Buying real estate in Switzerland?

We've created a guide to help you avoid pitfalls, save time, and make the best long-term investment possible.

Buying a property in Geneva: a complete guide

Last updated on 

All sources have been thoroughly verified for credibility. Furthermore, a local real estate expert has reviewed and approved the final article.

property investment Geneva

Yes, the analysis of Geneva's property market is included in our pack

Considering buying real estate in Geneva? You're not alone!

Many people are fascinated by Geneva's international atmosphere and dream of owning a chic apartment or a luxurious penthouse there.

Would it be a smart investment, though? Are property prices increasing in Geneva? Is it expensive? Is it more profitable to buy in Eaux-Vives or Plainpalais? And the taxes? Where can you get a rental yield above 7%?

We've got it all sorted. No worries.

The Investropa team has extensively researched this market. Actually, we've put all our findings together in a pack. Get it now.

In this article, we'll provide you with helpful information.

How's the real estate market in Geneva?

Is the property market doing well or poorly? People disagree. Instead of listening to opinions, we prefer to look at data and stats to find the real answers.

Property types

In Geneva, there are various types of properties available for sale to suit different preferences and needs.

These property types include apartments, houses, villas, and condos.

Apartments are typically smaller and more suitable for individuals or small families, while houses and villas offer more space and privacy for larger families or those who desire a garden or outdoor area. Condos often come with shared amenities like gyms or swimming pools.

Additionally, properties might vary in terms of location, price, and features, so potential buyers can explore a diverse range of options when searching for a property in the beautiful city of Geneva.

Buy or rent?

(If you want to live there yourself and not rent it to others)

Whether you're already living in Geneva or planning to move to this international Swiss city, the decision to buy or rent a property is likely on your mind.

Without a doubt, you should buy if you want to acquire equity and have more control over your living environment.

One data can help you make a decision - the property price-to-rent ratio. This number gives you an idea of how long it will take to break even on the property's purchase using rental income.

According to Numbeo, the property price-to-rent ratio in Geneva is around 36.65, which is significantly above the world average.

It indicates that buying a property is more expensive in the short term compared to renting. However, buying can still be a viable option if you plan to live in Geneva for an extended period or if you think property values will increase.

Property prices in Geneva

On average, according to the last data from Swiss National Bank, purchasing a property in Geneva should cost you around $14,000 per square meter.

Obviously, there are big differences. A lake-view property in Geneva might have a higher price per square meter than an apartment in the city center. We actually give you a more detailed breakdown in our pack for buying property in Geneva and in Switzerland.

To put things in perspective, it is similar to the property prices you can find in the very center of Paris currently.

Also, housing prices in Geneva are 10% cheaper than in Zurich.

The most expensive neighbourhoods in Geneva are probably Cologny, Vandoeuvres, and Carouge, while the cheapest are likely to be Onex, Meyrin, and Vernier.

Geneva Property Price per Square Meter


First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that Switzerland is, today, an incredibly stable country. The last Fragile State Index that has been reported for this place is 18.9.

This is important to remember when wondering if it's a good investment to buy a property in Geneva.

Also, according to the IMF’s forecasts, Switzerland's economy is expected to soar by 6.8% in the coming 5 years, resulting in an average GDP growth rate of 1.4%.

If you want to invest in real estate in Geneva it's a good thing because, usually, when the economy grows, people make more money, and this encourages them to invest in real estate, which drives up the demand and prices for properties.

Also, in Switzerland, the average GDP per capita has changed by 2.0% over the last 5 years. It's not much, but the growth is here.

However, if we look at the UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index, the Geneva property market is currently overvalued (the index is at 1.14, above 0.5 means overvaluation).

Looking for more updated data? We've done a big-picture study to find out if it's a good idea to purchase property in Switzerland right now.

Buying property in Geneva

It can be difficult to buy property in Geneva due to the lack of reliable and updated information about the market. That's why we have created the pack to buy property in Geneva and in Switzerland.

Buying process

Within our pack, we have outlined the complete buying process. This includes the necessary documents, the applicable taxes, as well as information about where to locate properties, and more.

Here, we are providing you with a simpler version to assist you in better comprehending the information.

