What is the easiest mortgage to get

Mortgages: Banks assess affordability so differently

Imputed mortgage interest

None of the banks and insurance companies are counting on the currently very low mortgage interest rates of 0.7 to 1.8 percent (depending on the term). In accordance with the regulations, financial institutions apply much stricter standards for calculating affordability. The calculation is usually based on an imputed mortgage interest rate of 5 percent, which corresponds to the long-term average. Bank Cler and Migros Bank expect 4.5 percent. At Swiss Life, the first mortgage is based on a rate of 4.75 percent, for the second mortgage it calculates at 5.25 percent.

The approaches for ancillary and maintenance costs are also very different. Usually they are 1 percent of the property's value. Raiffeisen, for example, uses a lower value of 0.7 percent for new buildings. For old properties, however, it can also be 1.5 percent.

On this basis, there are imputed differences that can turn out to be large. At Bank Cler, the example property would cause imputed costs of 42,133 francs per year, at Axa it would be over 5,000 francs more at 47,652 francs.

But these are theoretical values. If affordability is given, the actual annual costs are of course of interest. And they depend on the respective mortgage interest rate. The five-year fixed-rate mortgage at Swiss Life currently only costs 1.03 percent. At Credit Suisse it is 1.27 percent. UBS does not announce any benchmark interest rates.

The difference with ten-year mortgages is even more blatant. The cheapest provider among the tested financial institutions is currently the Axa with 1.25 percent. The most expensive is the ZKB with 1.62 percent. However, they are all significantly more expensive than the cheapest mortgage institutions. Five-year mortgages are currently available from 0.65 percent, ten-year mortgages from 1.15 percent. These are the "shop window prices" for good customers. If the credit rating is unfavorable, a mortgage loan can quickly become half a percent more expensive. Conversely, top customers at traditional banks also pay up to half a percent less than average customers.