Eager French vendors, the Winter Olympics and low mortgage rates: time to buy a ski home?

Posted on 17 December 2013

The property market in the French Alps is gearing up for a busy start to 2014, thanks to a combination of market conditions making it an ideal time to be a foreign buyer of a ski home there.

The trickle of wealthy residents in France offloading properties as they leave the country in order to escape President Hollande’s punishing tax regime is thought to be contributing to a rise in the number of properties on the market, including in French ski resorts. A further incentive to sell a second home in France sooner rather than later is the government’s reduction on its rate of capital gains tax (CGT), applicable only between September 2013 and September 2014. These two factors are contributing to France’s position as a buyer’s market.

Equally attractive to foreigners right now is the cheapness of French euro mortgages, thanks to mortgage rates remaining close to historic lows. Purchasing a property with a euro mortgage on a competitive rate could make financial sense for foreign buyers with a strong local currency.

Meanwhile, the thrill of winter sports will soon be thrust onto TV screens the world over, when the Winter Olympics take place in Russia in February 2014. The effects of the event should include heightened interest in owning a ski home, particularly amongst wealthy international buyers, including Russians.

Director at Julian Walker said: “The Winter Olympics never fails to inspire people to hit the slopes. Having the event in Sochi is especially exciting for Russians, the host nation, as the wealthier ones already having an affinity to selected Alpine resorts, such as Courchevel. Overall, foreign buyers, including Middle Easterners, are realising that France’s severe taxation of its rich residents won’t affect them as non-resident owners of ski homes, so they are taking advantage of the opportunities to purchase a euro asset that comes with strong lifestyle appeal and long-term investment security.”

Testament to Courchevel’s attraction to the world’s jet set – the Russians prefer the 1850 village – are its boutique shops and hotels, and seven Michelin-star restaurants, which between them have 12 stars. The skiing is world-class too – the resort’s three-kilometre Combe de La Saulire red run is included in the world’s top 10 ski runs, as chosen by the UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph.

Added Julian Walker: “Another sign that Courchevel welcomes visitors with a very high level of disposable income is its aerodrome, which serves as an exclusive and private way of arriving and leaving the resort!”

Amongst’s portfolio of new property for sale in the French Alps, is a selection of freehold apartments in Courchevel’s 1650 village, within walking distance of the slopes and with prices starting from €620,000.