This is the step-by-step process to purchase a property in Geneva:

  1. Verify your residency status, as non-residents may face restrictions.
  2. Obtain a "Permis de Séjour" or "Permis B" if required.
  3. Appoint a notary to oversee the legal aspects of the transaction.
  4. Obtain the "Extrait du Registre Foncier" (property registry extract) to verify property ownership and liens.
  5. Review the "Dossier de Diagnostic Technique" for property inspection reports.
  6. Submit an offer through a "Promesse d'Achat" (purchase promise) with a deposit.
  7. Negotiate and sign the "Compromis de Vente" (preliminary sales agreement).
  8. Pay the "Droit de Mutation" (transfer tax) and notary fees.
  9. Fulfill any specific conditions mentioned in the agreement.
  10. Arrange financing and obtain a mortgage approval.
  11. Sign the final "Acte de Vente" (deed of sale) before the notary.
  12. Complete the property transfer and register it at the "Registre Foncier" to become the new owner.

Also, if you're not from the country, you might want to check our article on how to buy property as a foreigner in Switzerland.

Make a profitable investment in Geneva

Better information leads to better decisions. Save time and money. Download our guide.

buying property in Geneva

Where to find a property

Discover properties in Geneva through these websites:

  • Immo Scout 24 - A leading real estate marketplace in Switzerland, offering rentals and sales of properties across various cities.
  • RealAdvisor - Providing tools to sell your home faster, market insights, real estate listings, and mortgage comparisons in Switzerland.
  • - A Swiss real estate portal offering residential and commercial listings, property estimates, and services for real estate projects.
  • Homegate - A smart property search platform in Switzerland for buying, renting, property valuation, and moving services.
  • Comparis - A Swiss property marketplace with a vast selection of properties for rent and purchase from various major websites, featuring transparent pricing and helpful guides.

Also, know that we have included contacts of real estate agencies, property lawyers, moving companies, expats communities and more in our pack for buying property in Switzerland.

What you can get

As mentioned before, the average price per sqm in Geneva is $14,000. It means that a 1-bedroom property (60 sqm) would cost around 840,000$ and a 2-bedroom (85 sqm) would be around 1,190,000$.

Of course, the price of properties can be influenced by their qualities and the area they're in.

The best neighborhoods in Geneva will come with higher prices. A villa in Cologny might come to around $3,400,000, whereas a condominium in Eaux-Vives could be priced at $1,490,000.

Some spots will be friendlier to your wallet. You may find a property in Acacias for $650,000, or a property in Petit-Saconnex priced only at $540,000.

We give a more detailed pricing list in our full pack for buying property in Switzerland.

Common mistakes

Here are the main pitfalls when buying property in Geneva, Switzerland:

  • Swiss Lex Friedrich Law: Strict inheritance law dictates property distribution, impacting potential heirs and ownership arrangements.
  • Lex Koller Restrictions: Non-Swiss residents face limitations on property acquisition, requiring special permits and approvals.
  • Bank financing challenges: Banks may not lend to non-resident buyers, complicating the financing process.
  • Swiss Franc currency risk: Fluctuations can impact mortgage repayments for foreign buyers.
  • Homeowner Association (PPE): Mandatory membership entails financial obligations and compliance with regulations.
  • Natural hazard zones: Some areas are prone to landslides or avalanches, necessitating special insurance coverage.
  • Restricted land use: Swiss zoning laws limit construction and renovations, affecting property expansion plans.
  • Switzerland's dual canton system: Canton-specific regulations may vary, adding complexity to legal and administrative procedures.

We don't want this to happen to you, so we have included a full checklist for your property investment in our pack of documents. Avoid these mistakes and save a lot of money.

real estate Switzerland

Everything you need to know is included in our Switzerland Property Pack

Living in Geneva

Living in Geneva is a great experience, with its beautiful natural surroundings, excellent infrastructure, and wide range of cultural and recreational activities.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Geneva is generally quite high due to its status as an international city and hub for global finance. However, the high salaries and wages in the city can often offset the cost of living.

