Across Europe, the housing market continues to present challenges for anyone seeking to relocate or for organizations coordinating assignments on the continent.

Here, we share an overview of some of the specific challenges in European countries, and advice or guidance on how to get the best outcomes from a challenging situation.

In Switzerland, we’re seeing a tough market for both temporary and permanent housing due to skyrocketing prices. House prices increased by about five percent in 2023 compared with 2022, driven by a shortage of housing as a result of the international nature of Switzerland and its economy. With many high-net individuals relocating to the country, there comes a high demand for goods, so it’s unlikely that this inflation will reverse anytime soon.

Nearly 1000km north, we see Sweden having similar pricing and demand issues in all of its main cities. Fortunately, the Swedish government does not apply rent controls, but this does not fully address the problem. Foreigners therefore are limited in their options, and usually have just one: a short-term lease, usually a year, when they first arrive, meaning another move relatively soon after they’ve just about found their feet.

The story reads the same in the Netherlands, where we increasingly see clients’ housing allowance matrices not aligning with the market as prices increase. For context, prices have increased in the Netherlands by around eight per cent in the past year as the market here shifts from a rental model to a buyer model. As a result, there are fewer properties available to rent.

As the rent-to-buy shift strikes in the UK, clients are met with dizzying prices as they shot up by 11% in London over the last 12 months (as of March 2024). A lack of supply, fewer properties available for rent, and existing rental properties demanding higher rents for new tenants all contribute to the shortage. Plus, with not enough new housing being built, those looking to relocate here are faced with further limitations.

With there being no end in sight to this housing issue, what can mobility managers do or advise assignees to address these issues?


With a strong body of evidence that shows how quickly the housing market can change, consider being as flexible as possible with your housing policy. This should allow employees to move quickly in a rapidly moving market.

Where additional approvals are required – for example, if the employee chooses somewhere that is over their budget – you might wish to consider in advance a margin of “acceptable” overage, agreed with the decision-maker in advance. In a market where decisions need to be made quickly, the last thing an assignee needs is to be held back by waiting for a green light.

Alternatively, ensure you clearly communicate to the employee prior to the relocation that excess amounts will not be considered after any circumstances. That way, employees can make the final call.


Fail to plan, plan to fail – but how can you prepare to home-search without knowing what you’re getting into?

Make sure the employee is fully aware of the nature of the market before departure. Where the housing situation is volatile and fast-moving, ensure the individual knows and is mentally prepared to make quick decisions in advance of searching for their home search.

It’s also key for your employees with larger families to plan accordingly – larger apartments and houses tend to be rarely available, so assignees should prepare for longer waiting and searching times.

Act fast

A home search provider does not have a magic wand that can conjure up the perfect home. They’re operating within the external market, not a mythical “insider” market with alternate options (unfortunately!).

While agents do have networks that can make them aware of properties before they hit the market, this is all for nothing if the employee cannot make a decision fast enough. Ensure they take advantage of that advantage!