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Old 08.10.2008, 13:16
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Living in CH or in FR

I have been trying to sum up some pro and con's of living in Switzerland or France.
Buttom line of the financial part is that a house purchase in Switzerland is best considered as a lifestyle choice rather than as an investment decision.

Talking about lifestyle. What are your considerations on this issue?

Untill now I very much like France with its French style villages, supermarkets. Also I prefer the french food.. So I like the french lifestyle but do we miss something Swiss?
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Old 08.10.2008, 14:34
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

Dear Floris,
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Old 08.10.2008, 15:36
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

Fourth attempt, hope this one works.
We bought a house south of the city eight years ago purely for economic reasons, as we wanted to actually own our house by the time my husband retired. Swiss mortgages can be for fifty years or more.
House prices here have shot up in the past few years as well, so it was a wise choice. However, recently I've noticed that the villages that still allow new builds in this area are tending towards small appartment blocks rather than individual houses, cramming the Geneva overflow in I suppose.
We find that we spend most of our free time in Switzerland, but that's because our sons are still there and after living in Carouge ourselves for twenty-odd years it's hard to change life-style habits.
I'd suggest getting hold of some of the Immobilier magazines you'll find by the newspaper stands in town, outside estate agents and french supermarkets. They usually have a reasonable mixture of what's avaliable (both swiss and french), so that you can see what's around in your price range. Be warned though, some villages are becoming Dormitory Towns as more and more people move out of Geneva. I don't know what the situation is like to the north of the city, Ferney-Voltaire for example, or in Vaud, but I'd guess it's going the same way.
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Old 08.10.2008, 15:50
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

Thanks Anjela,

I notice indeed that that they begin to offer more and more apartments for the price of a house just over the border in France.

I am not really afraid of ' dormitory' though as long as I have the city, Geneva, close by.
I am not sure though if I understand you right, what do you mean by "people moving out of geneva"? And what place would you call dormitory, just to get the picture

BR
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Old 08.10.2008, 16:24
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

Prices of houses in neighbouring France went up quite a lot in the past few year but are still considerably lower than in Geneva. However, I would not hurry to buy there right now because there are signs that the bubble is bursting on the French side (and for Geneva and Vaud we still have to wait a bit longer to see what happens).

Tax wise, I heard that living in France is not very beneficial, but I remember that there was a discussion on the forum about this already. Other arguments against living in France that I often hear (such as crime rate, poor quality of housing) I would not take too seriously. One should not generalise. When it comes to convenience, it again depends on where in France you are, but the quality of life can be the same, even higher. Shopping-wise, it makes no difference either. We often shop in France although we live in the centre of Geneva. Products are sometimes different, there is more variety, meat is considerably less expensive and I love French markets, so there you are.

Dormitory towns: for me good examples are Ferney-Voltaire or Annemasse in France, and Gland in Vaud, but I am sure that some people will contradict me on this
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Old 08.10.2008, 16:28
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

Dear Floris,
A lot of people are moving outside of Geneva for the simple reason that there is nothing avaliable to rent anymore. I think the current figure is something like 0.1% avaliability, there might be a little more around in the high value property market, but reasonable rental property is almost non-existent; a very similar situation to thirty years ago when we moved here.
A lot of people have moved out to Vaud or France because of this, so pushing up prices there. We were lucky in that we just managed to move before the Swiss were allowed to have permanent residences in France, so beat the rush.
Until recently buying a house in France was a much better option than Switzerland, we've got a small house (110 sq metres with 1,000 sq metres of garden) for less than friends paid for a 100 sq metres of appartment with a tiny terrace and our mortgage runs for 15 years, theirs is for fifty.
Although prices have really gone up in the last few years I suspect they're still reasonable compared to swiss ones.
By Dormitory I mean places like Vulbens, Valleiry and St Julien to some extent, and most places along the Route National towards Bellegarde. And the road from St Julien towards Cruseilles is packed solid at rush hour with commuters.
If you don't mind being in a place that's quiet during the day (I have a field of cows for company and suspect I'm the only person in the village most days as I work from home), then it's fine. If you're out working during the day then you probably won't notice the difference.
It's certainly worth looking into, although I miss my appartment neighbours somedays.
Anjela
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Old 08.10.2008, 18:33
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

@Anjela thanks for further explanation. Somehow getting interested in this sleepy places, but it can indeed be too much. Maybe it is a good idea to take a very good look around first. btw I do work at home as well.