Here are some examples to better understand the cost of living in Geneva, Switzerland:

  • A cup of Swiss hot chocolate at a local cafe: $5-$8.
  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the trendy Eaux-Vives neighborhood: $2,500-$3,500 per month.
  • Monthly pass for the efficient Geneva public transportation system (TPG): $70-$90.
  • A bottle of Rivella, a popular Swiss soft drink, at a grocery store: $2-$3.
  • Utilities (electricity, heating, cooling) for a 85m² apartment in Geneva: $150-$200.
  • A meal for two at a traditional Swiss fondue restaurant: $80-$120.
  • Entrance fee to the United Nations Office at Geneva: $15-$20.
  • Health insurance coverage for a family of four: $800-$1,200 per month.


We want to show our information in an easy-to-understand way. So, we have made a summary table that lists all the different areas in Geneva. For yields, prices and rents, check our property pack.

Neighborhood Description Strengths Weaknesses

Old Town

Old Town is the historic heart of Geneva, characterized by narrow cobblestone streets, charming squares, and medieval architecture.

Rich history, cultural landmarks, picturesque ambiance.

Limited parking, crowded during peak tourist seasons.

Les Eaux-Vives

Les Eaux-Vives is a lively neighborhood located by Lake Geneva, known for its lakeside promenade, trendy restaurants, and boutique shopping.

Beautiful lake views, vibrant dining scene, upscale shopping.

Higher cost of living, traffic congestion.


Plainpalais is a vibrant area with a bohemian atmosphere, hosting a popular flea market, numerous art galleries, and cultural events.

Cultural diversity, artistic scene, dynamic street market.

Noisy during events, limited green spaces.


Champel is an upscale residential neighborhood with elegant townhouses, green parks, and proximity to the city center.

Exclusive living, serene environment, easy access to amenities.

Higher property prices, limited public transport.


Carouge is a charming district with Italian flair, featuring lively squares, artisan shops, and excellent dining options.

Artistic atmosphere, unique architecture, vibrant nightlife.

Difficult parking, some areas can be touristy.


Jonction is a diverse and multicultural neighborhood, situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Arve rivers, offering a mix of residential and commercial spaces.

Cultural diversity, affordable housing, proximity to public transport.

Some areas may lack green spaces, occasional traffic congestion.


Paquis is a lively and bustling area near Lake Geneva, known for its diverse community, vibrant nightlife, and popular lakeside promenade.

Lakefront attractions, cultural diversity, active nightlife.

Can be noisy, limited parking options.


Vernier is a diverse neighborhood with a mix of residential areas and industrial zones, offering a wide range of housing options.

Diverse housing, proximity to airport and transport links.

Industrial areas, limited cultural attractions.

Life in Geneva

Geneva is a major hub for international finance and banking, and is home to some of the world's largest corporations, as well as many smaller businesses. It is also a major centre for international trade, with a range of services and products from all over the world.

What expats usually like the most in Geneva is the high quality of life, with its clean and safe environment, and the many cultural activities it offers. Additionally, they also appreciate the beautiful lake and mountain scenery, as well as the excellent international schools.

Regarding safety, the crime rate of Geneva is around 31, which is a fairly good score. Geneva has a strong law enforcement presence and a low poverty rate, which helps to keep crime rates low.

A good point for a property investor - Geneva has an extensive public transportation network consisting of buses, trams, and a light rail system known as the Geneva Public Transport Network.

Access to healthcare in Geneva is excellent, with a Healthcare Index of 72. A strong healthcare setup always reflects positively on real estate.

Finally, it is worth noting that the University of Geneva ranks among the top 250 universities in the world.

Don't lose money on your property in Geneva

100% of people who have lost money in Switzerland have spent less than 1 hour researching the market. We have reviewed everything there is to know. Grab our guide now.

invest real estate in Geneva

Renting out in Geneva

If you're interested in buying property not to live in, but to rent out and generate income, this section is for you.


Tenant Profiles in Geneva

According to the data reported by Wikipedia, the home ownership rate in Switzerland is 42%, which is quite low.

It means that, if you decide to buy and rent out in Geneva, there will be a significant tenant pool. It's a good thing.

