Posted on 08 January 2020
When investing in ski real estate in France, knowing the market ensures you not only buy a property that suits your lifestyle preferences but also make a wise investment that reaps many returns. As skiing property experts, we have guided hundreds of people through purchasing a property in the Alps.
So, in this article, we look at the market, home prices, the best ski resorts, buying process, and what to know when buying a house in France for ski holidays, future investment or a buy-to-let income. Including questions to ask yourself, we discuss lesser talked about aspects of buying French real estate, so you stick to a budget but still find the home of your dreams.
First, let us look at why home buyers choose the French alps over other destinations. Well, aside from the fact that buying ski property is a lot easier than other countries like Switzerland or the USA, there has been mass developments in recent years, which has seen modern, houses and homes, come on the market. Featuring the latest home technology, luxury chalet décor and design, the additional option of leaseback ownership attracts investors and those looking to pay for their real estate purchase with rental income.
As much as the market has to offer, a significant reason is the glory of the French Alps. Having overtaken the USA as the world’s top ski holiday and snowboarding destination, buyers have over 200 resorts to choose from, ensuring loads of choices, a decent ski season, and high chances of finding the home for sale that fits your budget. Many resorts also market themselves as a dual season and invest in summer tourist activities enjoy biking, mountaineering and outdoor pursuits.
Aside from that, mass investment into infrastructure is catching the eyes of buyers who see future potential. One such example is Val d’Isère and their Coin project, which will install underground parking into the town centre and improve buildings with traditional alpine architecture. For ski property buyers, the French alps tick all boxes they want in a destination.
Ski Real Estate in France: Tips for Property Buyers
1: Ski Areas in France
To help narrow down a property search to a specific location, decide which main skiing areas suit you best. All cater to different levels of skiers and offer unique views. For example, the Espace Killy areas service the resorts of Tignes and Val d’Isère. It is one area offering guaranteed snowfall, making it suitable for hardcore skiers who never want to leave the ski slopes. Comprising high altitude resorts, snow conditions are ideal and attracts glacier skiers and snowboarders.
Meanwhile, the Grand Massif includes resorts like Flaine, Les Carroz, Samoens, and the stunning Mont Blanc. Families and beginner skiers prefer this destination, thanks to their nursery slopes. The Paradiski area links La Plagne and Les Arcs and despite its reputation as being ideal for beginner and intermediate skiers offers serious off-piste skiing opportunities.
Sitting on the border between Switzerland and France, the Portes De Soleil includes resorts like Les Gets, Avoriaz, and Morzine. Last, let us not forget the publicised Three Valleys and high profile French resorts like Courchevel, a favourite playground of celebrities and royals around the world. Find out more about places to ski in France.
2: Which Ski Resorts in France Lead the Real Estate Market?
Dominating the top end of the market, Courchevel has always led the way in luxury travel, ski-in ski-out chalets and attracts millionaires and billionaires from around the globe with its high-profile establishments and Michelin starred restaurants.
But one resort that has risen the ranks in recent years is Val d’Isère, and its luxury chalets. A flurry of infrastructure investment in the main town centre, an upgraded ski lift system, and ski gondolas, and a promise to adhere to traditional alpine architecture attracts home buyers and real estate investors eager to cash in.
For the mainstream and budget markets, homebuyers often turn towards satellite or backdoor resorts. These villages or towns offer access to the same ski area, but properties sell for lower prices. This one tactic saves much money.
Chatel: Sitting in the Haute Savoie region, of south-eastern France, Chatel offers easy access to the Portes De Soleil area with 650 kilometres of pistes for all levels of skiers. With a concentrated effort to maintain traditional alpine architecture, home buyers will be surprised at what they can get for their money. A free bus service gives easy access to all the ski lifts, and for property investors looking for rental returns, Chatel offers decent opportunities thanks to its ever-growing tourism base.
Combloux: Sitting next door to highly priced Megeve, Combloux is a high-profile backdoor ski resort with much to offer. With just an hours’ drive and transfer time from Geneva airport, get ready for some stunning Mont Blanc mountain views. Families like Combloux for the middle range après-ski scene with various bars and dining opportunities. For new developments, think Savoyard style architecture comprising wood and stone for a traditional alpine ambience.
