Posted on 17 February 2019
Our tips for buying ski property in France cover the entire process from financing your purchase to choosing the ideal resort. You may be eager to sign the title deeds, take the keys and put your feet up by a log fire, but this is the time to take it easy. As with any real estate investment, it is a big life decision to make, and the French alpine ski resort market is no exception.
For a nation that doesn’t experience a great deal of snow and grinds to a halt when it does, Britain is teeming with winter sports enthusiasts, and increasingly more people are looking at property in the French Alps for holiday homes, rental opportunities and ideal long-term real estate investment.It’s easy to see why: some slopes and resorts are just a short flight away; will other popular mountain ranges make for a scenic road trip.
There are over 200 ski resorts to choose from, with a comprehensive portfolio of properties for sale including rental leaseback schemes, studio homes, apartments and ski chalets, so tailor your purchase to not only lifestyle preferences but also finances and potential for long-term capital appreciation.
Advice and Tips for Buying Ski Property in France
1: Financing a Ski Property Purchase
The first step is to work out how much money you have to spend and where to get the funds from. If you have the cash, see you on the slopes! If you need to borrow a little or a lot of extra money, don’t be discouraged, there has never been a better time to fund your French property purchase through the many loan options, including a mortgage.
Like the UK, France has several mortgage options and while conditions may be higher than before the fiscal crisis at least the rates are lower! Mortgage rates are like the UK, set by lenders based on low rates put in place by the European Central Bank.
It is sensible to speak to an overseas mortgage broker about current offers. The Lending criteria is different, and worked on the basis that the total monthly mortgage payment should not exceed one-third of the purchaser’s gross monthly income.
Establish how much cash you need as a deposit; for non-French nationals, this is usually between 20 and 35%. You will also need to supply proof of income and identity, bank account details and credit cards.
If getting an overseas mortgage feels too complicated, investigate buying property in France through re-mortgaging your British home. Be clear about how much monthly repayment figure are, as well as the maintenance cost of keeping property and daily living costs in France.
The mortgage company will have a say in this but how many of us have bought properties on two incomes when we know well that one of us will stop work to have a baby or retrain into a new career! Choose an affordable mortgage without stretching yourself.
2 Resorts Investing in Infrastructure
According to a recent report from Knight Frank, decisions of ski resort home-buyers are driven by financial investments made by local councils. Your thought process should be no different to cash in on an alpine dream.
Discover if there are plans to create a wider ski domain, if lifts will be upgraded, if luxury brands lease retail space or if new hotel groups are exploring key sites. By investing in progressive resorts, real estate becomes desirable and is more likely to appreciate long-term.
3: High Altitude Ski Resorts in the French Alps
There is a rising demand from overseas buyers for apartments and chalets in the snow sure, high altitude resorts like Val d’Isère and Tignes. A development that has led to stable or rising prices in resorts found at 1,800 metres and above.
For example, the L’Espace Killy ski area, which covers both resorts, is often regarded as having the most reliable snow in the Alps, due for high altitude skiing – 60% of its 300 kilometres of slopes are above 2500m. Investors have also seen good rental returns in these higher resorts, because of consistent dumps of snow over the past few seasons, resulting in high occupancy levels.
4: Dual Seasonality
When the snow melts, you’ll be left counting the days until the next ski season. Rather than leaving your alpine retreat empty while you continue to pay the mortgage why not be proactive and rent it out during the summer months?
To do so choose a destination with dual seasonality. If any destination ticks this box and attracts visitors throughout the year, its rental potential will rocket. Chamonix is a notable example of a 12-month resort, where an ongoing investment plan has enabled it to become a multipurpose year-round resort.
5: Your Property’s Resale Prospects
Consider how much your home might be worth when the time comes to sell up. You don’t need a crystal ball to calculate this. As already mentioned, the level of local investment will come into play.
Other beneficial factors when the time comes to sell up include access to an airport and amenities, and location. Opting to buy in high-altitude, snow sure destinations such as Val d’Isère or Tignes will ensure the local real estate market remains buoyant. Don’t forget to give your property a little ongoing TLC inside and out to keep it looking spick and span.
6: Take Advantage of Low-Interest Rates
We have become accustomed to living in a world of low interest rates since the global monetary crisis in 2008 made borrowing money far cheaper. The Euro-zone is a prime example of favourable conditions for overseas buyers where rates are set at low levels. This has enabled Brits to lock in low mortgage rates that swell budgets. You may afford an extra bedroom or even live higher up the mountain.
7: See a Currency Specialist
Before heading off to find that home, sort your currency out. Buying a ski property in Europe will expose currency market volatility, whether it is mortgage payments, rent repatriation, maintenance costs or the above.
A currency specialist can prevent exchange rate fluctuations from hurting plans. A personal account manager will devise an effective currency strategy, such as how and when to transfer funds. This dedicated expert can explain how to secure the cost of a dream home purchase by fixing a current exchange rate for up to 12 months, using a forward contract.
You cannot expect to get the newsworthy rate or the currency websites – that is the interbank rate and banks will offer less – sometimes a lot less. Instead, a currency specialist gives as close to that interbank rate as possible – within a percentage point or two. We suggest using Smart Currency Exchange, who are specialists in overseas property.
To start your search, browse our portfolio of ski homes for sale, and just us the enquiry form or call us to discover more information about any listings. For more advice and tips for buying ski property in France, use the messaging service at the bottom right-hand side of the screen.
Also download our free ski property brochure here, which talks more about current market conditions and alpine homes for sale. As an estate agent specialising in ski property, we are ready to walk you through the process from start to finish.
(See more of the featured property photos in this article.)