If you decide to buy and rent out to long-term tenants, you should target young professionals, families, and international students in Geneva. The city is also home to a large number of expats, who often look for short-term rental options.

Here is a little summary table we've made for you.

Property type and area Profiles of potential tenants What they are looking for Expected monthly rent in $

Apartment in Eaux-Vives

Professionals, families

Central location, city amenities

$1,500 - $3,500

Studio in Plainpalais

Students, young professionals

Artsy neighborhood, affordable options

$800 - $1,800

Penthouse in Champel

Affluent individuals, expats

Luxury living, panoramic views

$3,000 - $8,000

Apartment in Paquis

Youth, professionals

Nearby lake, vibrant nightlife

$1,200 - $2,800

House in Cologny

Families, diplomats

Exclusive neighborhood, privacy

$4,000 - $12,000

Apartment in Carouge

Artists, young professionals

Bohemian vibes, local markets

$1,000 - $2,500

Studio in Les Acacias

Singles, students

Good public transport, affordability

$600 - $1,500

Rental yields

As of today, rental yields in Geneva are floating around 2 or 3%. It's low. A good rental yield is typically considered to be around 7% or higher.

Rental yields in Geneva tend to be highest for properties located in areas with a high concentration of students, such as the Eaux-Vives district, as they are in high demand and can generate a steady stream of rental income. Additionally, rental yields are typically higher for properties with multiple bedrooms, as they are more attractive to larger groups of tenants.

For further explanation and a more detailed breakdown, you can check the reports and analyses we have made.

Finally, be aware that, according to the Swiss National Bank (SNB), rental incomes in Geneva are taxed at 60%, which is very high


You could also decide to rent short-term to tourists visiting Geneva, as well as business professionals attending conferences or meetings in the city. Additionally, expats relocating to Geneva may choose to live in a short-term rental before committing to a long-term lease.

If you decide to go with that option, look for properties in the Old Town area, and the Pâquis neighborhood. Both areas are known for their vibrant nightlife, and offer a great selection of restaurants, bars, and attractions for short-term tenants.

Currently, there are approximately 1,950 active Airbnb listings in Geneva, reflecting a highly dynamic and bustling short-term rental market. The average daily rate stands around $149, which is quite high.

You have the opportunity to generate a nice additional income stream then. According to online testimonials and analytics platform like AirDNA, Guesty and Inside Airbnb, people who offer short-term rentals in Geneva can make around $2000 per month. Also, the average occupancy rate is estimated at 74%.

Is it worth buying real estate in Geneva then?

Certainly, buying a property in Geneva can be a smart move if you're looking for a stable and high-quality living environment, plan to stay in the city for the long term, and are willing to invest in the unique advantages it offers.

Geneva boasts an international atmosphere, excellent infrastructure, and a strong economy. If you value these attributes and seek equity and control over your living situation, purchasing property in Geneva makes sense.

Moreover, the Swiss economy's stability and expected growth can encourage property investment, as economic prosperity typically leads to increased demand and property appreciation.

However, it's important to be aware of the downsides. Geneva's property market is known for its high prices, with an average cost per square meter of around $14,000. This can make it challenging to find affordable options, especially for those on a budget or planning a short-term stay.

Additionally, the low rental yields of around 2-3% may not be attractive to investors seeking high returns on rental properties. Moreover, non-Swiss residents may face legal and tax restrictions when purchasing property, and the high taxation rate of 60% on rental incomes can impact profitability.

Lastly, concerns about overvaluation in the property market raise potential risks of a price correction in the future. In conclusion, buying property in Geneva can be a wise decision for those seeking a stable and high-quality living environment, but it may not be suitable for everyone due to high costs, low rental yields, and potential legal and tax complexities.

Make sure you understand the real estate market in Geneva

Don't rush into buying the wrong property in Switzerland. Sit, relax and read our guide to avoid costly mistakes and make the best investment possible.

real estate market Geneva

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement or advice. While we strive for accuracy, we do not guarantee the completeness or reliability of the information, including text, images, links, or other elements in this material. Following the content and analyses presented here does not assure specific outcomes. For guidance tailored to your individual circumstances, it is recommended to consult with a professional, such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor.