Updated 5 months ago

Οne of the country’s best expat destinations, Geneva keeps attracting European and foreign nationals due to the different career opportunities which are available there. The capital city of the canton by the same name, Geneva may only have 200,000 inhabitants, but it’s considered one of the world’s “largest small cities”. As such, finding accommodation here may prove challenging, so you need to plan ahead.

How to find accommodation in Geneva

Geneva city is the canton of Geneva's most densely populated area – and Switzerland's second most popular city after Zurich. It has been attracting expats from around the world for many years, especially from the European Union. Moreover, the canton of Geneva has a population of close to 500,000 inhabitants, including a large number of expats (particularly from France and the United Kingdom). According to official statistics, Geneva's population is growing every year at a rate of 1.1%, that is by some 5,170 people per year.

If you too have decided to settle in Geneva, you will obviously have to look for accommodation. Since apartment hunting will take some time, perhaps the smartest approach would be to get a hotel room, a temporary furnished apartment or share a flat for a few months. This will allow you to be in Geneva yourself and look for accommodation. Another idea would be to look for something outside the city but within the Geneva canton and within commuting distance from your work: the apartments will most likely be cheaper and the demand not so high.

That being said, you should start your search for accommodation on the internet well before even arriving in Switzerland. You can start by browsing real estate websites and databases like Homegate and ImmoScout24. You can also check out classified ads in local newspapers, some of which are also available online. A real estate agency or a relocation agency can also help you find the most suitable accommodation according to your family situation and your budget.

Rent prices

Geneva is one of the Swiss cities where rent prices are the highest. In fact, between 2002 and 2015, rental prices kept going up by 5% every year – an increased rate that’s double the rates of anywhere else in Switzerland. Thankfully, there has been some decrease since 2015 (especially in the Lake Geneva region), but the rental market is still very tight. As an example, the vacancy for rentals is 0.8%, only one-third of the average vacancy rate in Swiss cities.

To rent a small one or two-room apartment, you should expect somewhere between 2,300-3,500 CHF (€1,981-€3,000) depending on how close to the centre it is located, and the apartment's amenities. You will note that this number is considerably higher not only compared to other Swiss cities but also compared to expensive cities like New York and Paris. Thankfully, salaries are equally high, so if you’re moving to Geneva you’ll probably be able to afford it.

Districts & neighbourhoods in Geneva

Geneva city is divided into four sections: Geneva, Plain-Palais, Eaux-Vives, and Petit Saconnex. These are in turn divided into several districts, including business districts and residential neighbourhoods; Rues-Basses, Saint Léger, Bourg de Four Cite, Mont Blanc, Wilson, Tour de Champel, Hill, Saint George, etc.

The most popular neighbourhoods are Bâtie-Acacias, Royer, Montchoisy, Florence, Ariana, Mon Repos, Beaumont, Belmont and Vollandes, among others. No matter where you are in Geneva you will never be far from urbanisation. However, parts of Bellevue and Versoix Collex are not very recommended, because they are close to the Geneva airport and thus susceptible to noise pollution from the passing planes.

 Useful links:

Geneva Official Website
Immoscout 24
Home Gate

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