The start-up makes it possible to buy a home with little equity

Dorothea Vollenweider (text) and Philippe Rossier (photos)

The bus route from St. Gallen to Rehetobel AR takes 30 minutes. The road is steep and winding. The trail leads out of town and into the hilly area of ​​Appenzellerland. The view that opens after the first curves is a blessing for every resident of the city: green as far as the eye can see. Previous pastures and cow paddock. The Appenzell farmhouses stand on some of the green hills. But most of the landscape is unexploited.

Not only is the view better here than in the city. Property prices are also unbeatable in comparison. According to Wüest Partner, a family home with five rooms costs about 100,000 francs less than in the area around St. Petersburg. Gallen. Compared to the city, home buyers even save over 200,000 francs.

Young people no longer have their own homes

This makes Rehetobel an attractive real estate market – especially for first-time buyers like Thiemo (28) and Eveline Brunner (28). Blick visits her here at her condominium. It is not self-evident for the young couple to have their own house. “We’ve been looking for a suitable property for a long time,” says electrician Thiemo Brunner. “But our limited share capital was a problem.”

The Brunners are not alone in this. Especially at a young age, very few have enough savings to be able to afford a house or a condominium. This is also due to the fact that real estate prices in Switzerland have risen much faster than incomes for more than ten years.

According to a study by the insurance company Swiss Life, the average first-time home buyer in Switzerland is 48 years old. For comparison: in the UK the age is 27, in France the average first-time buyer is 31 and in Germany 34.

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