reopen has been announced. This said about 75% of Swiss companies are still working normally. 

The commercial real estate market starts to react to the slowing down of the economy. Landlords with restaurants and shops in their portfolios face a lot of pressure to reduce rents or even waive rent. We see that the retail real estate-sector and the hospitality and leisure-industry are for the time being almost ‘dead’. In the office market, we see transactions go further as if nothing had changed and others are put on hold or are even stopped. In the investment market we see transaction-processes not being started, some are put on hold, some deals still will close. 

 


16 April

Since last week, the lockdown in Switzerland has been extended to 26 April. Schools, universities, shops (grocery stores, gas stations still open) and restaurants remain closed.


9 April

In Switzerland the lockdown was announced on 13 March. Schools, universities, shops (grocery stores, gas stations remain open) and restaurants are closed at least until the 19 April. People have been told to stay at home. Offices, construction sites and factories are still working - although everyone is asked to work from home wherever possible.  


The authorities have developed several packages to try to help those affected by measures taken by the Federal Council (Bundesrat). Such as: 

  • loans
  • short time work for all sectors 

The commercial real estate market has started to react to the slowing down of the economy. Landlords with restaurants and shops in their portfolios face pressure to reduce rents or even waive rent - at least until the end of the lockdown.  

Even though some landlords already face difficulties in securing rents for commercial space the real estate industry has not reacted so far.  

There is no clear vision for the future, but it seems the retail-sector, is for the time being almost ‘dead’, particularly as all shops are closed right now.  

There is also uncertainty in the office market. Some transactions are proceeding as normal whereas others have been put on hold or are even stopped entirely.  

In the investment market we see transaction processes not being initiated, some being put on hold, some are closed. Pricing still looks quite high and unchanged. 

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