The coronavirus crisis and associated restrictions put an abrupt end to the stability in home moves. In April, home moves fell by 6% across Switzerland, and by as much as 15% to 30% in western Switzerland and Ticino.

Trends in home moves in Switzerland were stable overall until the pandemic hit this spring. This is evidenced by an analysis of redirection orders received by Swiss Post in the period between January and June 2020. Although March this year was up almost 3% on the previous year, April saw a significant drop: across Switzerland, 6% fewer households moved compared with the previous year. In May, the effects of measures to prevent spread of the virus and the reluctance of the population to move was still palpable. The figure was down 1% on the previous year. The recovery then began in June. Suspended home moves picked up again and were 1% up on the previous year.

Significant impact on western Switzerland and Ticino

In some regions, the pandemic had a major impact on home moves. A cantonal evaluation reveals that the western Swiss cantons (VD, GE, NE) and Ticino were much harder hit, with 15% to 20% fewer households moving in April.

The number of moves was much lower in the months of April and May in particular. This is unquestionably linked to the higher infection rates and more restrictive measures in these cantons. Ticino is of particular interest: the decline in home moves began here in March, due to geographical proximity to the virus outbreak in northern Italy. Conversely, June saw a recovery effect. In June 2020, move rates had risen to 10% more than the previous year. On the whole, restrictions imposed in non-German-speaking regions of Switzerland went further than those applied across the country. Cantons Geneva and Ticino temporarily closed building sites, bringing projects that were close to completion or purchase to a standstill.

Furthermore, restrictions on individual freedom of movement made relocation abroad more difficult. Moves abroad were 30% and 20% lower than the previous year in April and June respectively. The effect of the pandemic therefore lasted much longer than for domestic relocations. Cantons with borders with Italy and France showed a greater decline than those bordering Germany and Austria.