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Recovery in the Alpine property market well under way in 2014

Posted on 19 April 2014

International interest in skiing property picked up in 2013 compared to 2012, with the upward trend being even stronger in the first two months of 2014, according to an international property consultancy.

Both viewings and transactions for skiing property in the Alps increased in 2013, while both were up again – by 200 per cent – in January and February this year, said Savills in April.

The French Alps have seen a mixed picture in terms of pricing. Courchevel has seen prices stabilise at 20 per cent below 2008 values, but limited supply has helped both Megève and Val d’Isère see sustained price growth over the five years to 2013. While confidence in the market is still relatively weak, impacted by on-going uncertainty around the French tax environment and economy, there is potential for things to strengthen significantly. Swiss buyers have become more common in the French Alpine market over the last five years, said Savills, as buyers take advantage of the strong Swiss franc and weak euro.

Meanwhile, Switzerland’s status as a safe haven – with its attractive fiscal environment and historical political and economic stability – is an attraction for buyers from around the world. International buyers are diverse, but the Swiss Alps have seen purchasers from Asia, in particular Singapore, northern Europe and younger buyers – on average in their early 40s, increase. The rental market is strong too, so renting out a property for just three weeks a year in Verbier will usually completely cover the annual running costs of the property. Apartments are popular, especially new build properties which can provide a range of attractive offerings such as proximity to lifts, parking, ‘wellness centres’ and concierge services.

The majority of Alpine property buyers are regular skiers in the region, and although the number of winter ski trips to the Alps are still below their 2007-08 peak when 700,000 trips were made, winter visitors have started to increase again. The residential markets are also aided by growth in summer season visits, as the mountains attract larger numbers of walkers and cyclists. Taken as a whole, the outlook for the Alpine property market looks positive with increased buyer interest and transactions in recent times.