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Andermatt Swiss Alps

The holiday apartment market in the Urseren Valley

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Daniel Zumoberhaus, economics student at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, is focusing his studies on real estate. In his bachelor’s thesis he studied the situation of the market for holiday apartments in the Urseren Valley. The study covers five years, from 2009 to 2014. At the start of the study period, 550 apartments were registered in Andermatt. Together with a further 140 in the surrounding communities (Göschenen, Hospental and Realp), a total of 690 apartments were registered in the Urseren Valley. Of these, however, 56 % were being used by the owners themselves and not rented out, which reduced the total number of available apartments to 303. Of these, only around one third were actually being rented out as holiday apartments in 2014. The rest were being rented for the long term.

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Key factors that make an apartment attractive for rental are the age of the building and the standard of the interior furnishings and finishes. As a comparison, the apartments being offered in Andermatt are up to 23 % younger than those around Andermatt, where nearly half of the apartments were built in 1926 or earlier. The study also shows that the Andermatt apartments are not only newer but also more luxuriously equipped, and thus better to rent as a holiday apartments.

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Over the period of study, rental rates for apartments rose by an average of 18 %, and for permanently rented apartments the increase even averaged 26 %. This explains why it has become more attractive for owners to rent out their homes for the long term. Despite the double-digit figures, the increase in apartment rental rates corresponds with the development of a comparable tourist community in Switzerland (Obergoms). Also regarding prices for long-term rentals, Andermatt has now levelled off at the same price level as the comparable average municipality in Switzerland.

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Based on his research findings, Daniel Zumoberhaus makes two recommendations. On one hand, he points out the great potential for renovation of the apartment stock in the Urseren Valley. If this potential would be exploited, many apartments would be even easier to rent. And on the other hand, considering the fact that all the holiday apartment owners are currently handling rentals themselves, he recommends the creation of a commercial rental service to serve the owners. This would probably persuade more owners to rent out their properties as holiday apartments. Adopting these two recommendations would increase the number of available holiday apartments, which would also have a stabilizing effect on rental rates.

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