Switzerland office market – 2023
The aggregate office-space availability rate in the five largest office markets in Switzerland – Zurich, Geneva, Bern, Basel and Lausanne – decreased over the last twelve months from 4.7% to 4.5%. In the five largest markets in Switzerland, a total of 878,200 m2 of office space stood available for prospective tenants as of end-2022 (33,800 m2 less than a year earlier). Thirty-six percent of the vacancies registered are in the four submarkets Opfikon/Glattbrugg, Wallisellen, Geneva Airport and Lausanne West/Crissier.
The 33,800 m2 decrease in the supply of available office space was caused by a sharp contraction in the Zurich region (–52,900 m2). Geneva (–5,000 m2) and Lausanne (+1,700 m2) saw only marginal changes year-on-year. Bern registered a mild increase in available office-space supply (+7,000 m2) and Basel experienced a significant expansion (+15,400 m2), in part because Roche moved into its second high-rise building in 2022 and thus vacated a number of centrally located office sites that it had previously leased.
Scarce office availability in inner cities
Consequently, across all regions, rent price levels in prime locations have held steady or have even increased slightly as a result of sustained high demand for offices in central locations. Availability rates are correspondingly low in those submarkets. In District 1 of the city of Zurich, where the prime rent level rose from CHF 870 to 925 per m2 per annum due to the sustained scarcity of office space there, the availability rate stands at 2.2%.
Geneva’s CBD, rent prices have held steady, but the availability rate has dipped to 1.9%. The CBD of Bern, which continues to face a shortage of available office space (at a vacancy rate of just 0.7%), saw its prime rent level rise to CHF 450 per m2 per annum. Prime rents in Lausanne’s CBD, where the availability rate stands at 1.5%, likewise rose, from CHF 480 to 500 per m2 per annum. The city centre of Basel was an exception in terms of office-space availability. The prime rent price in Basel’s CBD held steady at CHF 450 per m2 per annum, but the availability rate there doubled to 7.6%.
Construction activity has dropped off notably lately. Consequently, a total of only 581,000 m2 of new office space will be completed in Switzerland’s five largest market areas in the period from 2023 through 2025. That is far less than was built between 2020 and 2022 (903,000 m2).
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