Sounds like a bad market for renters as well as buyers. France seems indeed a little bit better. Some real estate agencies even called me back. That never happened to me in CH

@ljm hopefully you are right and prices go down in the near future. I totaly agree on the france market thing. Annemasse, sometimes seen as the 'ban lieu' of geneva has a nice market. But we prefer sunday morning in Ville la Grand.
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Old 09.10.2008, 11:53
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

Dear Floris,
What ever you do.... don't chose Annemasse, it's a horrid place to live!
Ville-La-Grand is a bit better, we did look there but it was getting a little crowded, even then.
Veigy-Foncenex is nice, but probably getting built up rapidly as it's just across the border. We looked as far as Douvaine (the area reminds me of the Thames Valley, homesick, moi?), but as our sons were just starting at the Engineering College in Geneva we decided it was a little too far out of town for them to travel every day. Shame, as we did see some lovely houses out there. Especially ones that needed renovating.
The french agents were much keener than the swiss ones, I was told by one in Carouge to "just ring up every now and then", whereas Century21 couldn't have been more helpful.
One thing I did notice about looking along the eastern side of the lake; it gets the sun until quite late in the evening, whereas the western side is in shadow really early! Worth bearing in mind if you're prone to SAD like me.
Good luck: house hunting is great fun, house buying perhaps less so!
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Old 09.10.2008, 12:13
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

Yes Anjela,

we will avoid Annemasse that's for sure especially route de Geneve. In Douvaine there is a large traffic jam every evening. But the coast line is indeed beautiful.

I have been warned for buying an old house in France since renovating means building it all up again from scratch here

Hunting is fun, maybe I keep hunting for a while..
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Old 09.10.2008, 13:04
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

For me, public transport is the clincher. In the part of France surrounding Geneva, it's rubbish. OK, so there are frequent commuter time buses, but outside the rush they dwindle to nothing. On the French side the taxis are hopeless and on the Geneva side hopelessly expensive. An evening out where you're likely to have a few drinks turns into a logistical nightmare.
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Old 09.10.2008, 14:32
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

Gordon's right, watch out for border crossing that close early too, the nearest one to us is technically shut between 7.30pm and 6am (they rarely put down the barrier but it is an offence to cross over during the closed period), the next one across closes at 10pm.
Having sons willing to pour Mater into the back of a Mini and drive her home after a night on the tiles was just very cunning forward planning on my part; pay-back time for the free Taxi service when they were younger.
Reasonable public transport would be a reason for looking at the bigger towns I guess, St Julien has cross border buses that run until quite late and they've promised a tram one day.....
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Old 09.10.2008, 16:06
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

Gordon good point 'international' public transport is bad. I did check some bus schedules and you can really not depend on this. Or you have to chose Gaillard which you can reach by tram. We have a car and a scooter but my girlfriend does not dare to drive both yet into the city.
So Anjela I am doing the taxi service now I had one time with the football going on and we really were searching for an open border crossing. I don not understand the signs there completely but we were caught ones passing some foot trail and got three months later a big fine, we will not soon forget.
I love the whole region though. Lot's of choise
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Old 09.10.2008, 17:08
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

Dear Floris,
Ah yes, everything closed for the footie. You should have been around during the G8 conference!
My husband parks in Carouge and He's noticed that whenever there's something on in the stadium at La Praille the whole area is sealed off hours beforehand.
I guess you've not been here long, but you'll eventually learn all the little back roads and un-manned crossings that are open all the time. There's one near Soral, but it's one-way; into France only.
Sorry to hear that they fined you for making a mistake, that was really mean.
Take your time looking around and learn about the areas you want to concentrate on. Perhaps your girlfriend could practice her driving at the same time, I'm sure she'd feel safer driving on country roads for a while. Just watch out for the road-side ditches the french are so fond of.
Good Luck with it all, Anjela
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Old 09.10.2008, 21:50
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

I seem to be the only person crazy enough to live near to Annecy. I spend 2 hours a day commuting. BUT the quality of life is fantastic. Public transport is perfect: baby buses every 15 minutes to all over town & around. Beautiful, quiet, clean town. Very little crime. A clean lake .

We spent 2 years in Pays de Gex & left because it was fast becoming a dormitory town. That process is now complete. The infrastructure has hardly changed, but the population has rocketed. Of course, it's very convenient for Geneva, if you have a car.

We looked south of Lake Geneva as far as Messery & found that area was poor value for money with a messy commute to where I work.

I have colleagues who live all over. Vallée Verte, on the way up to Chamonix is wild at 45 mins from Geneva: wild boar digging in the garden, anyone?
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Old 10.10.2008, 08:02
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Re: Living in CH or in FR

Thanks Anjela. We are here almost half a year. Planning to stay much longer.
We will be careful with the ditches..

Sounds inspiring Frank. So you make it in 1 hour from Annecy. I understand they are building this highway so you life will get easier. Interesting choice to travel so far to work.

I like the idea of wild boars in the garden. The real nature is not too far from geneva. And I guess the housing prices are more reasonable.

You don't have to move in the weekends that's for sure
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