Industry Big Hitters Positive on European Ski Property

Posted on 19 November 2011

Skiing property, and in particular French ski property looks set to be one of the great success stories to emerge from the financial crisis. Two of the overseas property industry’s biggest hitters, Savills and Knight Frank have just published new reports focussed on skiing property, with the former being focussed on European ski property, and the latter having only just started looking in depth at the niche, with the Q2 2011 Knight Frank Ski Property Index  being the first of its kind.

But more importantly, both portrayed the European prime ski resorts in an incredibly positive light. According to Savills rental yields have been strong and stable across the resorts in Switzerland, Austria, and France, where strengthening in year-round demand has made up for a reduction in ski tourism to these destinations since the 2007 peak.

The report also highlighted increasing investment in ski property in recent years; with a home-away survey showing that while holiday home sales fell between 2009-12, ski property sales actually increased to take a 9% share. Finally the report stated that the French resorts remained the most popular in terms of property buyers and skiing holidays as well, although Austria and Switzerland have been catching up in recent years.

The Knight Frank report focuses more on pricing data and comparing resorts across continents, but even it shines brightly on the prospects of French ski property.

The key findings of the report were as follows:

  • The French resort of Megève displayed a relatively strong recovery in property prices, recording 4.3% growth in the year to June 2011 but prices are still 4-6% below their 2008 sales levels
  • Although the US resorts of Telluride and South Lake Tahoe recorded a decline in prices annually, there is evidence that these markets are strengthening with both recording a slower rate of quarterly price declines in Q2 2011.
  • The impact of the global recession was felt first in the European resorts in 2009. In most of the Alpine resorts prices have now stabilised with some, but not all, even seeing small price rises. The market remains price sensitive but correctly-priced properties are continuing to sell and on occasion attract multiple buyers
  • Overall, average annual price growth in Europe reached 1.7% in Q2 2011 compared to -3.0% across North America