Geneva Suffering from Lack of Space and Transport Connections

Posted on 16 June 2012

Geneva has traditionally been a very attractive location due to its close proximity to the ski resorts of Chamonix and Verbier. Residents enjoy low taxes, and an excellent quality of life, and political stability. This 6 has enticed many multinational companies to relocate to the city.

Now Geneva is suffering from a lack of housing, which combined with the strength of the Swiss franc could lead to the location becoming less attractive. The population growth in Geneva has exceeded the expansion of the property market, and the vacancy rates are just 0.25% whereas in comparison vacancy rates in London are 2.2%.

This housing crisis has prompted the president of the foundation promoting the city, to commission a study identifying obstacles to economic growth in the region. The study will look at transport issues, especially as there has been a 54% increase in passenger traffic on the railway line between Geneva and Lausanne since 2004. In addition it will look at access to the airport and the Mont Blanc road bridge.

According to a UBS AG survey published August 2011, the lack of housing and transport issues have helped make Geneva the third most expensive city in the world, coming in behind Oslo and Zürich. This position has been exacerbated by the strength of the Swiss franc which has increased by more than 15% against the euro and the dollar during the past couple of years.

In addition the EU is pushing Geneva to abandon a regime which allows multinationals to pay less tax on income from outside the country, and there are concerns some companies may leave Geneva for tax reasons. If all this happens then it could make Geneva and its nearby ski resorts more appealing to investors, as if multinational companies pull out from the city, and if the transport connections are improved then it will surely make the area more appealing for skiers and those who want to enjoy the Alpine resorts.