Posted on 14 December 2020
If you are considering investing in Alpine property, there are a few things you should know and consider before making your investment. From quaint farmhouses to modern chalets, read our guide on how to invest in Alpine property in 2021. We’ll share tips, tricks, and ideas we’ve learned as an experienced Alpine real estate agent.
Why Invest In Alpine Property?
Property in the Alps can be a great long-term investment, with some short term benefits too. There are a few reasons to invest in Alpine property over other areas, including growing popularity, international interest, and more.
There is continuing investment in the facilities and infrastructure of the Alps. Especially in some of the best ski resorts like Avoriaz, La Plagne, Les Arcs, Les Houches, and Chamonix.
Les Arcs completed its ‘Mille 8’ project, featuring a leisure complex with a swimming pool, beginners’ area, accommodation blocks, and a toboggan run. Many resorts also offer year-round facilities, rather than focusing on winter sports.
Infrastructure investments also make reaching the French Alps more accessible by the year. Budget airlines serve the main hubs of Geneva airport, Lyon, Grenoble, and Chambery. Rail access is also better thanks to a direct train to Lyon from London, taking just over four-and-a-half hours, and the second, a service to Geneva via Lille, takes over six hours.
Popularity in the Alps is growing, meaning an Alpine property will be perfect for a long term investment and short term rental income. And without a doubt, France is king and the more reassuring option for owners in the Alpine property market. With international appeal, a revolving rental market, and a limited supply of new-build alpine property, developers instead invest in quality off-plan residences in central locations.
Two million foreign skiers visit France each winter season, which gives you a never-ending stream of holidaymakers to rent your property out to when you aren’t there. The French ski resort, La Plagne in the Paradiski area, attracts the highest number of visitors every year. It’s the world’s most successful resort and this highlights how dominant the Alps are on the world’s ski stage.
Who Invests In Alpine Property?
If you want to know who your neighbours will be, you can take a look at who typically invests in Alpine property.
Partly due to a ski chalet or Alpine apartment being the perfect hands-off investment with real lifestyle benefits in summer and winter, investors in Alpine property tend to be wealthy property buyers from all over the world.
Wealthy lifestyle investors from America, including British ex-pats, and overseas property buyers with dollar-based capital often look at high-end ski resorts in France. While ex-pats in international business hot spots like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, and Singapore, who have assets in dollars, turn to Alpine real estate for long term solid investments.
The same stands for nationals of other wealthy Gulf states. Their buying power is the best it has been in a decade, not forgetting how the current long-term value of French mortgages, with rates still hovering around record lows, also can be used to their advantage.
Tips For Buying Alpine Property
If you are serious about buying property in the Alps, there are a few things you should consider before you start your Alpine property search.
Leaseback or outright purchase
For access to a convenient, well-equipped, and hassle-free ski property, consider leaseback but check annual personal usage, maintenance costs, and expected rental yields. Many off-plan and new leaseback residences include a spa, pool, and communal areas. Otherwise, for complete flexibility and somewhere to call home, buy outright the usual way.
Investors planning to rent out either or through an agency should also consider advertising costs, cleaning and maintenance, and agency fees. Buying in a top ski resort with an excellent snow record should deliver reliable rental yields – demand comes from domestic and international markets.
To maximise the best exchange rate available and bring down property prices in pounds, use a currency exchange specialist to send euros to France.
French mortgage rates, for residents and non-residents, remain at historic lows, with variable rates as low as just 2.2 percent. Combined with the favourable exchange rate, a mortgage might make financial sense for many buyers.
French properties come with two types of council tax: taxe foncière and taxes habitation). Remember to factor these into running costs. Check out any discounts on seasonal ski passes and ski hire available to homeowners in a resort.
Interest in affordable and luxury ski chalets and apartments experiences seasonal surges as resorts open for business. A memorable ski holiday can be enough to make a potential buyer take the next step and begin searching. So we recommend starting your property search as soon as possible to have a choice of the very best Alpine property on the market. If you want to start your search, view our property for sale in the Alps and speak to one of our experienced estate agents.
Alpine Property For Skiing
Many investors in Alpine property do so for one reason: skiing. One-third of all ski resorts sit in the Alps, which get 2 million visitors every year. So if you’re looking to invest in Alpine property, or let it out, then chances are you are doing so to ski!
When choosing where in the Alps to invest in a skiing property, we know there are lots of options. So you should consider things like access, length of season, and elevation.
Ski-in Ski-out Luxury Chalets: Nobody wants to trudge to buses at the bottom of the slopes, therefore just putting on your skis and off you go, is a popular requirement for real estate buyers. Ski-in ski-out properties within walking distance of lifts and resort centres always stay in high demand, but property prices drop outside a resort or a short drive from the slopes, so it is about weighing up convenience with a budget.