Tignes: Serving as a backdoor resort to Val d’Isère, Tignes taps into the Espace Killy area, and is ideal to buy a village house. The area separates into five distinctive villages of which Les Brévières is a perfect picture-postcard scene. Each resort offers something unique, like Val Claret renowned for a lively après scene whereas home buyers searching a more low-key social scene often choose Tignes 1800. (Read more about the villages of Tignes.)
Les Gets: This backdoor resort to Chamonix is just an hour from Genova, and belonging to Portes du Soleil, has everything on its doorstep. Nightlife is low key making this a family-friendly destination, and most visitors are French, proving paying attention to what locals do pays off. Think traditional charm and Savoyard architecture to understand why house buyers should consider Les Gets.
Summer Resorts in France
So, always consider the area, and backdoor French ski resorts to save money, but another aspect to consider is summer destinations. Many resorts want a year-round tourism trade by marketing themselves with outdoor activities. This will appeal to anyone looking for a year-round holiday home or buy-to-let investors who wish to maximise rental potential.
Activities include golf, biking, canyoning, rafting, kayaking, and much more so fans can still enjoy the alps from spring to autumn.Les Gets, and Chatel, two summer destinations and backdoor resorts have much potential. While other summer destinations include Courchevel, for the foodie scene, Val d’Isère, Alpe d’Huez, Chamonix and Meribel, a favourite destination for the Brits. (Read about summer holidays in the French Alps.)
Ski Chalet Versus Ski Apartment
Budget and choice of location play substantial parts in deciding whether to buy a chalet or apartment and there are pros and cons to both. Regardless of which type of French home you want, know the distance to the nearest ski slope, amenities, shops, restaurants, bars, and transport links.
Advantages of owning an apartment are most are on managed lifestyle residences, who have maintenance teams to ensure your home in France is secure while you are away. Many people opt for a two-bedroom apartment and utilise the living room space by buying fold in fold-out sofa beds.
While for cosy, luxury ski chalets, look for factors like ski in-ski out, floor to ceiling windows, wine cellar, steam room or sauna, ensuite bathrooms, a log fire, outdoor hot tub, parking, and stunning views. Also read tips and advice for buying a chalet in France.
Financing, Running Costs and Taxes
Don’t focus only on budget when buying a ski property in France. Whether, you finance a purchase with a mortgage, always use a currency exchange specialist to convert money into euros before purchasing. They help to save thousands of pounds.
However, before purchasing, know the expected yearly running costs and bills to factor in. These include management and maintenance, if you will be away or relying on a company to handle rentals. Remember, you must pay tax on rental income. There are also two real estate taxes to pay each year.
When you express an interest in a French property, we send draft payment plans listing payment stages and all additional purchase costs. We advise on what to expect from yearly running costs. Also, remember to convert real estate investments of bricks and mortar back into hard cash, you will need to pay capital gains tax.
What are Leaseback Properties?
Much hype surrounds France’s leaseback program born out of a need for more ski accommodation. Owners purchasing leaseback homes which are apartments, allow a management company to rent out their property in return for an income.
The owners agree to a set time they can use the apartment for which ranges between 4 to 6 weeks every year. For foreign real estate investors, leaseback properties appeal because the management and maintenance side is handled for them. This article talks more about leaseback properties in France, and what buyers need to know.
Off-Plan and New Property
Off-plan and new build properties drive the French alps real estate market, and the lure isn’t hard to understand. With discounted prices, and more than often 0% interest-free structured payments, real estate investors, have mass potential for capital appreciation.
By law, all contractors must offer a ten-year construction guarantee, and all provide a snagging list service once the property is ready to move into. French alps developers also make considerable efforts to avoid the mistakes of previous decades. Concentrating on incorporating traditional alpine architecture into exterior and interior appearances, they also focus on modern cons, décor and design like smart home and energy-efficient technology.
To find out more, arrange a viewing time and date, or speak with a real estate agent, contact us here by filling in the enquiry form, telephone or using the live chat feature. We can answer questions about the French Alps real estate market, send a portfolio of properties for sale via email, and update you on the latest property news.
Also, see our extensive listings of ski houses for sale in many resorts. Each featured property includes photos, location details, key features of that house for sale and reasons to buy.
Why Buyers love French Ski Property: We look at the six reasons buyers flock to invest in ski real estate in France. From the lifestyle and all things French to value for money and mid to long term investment potential, these factors drive the property market.
Traditional French Alpine Architecture: As developers all over the alps look to build properties with traditional architecture, we look back over the history books to find out how the style we see today was born. This article also lists helpful tips for buyers of what to look for in an alpine property.