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Liechtenstein Housing Market – the Tension between Market and State

Liechtenstein's housing market is characterized by strong momentum. Since 1980, the population has grown by more than 50 % to around 40,000 people. During the same period, however, the housing stock has more than doubled.

Smaller households have caused the consumption of living space to skyrocket despite increasingly dense construction. How can Liechtenstein's housing market now be made socially, ecologically and economically sustainable? What is the situation in neighboring countries?

These questions offer plenty of room for discussion! The around 50 participants who accepted the invitation of the Liechtenstein School of Architecture at the University of Liechtenstein and the Zukunft.li Foundation to a joint panel discussion thought so too. Thomas Lorenz, Managing Director of Stiftung Zukunft.li, opened the evening with a keynote speech on the key figures of Liechtenstein's housing market. It became clear that Liechtenstein has now become a country of renters and condominium owners - and that Liechtenstein's population is living large. The average living space per person in Liechtenstein is 55 m² - around eight square meters more than in neighboring countries.

How can the public sector now intervene to guarantee a sustainable housing market? Gabriela Debrunner, ETH Zurich, and Johannes Herburger, University of Liechtenstein, shed light on the current situation, the players and the instruments of housing policy in Vorarlberg and Eastern Switzerland. While Switzerland has been pursuing a stringent internal delvelopment policy for around 10 years in order to conserve the countryside, Austria is primarily known for its non-profit housing policy.

Johannes Herburger and Gabriela Debrunner discussed possible implementation measures in Liechtenstein with Harald Beck, Head of Real Estate Confida AG and initiator of the Liechtenstein Housing Cooperative, and Luis Hilti, architect and postdoctoral researcher, Urban Design & Spatial Development Unit at the University of Liechtenstein, in a panel discussion moderated by Doris Quaderer, Stiftung Zukunft.li. What is certainly exciting for the Principality is that it can learn a lot from the negative experiences of its two neighboring countries - on the one hand, how consistent internal development can also be implemented in a socially responsible way, and on the other, that non-profit housing must also be well coordinated with other state instruments such as rental or spatial planning policy. As Luis Hilti explained in his closing speech, even the modernizing the building code can bring many advantages for ecological sustainability and affordability.

Finally, Government Councillor Graziella Marok-Wachter explained the government's current housing and planning policy measures. One thing is clear: without a positive attitude from Liechtenstein voters, major changes are hardly possible.