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Could the French Alps become a hot spot for American investors in Europe?

Posted on 22 November 2016

Ski property in leading French resorts could be the ideal investment for Americans looking for a safe haven euro asset that also offers lifestyle benefits, said ski property specialist Skiingproperty.com in November.

The strong US dollar and cheap euro mortgages make conditions highly favourable for American investors in France right now, including those spurred into purchasing a European home by the election of Donald Trump as the next US President.

“A French ski home could appeal to those Americans disenchanted by Trump’s victory in a number of ways,” said Julian Walker, director at Skiingproperty.com. “They may have concerns about the US economy after Trump takes the reins and feel having a euro-based immovable asset makes sense for the long-term. Others may be considering leaving the country altogether or spending half the year in Europe, in which case a home in the fantastic mountain environment of the French Alps could be ideal. And there will also be many American expats working overseas who would rather invest in a home in Europe, including the Alps, than the US.”

“For these investors, it’s a bonus that the US dollar is close to a year’s high against the euro and French mortgage rates are at historic lows, so that rates below two per cent with 20-year terms and requiring just a 20 per deposit are quite normal at the moment.”

The skiing areas most likely to appeal to American buyers are Les Trois Vallées, Paradiski and Les Portes du Soleil, all reachable via flights from the US into Geneva, or high-speed train after flying into Paris. Each of these is larger than any single US resort and includes a choice of resorts in terms of style and budget. For example, Courchevel and Les Menuires are both in Les Trois Vallées, but the former is one of the Alp’s most upmarket resorts, with a large choice of multi-million-euro apartments and chalets, while the latter is more affordable and suited better suited to families.

Besides a proven rental market and historically strong capital appreciation, added appeal of European resorts for American investors include the French Alpine culture, the food and drink, the typically cheaper lift passes compared to resorts in the US, and the huge range of activities on offer off the slopes, as well as during the warmer summer months.

Added Mr Walker at Skiingproperty.com: “For Americans looking for a hands-off investment bringing guaranteed rental return from day one, French resorts offer the option of leaseback. Our options range from a luxury €1million-plus apartment in Courchevel to an apartment in Les Menuiers for less than €200,000, both fully managed. For any Americans considering a purchase in the Alps, has there ever been a better time.”

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