"‘Matching’ unveils invisible real estate opportunities"

Finding housing in Switzerland remains long and complex for both purchase and rental. The real estate platform Hoyou aims to change the game with a matching system, a principle already proven in the job and dating markets.

Marked by rising credit costs and a relative slowdown in purchase prices after a significant increase in 2022 (+6.4%), the Swiss real estate market is characterized by its stagnant nature. Stagnation is observed in both the rental and sales markets: tenants struggle to move due to rising rents, and owners hesitate to sell their property before finding a new home. To energize the market, new players are betting on the matching principle, now common in the realms of romantic encounters (Tinder, Bumble, GetOnce) and employment, with platforms like Jobs.com or Monster. As the first platform dedicated to the exchange of real estate in Switzerland, Hoyou aims to shake things up. Founded in 2022 and initially focused on real estate sales, the site expanded to rental offerings since spring 2023. Here are explanations from its founder, Christine Hegglin.

What is the principle behind Hoyou?

Christine Hegglin: The platform caters to people looking for an apartment or house, wanting to sell or rent their existing property. We started with the observation that there is an invisible pool of thousands of available apartments and houses that remains untapped. Most people looking for a home wait until they have found a new one before putting theirs up for sale. However, if everyone waits, nothing happens, and the market seems dried up. Hoyou aims to make this invisible supply visible by connecting people who wouldn't cross paths otherwise.

Initially, the platform was intended only for sales. Still, we quickly observed that young couples or older homeowners who can no longer get a mortgage often prefer to move into a rental property. That's why our users can also search for rental properties since last spring.

What is this "matching" idea, and how does it work?

Hegglin: Like dating or job offer sites, Hoyou identifies compatible expectations through an algorithm. Purchase against purchase, rent against purchase... The goal is to ensure that two mutually searching needs find each other. The platform identifies matching real estate properties and notifies users when a property that "matches" their criteria is available. Platform members also control what they choose to publish or keep confidential. Hoyou allows them to present their property discreetly or even anonymously if they wish, while discovering unique houses and apartments not available elsewhere on the market. Property addresses are only disclosed in the case of a match, with the agreement of both parties. If two users show mutual interest, they only have to contact each other either directly or through a real estate agent who will guide them through the process. The search function also allows members to independently look for real estate without being limited to algorithmic proposals.

How do you determine the transaction prices?

Hegglin: Every time a new real estate property is listed on Hoyou, an automatic estimation is made based on the provided data. Each new offer displays a price range and a recommended market price, which the owner can adjust as they see fit. The potential buyer thus has an approximate range of the real estate price. During the bank's review of the file, the property of each party is re-evaluated. Like any real estate transaction, everything is then a matter of negotiation.

What is the profile of people who choose to use Hoyou?

Hegglin: It's very diverse. These are people aged 30 to 70, comfortable with technology. The majority of our users, however, live in large cities and their suburbs, but that only reflects the state of the market. If they wish, older homeowners can benefit from the assistance of one of our exchange experts, most of whom are local real estate agents.

Registration on the site is free, but access to photos and detailed information requires a subscription, which also allows members to contact each other. To allow as many people as possible to access the platform, our pricing policy is intentionally low. The six-month rate is CHF 16.90, but the annual subscription is only CHF 11.90.

Do you think a solution like Hoyou is likely to streamline the Swiss real estate market?

Hegglin: I am convinced that this is one of the solutions capable of unlocking a particularly tight real estate market, especially in regions where the vacancy rate is particularly low, such as around Zurich and Zug. It's no coincidence that we started there, even though our offers now extend to the whole of Switzerland. Today, Hoyou offers about 1,110 real estate listings. By 2025, we aim to surpass 10,000 properties throughout Switzerland before expanding into Germany and other neighboring countries.



Christine Hegglin, founder of Hoyou

A graduate of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences, Christine Hegglin created her first company during her studies, gradually specializing in the sale and estimation of real estate. After founding and leading the Zug-based brokerage company Hegglin Group AG for fifteen years, she created Hoyou in 2022 with the intention of streamlining a Swiss market largely paralyzed.

Last modification 20.12.2023

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