Tips on Buying Property in the French Alps

Posted on 11 August 2018

Anyone thinking of buying property in the French Alps has two criteria to aim for. Your end goal is that you’ve purchased a worthy real estate investment, with lots of room for capital growth, and potential liquidity. Unlike most otherworldly destinations, the Alps offer a unique skiing lifestyle but how you tailor that to your needs and wants is of utmost importance.

To be clear, the French Alps is quite a broad area. It is part of the larger Alp range, including the highest mountains in Europe and other countries like Slovenia, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Sitting in the Provence Alpes Cote D’Azur and Auvergne-Rhone regions, essential areas for skiers include Les Trois Vallees, Portes du Soleil, Paradiski, Mont Blanc, Espace Killy and Les Grandes Rousses.

The choice on offer of locations and type of property are staggering so how do you start on your search for an Alpine home?

3 Things to Ask When Buying Property in the French Alps

Ski Property in the French Alps

1: What’s Your Purpose for Buying?

The most significant driving factor determining whether the home you buy, is suitable for your long-term plans is the purpose. If your primary aim is a buy-to-let income, you need quick and easy access to bars, restaurants and shops. You also want an excellent transport network for people coming in via the airport. To double up, on your rental income, look at the tax back leasing scheme offered by the French government, which as many benefits.

2: Dual Season Resorts

Summer activities and facilities is a win, win for everyone so look for dual season resorts. If you plan to rent out, this will increase your chances of year-round income, while if you use the home for yourself, it ensures more access to local amenities and better services.

Chamonix and Courchevel 1650 are just two resorts setting this trend via biking tails and water parks among many other summer activities. Dual season resorts also increases liquidity potential should you want to convert your bricks and mortars assets into hard cash.

French Alps Ski Property

3: Resort Development Plans

Ski resorts take more maintenance than your average beach resort. Ski infrastructure constantly needs upgrading to move with travel trends, so destinations need to be in front of their game. One such resort undergoing a massive transformation is Val D’Isère.

As well as upgrading their ski lifts, the Le Coin De Val project costing 200 million will reinvent the town making it one of the most desirable places in the Alps. Chamonix is also upgrading ski facilities, while there is potential in Alpe d’Heuz and Les Deux Alpes because of a linked 18-minute gondola ride, therefore giving skiers more choice than ever before.

Budget Buyers and Backdoor Alpine Resorts

The days of snapping up ski property for a bargain price are gone. The market opened to many more nationalities, and with strict building regulations in place, demand is outstripping the supply. While you can pay full whack for a property in established resorts, many budget buyers look to smaller resorts on the outskirts.

Known as backdoor properties, the same property is often a fraction of the price with more potential for capital growth.  So which resorts are driving a trend as suitable alternatives?

Buying Property in the French Alps

Combloux Versus Megeve

Victor Hugo said Combloux was the pearl of the Alps, and its short distance of just 4 kilometres from Megeve makes it an ideal alternative. Keeping much of its authentic alpine architecture, it is also popular during summer. If you can forgo the Michelin star restaurants and designer boutiques, for now, property in Combloux is a third of the price in Megeve.

Tignes Versus Val D’Isère

Val d’Isère’s reputation as the latest cool kid on the block is getting a lot of media attention but increasing costs are sending budget property buyers towards nearby Tignes. British skiers adore both districts, and because they are in the Espace Killy area, skiers have the same access to ski runs and facilities. While some have criticised Tignes in the past for haphazard concentrate buildings that lack heart and soul, its efforts to reinvent itself look set to pay off.

Les Menuires Versus Meribel

Both Les Menuires and Meribel sit in the three valleys area, the most significant ski terrain in the world. Buyers of property in Les Menuires have two distinct advantages because prices are 40 to 50% lower with 20% more liquidity.

When buying property in the French Alps, make wise choices to ensure your real estate investment pays off. Contact us today if you have more questions or would like further advice. Otherwise, our French Alp property portfolio gives you a good idea of how far your money will stretch.