Posted on 04 September 2015
Skiers planning their trip to the Alps this winter should hope that conditions on the slopes are as good as they are for investors in French ski property this season, said ski property specialist SkiingProperty.com in September.
“Foreign interest in property in the French Alps is expected to rise during the 2015-16 season, thanks to economic conditions both locally in France and internationally,” said Julian Walker, director at SkiingProperty.com. “For anyone considering a ski home, here are five reasons the French Alps are the place to buy in 2015.”
1) Exchange rate. Despite falling slightly since mid-August, the £/€ exchange rate remains highly favourable to British buyers compared to a year ago. At the start of September, the circa £1/€1.36 exchange rate meant a €300,000 French ski home was £17,000-£18,000 cheaper than the same month in 2014, thanks to nothing more than the stronger Pound.
2) Cheap mortgages. French mortgages remain incredibly cheap after interest rates hit their lowest level ever at the start of 2015, when the European Central Bank (ECB) announced €100s billions in quantitative easing. The ECB’s base interest rate, which determines the lending rates French banks pass on to customers, remains at historic lows and currently there are no signs this will rise. This means qualifying foreign buyers should be able to secure fixed rates of 2.5 to 3 per cent in France for some time.
3) Infrastructure investment. Summer 2014 has been especially productive in terms of upgrading lifts and improving infrastructure in a number of key French resorts, making the whole skiing experience in the Alps more enjoyable. These include Avoriaz, La Plagne (Montalbert) and Les Arcs in the Paradiski area, Les Houches and Brévent-Flegere in Chamonix, and around. In addition, Les Arcs has completed its brand new ‘Mille 8’ project, which includes a leisure complex with swimming pool, beginners area, accommodation blocks and toboggan run. Increasingly, resorts are offering year-round facilities, rather than focusing solely on winter sports.
4) Easy access. Reaching the French Alps from the UK and beyond gets easier by the year. Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble and Chambery are the main gateways by air, served by budget airlines, however, rail access has improved this season too, with Eurostar launching two new services. The first is a direct train to Lyon from London, taking just over four-and-a-half hours, and the second is a service to Geneva via Lille, which takes just over six hours. Don’t forget, the Alps are reachable by car from the UK too.
5) Investment. With true international appeal, a ready-made rental market and, in some resorts, limited supply of new-build, ski property in the Alps makes a sensible long-term investment in 2015. Developers report that appetite to invest in quality off-plan ski residences has returned in key resorts. With lingering uncertainty in global economic markets, including China, a euro-based investment in a market with proven international appeal makes sense for many.
Skiingproperty.com has a selection of properties in the French Alps, including apartments from less than €200,000 to €12million chalets.