Are you more of a city rat or a country rat? If you are unsure, especially when considering a real estate purchase, take the time to weigh the pros and cons of each option. What is your current and desired lifestyle? The stage of your life cycle is also crucial, depending on whether you are a young couple, a family with children, retired, etc. The semi-confinement period we have just gone through has highlighted the need for a spacious, quality home with outdoor spaces. In today’s more complicated travel environment, being comfortable in your own home becomes an imperative!
Many Swiss people dream of a single-family home in the country with its own garden area. Quiet, greenery, contact with nature, living space, unobstructed views and conviviality are the main advantages. During the pandemic, parents who were able to let their children play in a private garden were certainly privileged. On the other hand, with the closure of playgrounds, families living in housing with limited space suffered from the health crisis. In general, the countryside proved to be a more pleasant place to spend these months at home. In the absence of a garden, the confinement proved the absolute necessity to benefit from outdoor spaces: balcony, terrace, loggia, building courtyard or fitted roof. Places where one can enjoy the fresh air without fear of being contaminated by a virus…
However, the countryside also has its drawbacks: outings and activities (leisure, culture, etc.), as well as shopping and services, require travel, which is sometimes demanding. Getting to work – unless you work from home – can be a daily source of stress. It will also be necessary to ensure that the children find a suitable school in the area. Finally, owning a car will usually be necessary, as country areas are often poorly served (or with limited frequency) by public transport.
Those who opt for the city appreciate not having to travel miles to shop, go to a restaurant or see a show. The proximity to the workplace is often a plus. In short, everything is easily accessible by foot, bike or public transportation.
Despite their amenities, some urban neighborhoods go hand in hand with nuisances (human concentration, noise, pollution, traffic, etc.), which can prove harmful to health. In addition, you have to leave your home to find some greenery. Finally, living space is generally more limited than in the countryside. And for city dwellers, the upkeep of a house and garden are constraints they hardly want to inflict on themselves.
Let’s note that if the demand in Switzerland is very high for 3.5-room apartments, it is mainly due to budget constraints. The 4 or 5 room apartment is the desire of many potential buyers. The possibility of having an extra room to isolate oneself has become an asset for those who have experienced working from home. This option, which is difficult to access in the cities of the Lake Geneva region, is more accessible when moving to outlying regions, such as the North of Vaud (Cossonay, for example).
So, it’s a good idea to have an extra room to isolate yourself.
The new generation of buyers – between 25 and 40 years old – is particularly fond of this intermediate solution, which involves a quiet home with a garden. The condition is that a SBB station is nearby (within walking, cycling or scooter distance). This choice also makes it possible to limit oneself to one car, a concern both financially and ecologically.
If the boundary between town and country used to be clear, it now tends to blur. The city is spreading over the countryside and conversely, nature is being inserted into the city. In a small canton like Geneva, industrial zones and employment centres are often located in rural areas. This provides work opportunities for those who have made the choice to live in the countryside, while saving them the commute to the city center.
Alternative to the single-family house and the apartment, small condominiums are developing in all the cantons of western Switzerland. They offer their residents a comfortable living environment, close to urban centres. These human-sized residences, located in green environments, allow for a balance between privacy and collective outdoor spaces. Very often equipped with generous terraces and gardens on the ground floor, the homes with large windows give priority to natural light and contact with the outdoors. A way of life that judiciously combines town and country.