Posted on 10 October 2014
Low mortgage rates, a strong pound and ongoing investment in resorts’ infrastructure mean conditions in the second half of 2014 are highly favourable to UK buyers of French ski homes, said skiing property specialist Skiingproperty.com in October.
Growing awareness of dual seasonality is also helping to attract British and other foreign buyers to resorts in the French Alps, in particular the Haute-Savoie region, easily accessible via Geneva Airport and where Chamonix already receives as many visitors in the warm summer months as during the winter skiing season.
“The pound spent most of October 2013 worth between €1.17 and €1.18,” said Julian Walker, director at Skiingproperty.com. “Now that, a year later, it’s hovering around the €1.27 mark, a typical €400,000 ski home is circa £24,000 cheaper to a British buyer, thanks purely to the better exchange rate. Things get even better when you factor in how fixed mortgage rates for non-resident owners in France have fallen, typically to 3.1 per cent from 3.75 per cent last year. This amounts to a further saving of around €29,000 stretched over 20 years on a €400,000 property.”
Meanwhile, French resorts that have received major infrastructure upgrades in time for the 2014-15 season include Châtel in the Haute-Savoie. Within the resort, a new aqua centre opened in July, putting the resort’s facilities on a par with other leading resorts in the Alps and increasing Châtel’s overall appeal. The aqua centre incudes indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools, a 25-metre lapping pool, kids area and swimming pool, as well as a gym and Spa facilities, such as Jacuzzis and saunas.
Improvements to Châtel’s lift system will also be ready for this season, filling the missing link in the Portes du Soleil ski area, which connects Avoriaz and Châtel in France with Champéry and Morgins in Switzerland. This season sees the opening of two new fast chairlifts connecting the Linga ski area near Avoriaz and the Super-Châtel area between Châtel and the Swiss border. In addition, a piste down the Super-Châtel side is due to open for the 2015-16 season, making the link even better.
“Offering better access to the Portes du Soleil slopes and a state-of-the-art aqua centre has put Châtel firmly on the map this year,” added Julian Walker at Skiingproperty.com. “As a result, demand for property there is expected to rise, as are average prices. Generally, there is a feeling that right now an investment in the French Alps represents good value for money compared to France’s other foreign hot spot, the Riviera, where prices are comparatively higher.”
Skiingproperty.com has a selection of properties in the French Alps, including Châtel, where apartments range from €240,000 to €1.3million-plus.