Are you looking for an apartment and plan to move to Geneva? Then it will be a great help if you read this article. To give you a comprehensive overview of the housing market in Geneva, we have put together some important tips for your apartment search. You will also find out which portals and providers are the quickest ways to find an apartment.

The Geneva housing market

In general, we observe a clear decline in the number of empty dwellings in Switzerland in 2022. On 1 June 2022, there were 61 496 empty dwellings in Switzerland according to the Federal Statistical Office. This was 1.31% of the total housing stock (including single-family houses). The dwelling vacancy rate has thus fallen 0.23 percentage points year-on-year. Such a large year-on-year decline was last observed 20 years ago

In Geneva, the total number of empty dwellings according to the Building and Housing Statistics (StarBL) was 1232 on 1 June 2021 and only 911 on 1 June 2022. As a result, the vacancy rate fell from 0.51% in 2021 to 0.31% in 2022.

In addition, it can be seen that smaller dwellings are often more available. Indeed, on 1 June 2022, there were 195 vacant one-room dwellings, 208 two-room dwellings, 197 three-room dwellings, 136 four-room dwellings, and only 82 five-room dwellings and 93 six-room dwellings and more.

How to find an apartment in Geneva?

Determine the search criteria at the beginning

First of all, you should carefully consider which criteria an apartment in Geneva should satisfy. Having a list of a few criteria makes the apartment search significantly easier. The main criteria generally include: 

  • the size of the apartment
  • the location
  • the rent
  • other criteria like a parking space or the proximity of a school 

Find suitable apartments in Geneva on online search portals

One of the most important places to find an apartment in Geneva is the Internet. There are numerous real estate portals, but you will soon notice that often the same apartments are advertised again and again.

The following Swiss search portals are the most used:

If you visit these real estate platforms, you will quickly see that most of them have the same apartments advertised in Geneva. On many platforms, you can create a specific search subscription for free. When an apartment matches your criteria, you will receive an alert per email. This procedure saves time. Why don’t you try it out?

You can also take a look at the  Ron Orp Genève platform to help you in your search.

Flat search on social networks

Nowadays, social networks are a must, even when looking for a flat. On facebook for example, you can find groups such as “Appartement à louer sur Genève et Environs” where ads for flats are posted directly by individuals. You can also post an ad directly, describing your personality and what you are looking for.

It may turn out that these groups require a prior application to the group owner to become a member.

Notice board – traditional but still relevant

It has lost much of its importance nowadays, but in some social places, housing is still advertised on the notice board. You will find them in busy places like supermarkets, shopping centres or universities. On these boards you may find an advertisement for a flat in Geneva.

You can also post an ad on these notice boards mentioning the accommodation you are looking for and your contact details so that landlords can contact you.

Use your network to find a flat in Geneva

Your circle of friends will increase your chances of finding a new home. Tell all your colleagues and friends that you are looking for a flat in Geneva. In the best case, they will then tell their friends and acquaintances. In addition, if your relative knows the person who is vacating his or her flat, you can ask him or her to recommend you.

If you already live in Geneva and are moving to Geneva, contact your local housing authority. They will most likely have a large number of properties in the area and will have contacts to give you.

If someone moves out of a flat managed by a housing association, the association will be the first to know, even before an advertisement is published. It is therefore in your interest to contact your housing association to find out if a flat is going to become available soon.

Local newspapers in Geneva and their advertisements for housing

Some people still use newspapers to advertise accommodation. For this reason, take the time on the tram in the morning to look at the advertisements in the local Geneva newspapers. You may find a flat that meets your criteria. Find out more tips and tricks for finding a flat.

Have you just found a flat in Geneva that you like?

You are interested in a flat: now what? Contact the real estate agency or the owner of the property in question and arrange a flat viewing. Be prepared for the visit and bring your application file containing an extract from the register of debtors, a letter of motivation and a copy of your identity card. Check whether you have a rental application form on the platform to fill in and submit with your application.

The Tenants’ Association of Geneva – the first port of call for legal questions and problems

If you have found a new home, problems with the neighborhood or property management are of course not excluded. In such cases, you can contact the Geneva Tenants’ Association. The association is familiar with legal issues relating to housing and tenancy law. Tenants can thus request help and advice from the Tenants’ Association. 

You can also find your answers in our section on rules in rental properties.