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Old 19.01.2009, 12:01
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swissinfo.ch - Foreigners charged higher rents

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swissinf...10203008&ty=st

January 15, 2009 - 8:11 PM
Foreigners charged higher rents

Many foreigners are charged more rent than Swiss for similar accommodation, researchers have found.

In the two biggest cities, Zurich and Geneva, foreign nationals can pay up to seven per cent more in rent, according to the study published in the Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics.
The research team led by Andrea Baranzini of the Geneva School of Business Administration say their findings are proof of geographical segregation, economic discrimination and prejudice against foreigners - particularly those who are less well educated.
The team say that overall the difference is minimal – two per cent - but the gap is much higher between foreigners and Swiss with a lower level of education.
Foreigners without higher education pay on average 5.2 per cent more in Geneva and 6.8 per cent more in Zurich than a Swiss educated to a similar level.
The findings were no surprise to the research authors.
"We were expecting discrimination and segregation," Baranzini told swissinfo, adding that although the difference in rent was less than they had expected, it could add up to around SFr1,000 ($887) a year, no small sum for a low paid worker.
Interesting case study

He says the study is the first of its kind in Switzerland, where about one-fifth of the population are foreign nationals - one of the highest proportions in the western industrialised countries.
Switzerland is also an interesting case study because about two-thirds of accommodation is rented, a higher proportion than in any other industrialised country. The rental market is more prone to discrimination as it revolves around relationships between landlords and tenants.
But to date there has been little Swiss research on residential segregation and discrimination, the researchers say.
The team based their study on data of people living in canton Geneva and the municipality of Zurich in the 2000 Swiss population census. The proportion of foreigners was 33 and 28 per cent respectively. The groups were then further broken down into people with and without higher education.
The study found positive correlations between rental costs and various factors. One was segregation, where foreigners with a low educational level were concentrated in the same area, and another was discrimination, where the landlord decides to charge a higher rent to certain categories of person.
More analysis

"Our results shed light on a few facets of segregation, prejudice and discrimination. It is the first time that you are looking at discrimination and segregation in that way," Baranzini said.
"We are seeing that it is not enough to look at the differences in rent between foreigners and Swiss as some studies do, but you have to look at these differences with the same quality of apartments, buildings and neighbourhood and with the methodology we have used."
"I hope it will be interesting to people in the field who make integration policy. It's up to them to decide if our results are important or not."
The study authors also found that the "largest share of foreigners have been living in Switzerland for many years and are well integrated".
The team say the research paves the way for a more thorough analysis of the situation and in particular of the differences in living conditions between the groups.


swissinfo, Jessica Dacey



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Old 19.01.2009, 16:53
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Re: swissinfo.ch - Foreigners charged higher rents

The main finding may indeed be true, but there is no mention of whether the researchers tryied to control for the length of stay in an apartment. It's quite likely that the average foreigner may have resided in his/her current residence for less time than the average Swiss person. It is my understanding that rent increases are more likely to affect new residents and not current residents, because current residents may already be tied into a certain lower rent level for a certain amount of time, and landlords often only change the rent when new residents arrive.

Therefore, it is possible that all or part of the effect that the research documented can be explained by the length of stay in the current apartment being longer for Swiss people than for non-Swiss and if this is true then discrimination is not a factor. I'd like to check whether the researchers controlled for this in their analysis, but the swissinfo article is not informative enough to give this essential information, and unfortunately the abstract of the original article is not even available on the publishing journal's own website, I assume because the actual article hasn't officially been published quite yet.
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Old 19.01.2009, 16:58
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Re: swissinfo.ch - Foreigners charged higher rents

What ChrisW said. Plus most arriving foreigners are under pressure to find an appartment "at any cost" as opposed to local residents that can "shop around".
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Old 19.01.2009, 22:25
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Re: swissinfo.ch - Foreigners charged higher rents

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The main finding may indeed be true, but there is no mention of whether the researchers tryied to control for the length of stay in an apartment. It's quite likely that the average foreigner may have resided in his/her current residence for less time than the average Swiss person.
Plausible, although the article does state that the study identified that the "largest share of foreigners have been living in Switzerland for many years and are well integrated".

What would be of interest is if the study considered the impact of expat housing allowances on the rental market given the number of international firms that have moved into the area since 2000.
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Old 20.01.2009, 14:44
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Expats pay more than Swiss for same rental housing

According to an article in Swisster on January 15th, foreigners spend more than Swiss citizens to rent the same lodgings in Geneva and Zurich. The article is based on a study from HEG, the Geneva school of business administration. Fear of outsiders and different education levels are major factors in the discrimination, says the study that notes laws of supply and demand are also a factor, but landlords deny such a two-tier pricing policy exists.

The study, published in the Revue suisse d’économie et de statistiques, was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. It took around 18 months to complete. Over 42,000 comparisons were carried out in Geneva and more than 26,000 in Zurich.

Tenants with a modest education (and supposedly fewer negotiation skills) are required to pay up to 5.2 percent more rent than a Swiss would for the same apartment in Geneva, the study concluded. According to a census, an estimated 46 percent of foreigners in Switzerland only completed basic schooling, compared to 23 percent of Swiss.
“Statistically speaking, there are no differences or discrimination between different types of foreigners, such as between Germans or Africans, what really matters is the level of education, probably also the level of income, but we don’t have that data,” Baranzini said.
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Old 20.01.2009, 14:49
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Re: Expats pay more than Swiss for same rental housing

See:

swissinfo.ch - Foreigners charged higher rents
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Old 20.01.2009, 14:53
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Re: swissinfo.ch - Foreigners charged higher rents

Very true, I picked up my current appartment from a Swiss guy who lived there for 20 years.

Needless to say, due to that fact, I pay a lot less than what you would expect to pay for a similar appartment.

Swiss people stay on the same appartment for decades, foreigners switch appartments often and hence pay more and more everytime they switch.
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