Ski Areas and Summer
Skiing in France is for everyone regardless of ability, but some areas present more opportunities than others. Therefore, make sure that there are enough ski slopes of various types. Don’t forget off-piste skiing, cross country skiing, backcountry, heli-skiing, and snowboarding facilities.
Look at Three Valleys and Grand Massif central for ideal conditions and opportunities. The best resorts also excel in summer tourism including mountain range biking, archery, hiking, fishing, golf, paragliding, tennis, golf, swimming pools, spa facilities, and more.
To avoid looking at the weather forecast three weeks in advance and worrying about ample snowfall, choose a higher altitude resort to ensure snow will be there. Think about its skiing areas, both size, and altitude (over 2,000 metres for guaranteed snow), lift infrastructure, transfer and driving times, winter and leisure activities, amenities, shopping, ski schools, and creches. Would you prefer to drive 90 minutes from the airport nearest to the ski resort, or use useful public transport links instead?
Resort Features & Atmosphere
When looking at properties for sale, walk the distance to shops and facilities to know how close you are. Also consider architectural styles from new, modern, man-made resorts to traditional alpine mountain villages. Those buying for family ski holidays should also look at childcare and activities for children of all ages. Après-ski is the other facilitator to consider. Does low-key work for you, or would you like a lively après-ski scene on your doorstep and convenient access to attractive bars and restaurants?
Property buyers of French ski property should check winter season durations in any resort where they consider purchasing. Every year resorts set an official opening and closing date for the skiing holidays season, which is the period when the slopes should be fit for skiing with enough snow, and lifts and gondolas operational.
In years when the snow comes early, some resorts open before the official opening date, kicking off the season at weekends to start and limiting the number of lifts in operation. If snow conditions are poor, resorts may put back their opening date. High mountain resorts offer longer seasons, while those that are north-facing keep snow for longer. Owners of Alpine homes who want guaranteed skiing for more extended periods could also consider resorts with access to glacier skiing.
Most resorts, including Les Gets, Flaine, Samoens, and Tignes open around the end of December, but a handful open before including Val Thorens, Meribel, and Courchevel. However, while many resorts close in April, those with a longer season include Tignes and Val Thorens, which shut at the beginning of May. A more extended season means more opportunities to earn from rentals.
Where To Buy Property In The Alps
The French Alps Savoie region is home to established high altitude resorts with excellent skiing and easy access from the UK and Europe. Resorts include Tignes, Val d’Isère, Courchevel, Meribel, and Alpe d’Huez a little further south.
The Espace Killy ski area, with 300 kilometres of slopes from 1,550m to 3,456m, includes the four Tignes villages. The highest, Val Claret sits at 2,300m, followed by Le Lac (2,100m) and Tignes Les Boisses and Les Brévières. Transfers from Geneva and Lyon are around two-and-a-half hours.
The other half of Espace Killy includes lively Val d’Isère lies at 1,850 metres. The resort enjoyed €200 million of investment including €16-million redevelopment of the Solaise area and a new mid-mountain station at 2,500 metres.
In the Savoie and Les Trois Vallees area, the heart of picturesque Meribel lies at 1,450 metres, but its ski chalets and residences rise 1,700 metres up the valley. Much preferred by Brits, Meribel, a satellite resort sits at 1,750 metres and links into Les Trois Vallées’ 600kms of slopes.
As an upmarket resort and within Les Trois Vallees, Courchevel, a collection of linked villages at different altitudes includes the main town and lift hub in Courchevel 1,850. Courchevel Moriond (1,650), Courchevel Village (1,550), and Courchevel Le Praz (1,300) are at lower altitudes. Attributes to boast about include Michelin-starred restaurants and a £50-million water park.
In Isère, Alpe d’Huez at 1,860 metres has 250 kilometres of slopes, which comprise France’s fifth-largest ski area and include the Alp’s most extended black run range from 1,100 metres up to 3,330 metres. They guarantee a long ski season thanks to the glacier there. The nearest airport at Grenoble is just 90 minutes’ drive away.
Properties For Sale In The Alps
As an experienced Alpine real estate agent, our portfolio contains a large selection of French Alpine Property that present ideal investment opportunities.
Whether you plan to move to France, generate a rental income, or buy a French ski home, our Alpine estate agents can help you search for the perfect Alpine property. We can help you to find affordable and luxury homes for sale. Every one of our property listings includes photos, descriptions, local information, and contact details to find out more or arrange a viewing.
If you would like to find out more, contact one of our experienced estate agents.