Real Estate in Geneva

Geneva: A Few Facts and Figures

Geneva shares nearly 104 km of its border with France and 4.5 km with Switzerland. The city is also a canton and is one of the most cosmopolitan in the world. Geneva citizens officially use four languages: English, French, Italian and of course, German. The city of Geneva has just over 193 000 inhabitants so is densely populated for its size of 15,93 km2.

Geneva is the second most populous city in Switzerland and the third most expensive city in Switzerland, and real estate is no exception to this phenomenon. The price per square metre for an apartment or a house is between € 12,000 and € 15,000. The prices are quite high but appear of better value when the relative cost of living in Geneva is taken into consideration. Indeed, the median salary in Geneva is € 5,000 per month (Source: Article in Challenges 2014). By comparison, the median salary in France is only € 2,874 per month, almost half that of Geneva. 

Geneva and its Neighbourhoods

Geneva is divided into different areas: the Cité, the Plainpalais Eaux-Vives and Petit-Saconnex. The City is the administrative area of the city of Geneva and is the historic centre of the city, and is usually very lively. It includes the Old City, the Pâquis district with its caves, and of course, the waterfront, with quays of the left and right banks of the Rhone.

The Plainpalais neighbourhood of the city of Geneva is made up of the Palais suburbs, situated on a formerly marshy plain between the Rhone and the Arve. There are La Jonction, La Cluse, les Tranchées, le Champel, le Bout-du-Monde, les Acacias and Les Vernets. The Genovese also call the latter the Banlieue de Neuve, after one of the gates of Geneva.

Located by the Lake, the Eaux-Vives district is one of the largest in the city and boasts one of Geneva's best-known symbols; the Jet d'Eau. It is a very touristy area. The Parc des Eaux-Vives, built in the sixteenth century, is characterised by huge conifers and large flower beds with Alpine flowers. It is a lovely place to go for a walk by the lake.

Petit-Saconnex is the largest district in Geneva, measuring about 600 hectares. It encompasses the hamlets of Bouc, St. John de la Servette, Morillon, Forestry, Varembé, Chatelaine, Beaulieu and, finally, Sécheron.

Moving to Geneva

Relocating and settling in Geneva is very simple. The choice of properties is, perhaps, the most important part of the process and, depending on your budget, the Engel & Völkers estate agency is fully committed to finding you the apartment, house or villa of your dreams. It is worth knowing that it is relatively easy to move to Switzerland if you happen to be French as all you need is a national ID card or a passport; there is no need for a visa.

Foreign nationals who are residents of the European Union, as well as those belonging to the European Free Trade Association, such as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have the same rights as Swiss and do not require any authorization for the purchase of real estate in Geneva or anywhere else in Switzerland. 

Residents of countries outside the European Union, however, will need to obtain a residence permit and be domiciled in the acquired property. The purchase of secondary and so-called holiday homes requires a permit from the competent cantonal authority. However, if the acquired property is used for economic purposes, no authorisation from the purchaser will be required.

Geneva's Heritage

Geneva, frequently known as the City of Peace, is the home of many international organisations, such as the Palace of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The city centre offers many idyllic and culturally interesting places to visit, including the Hollande banking district, the Palace of Justice, the cathedrals and churches and the English Gardens.

Geneva's natural surroundings also help to make it a very pleasant town. Green spaces abound! It is also a European Capital of Culture and the city is full of museums and fascinating architectural sites to visit. The Reformation Wall - an international monument to the Reformation - is a decorated wall of reliefs dedicated to four leading figures of the Protestant Reform Movement, including Jean Calvin. The Horloge Fleurie - or flower clock - is a clock face made entirely of flowers, in a similar way to the one in the Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland. The Brunswick Monument is a mausoleum dedicated to Charles II, Duke of Brunswick, who was exiled in Geneva. It is located in the Jardin des Alpes, the former natural harbour of Pâquis. Saint Peter's Cathedral welcomes many visitors. It is located in the heart of the old town and dates from the 12th century. Saint Peter's is the main Protestant Church of Geneva and has been the cathedral of the Bishop of Geneva for 1000 years. 

Real estate in Nyon - Engel & Völkers Geneva - United Nations Head Quarter  - Crédit photo : Thorkild Tylleskar

The Education System

Geneva offers a range of internationally recognised undergraduate and college courses and is the home of some of the best universities and research laboratories in the world. Whether you are looking for a public school, a private school, or even a bilingual school, you will have plenty of options. Students wishing to study towards a French baccalaureate will be able to do so as most educational institutions offer the French and International Baccalaureate. Indeed, most Swiss universities demand the qualification.

Examples of internationally renowned institutions are the University of Geneva, the Uni Mail, the Popular University of the Canton of Geneva, and the Côté Business School. There is also the excellent Geneva Business School, the IFM Business School, and much more.

If you are looking for a house or apartment in Geneva to buy, or if you have a property to sell, please contact us

The Engel & Völkers Lake Geneva Team

Tel. +41 (0)22 343 12 12

email :

Licence Partner Contact

Lake Geneva

Rue de Rive 32 | 1260 Nyon
+41 (0)22 343 12 15

Lake Geneva

Rue de Rive 32 | 1260 Nyon
+41 (0)22 343 12 12
+41 (0)22 343 12 15


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