Posted on 23 February 2018
More than ever before, people are choosing to invest in the French ski property market and for good reasons. What was once a dormant, stagnant industry has now reinvented itself to offer potential overseas buyers, an ideal investment that suits their lifestyle choice.
It’s not just its European status that is gaining it fame. Instead, buyers are presented with a well-rounded and comprehensive picture that is trumping other countries like Switzerland and Italy.
The Lure of the French Ski Property Market
1: A Year-Round Destination
If you assume that buying a French ski property means you are limited to winter months only, you couldn’t be more wrong. Increasingly more resorts are marketing themselves as summer destinations, and when the snow melts to reveal the pristine green landscapes of the Alps, potential buyers see the year-round potential.
Summer activities like paragliding, golfing, mountain biking, zip lining and trekking are focal points of many communities looking to gain a year-round income from tourism. Combloux, Chatel, Les Arcs, and Les Menuires are all excellent examples of resorts boosting their summertime population.
2: The French Leaseback Rental Scheme
Anyone looking for a buy-to-let income or owners that plan to use their property for just a few weeks of the year should consider the French leaseback scheme for their new ski property. Introduced in 1967 by the French government, the aim was to increase quality and quantity of accommodation in touristic areas.
Buyers purchase a freehold, self-catering property and lease it back to a management company who usually deliver between 2% to 6% on rental income. However, the bonus is that buyers can get a 20% VAT refund off the property price. Owners are entitled to use their property for a set number of weeks every year and usually don’t have a say on the décor and interior furnishings, but for buy-to-let investors, this option ticks all the boxes.
3: Upgraded Community Facilities and Infrastructure
Part of the renewed interest in French ski properties came from the acknowledgement of resort councils that they needed to upgrade and improve their infrastructure. Faster and more ski lifts, transport buses, alternative activities and quality accommodation all lent weight to enhancing resorts reputations, especially with Brits, looking for alternatives from the higher priced and expensive resorts like Courchevel.
The Millie 8 concept of Les Arcs is a perfect example. Intended to occupy skiers on their time off the piste, it incorporates children’s playgrounds, footpaths with scenic views, a toboggan run, a 3800 square meter aquatic centre with whirlpools, water games and slides as well as a sauna, and the Les Cabanes, a ride through the forest that stops for a BBQ and tinkle on the large Xylophone.
4: Prices and Value for Money
The French ski property market has always had the edge over Switzerland when it comes to prices and value for money, but more French resorts are joining the already existing portfolio. Buyers are increasingly turning away from the glitzy resorts like Courchevel to places like purposely built Tignes, a collection of 5 smaller villages sitting next to the Val D’Isere region, where they get more space for less money.
Likewise, Chatel that keeps much of its French ambience and is still an agriculture town is gaining in popularity, with independent travellers supplementing the demand for rented self-catering accommodation.
5: Alps Tourism and Lifestyle
The French Alps is a unique destination. The mountain range to which it belongs covers 1200 kilometres stretching across eight countries in total. Providing lowland Europe with much of its drinking water, the alps is also the place of unique landscape, flora and fauna and a completely different lifestyle.
Farming and forestry are at the heart of their culture, while skiing and alpine tourism make the French Alps one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Part of the lure for travellers is the unique ambience, and atmosphere and of course, après ski. Naturally, the variety of landscapes makes it a great destination for parents who want their children to grow up in the glory of mother nature, rather than in front of a computer screen.
6: Sample All Things French
The French do a few things better than other nationalities. Of course, their cuisine has earned them a reputable place as the king of food. They have a particularly good knack for making tasty cheese and warm, delicious bread and pastries. Then anyone looking to spend their hard-earned cash will find the French will eagerly take it off them by presenting every type of shopping bonanza you can imagine.
The French trains leading into the Alps will get you there in next to no time, and if luxury is what you want, look no further than the French because they have mastered it down to a tee. Lastly, let’s not forget the wine. The perfect end to a day on the ski slopes. Investing in the French ski property market might just be the best lifestyle change, you’ll ever make. See our property portfolio here.