Posted on 10 February 2021
When you start looking for ski property, it can be easy to overlook ski apartments for sale. After all, most people dream of owning a wood-clad chalet or tiny, stand-alone mazot surrounded by pretty, untouched snow and a small pile of wood by the door. Perhaps with the ski slopes a few hundred metres away, and the centre of town within reasonable walking distance.
For all that that’s the picture most people will think of when they begin their property hunt, there’s comparatively much fewer stand-alone chalets for sale than there is apartments. In terms of buying in the French or Swiss Alps, apartments are far easier to come by and often come in at a much wider range of price points. This is especially true in resorts like Flaine or Val Thorens where the entire resort was built to maximise ski-in/ski-out potential. You would need to pull off something miraculous to get your hands on a rustic little chalet in resorts like these.
Even if you had your heart set on a pretty chalet, one that looks like something you might see on the front of a chocolate box, we’re here to give you four reasons to check out ski apartments for sale as well.
There’s More Choice
If you’ve been on the Alpine property hunt for long, you’ll know that stand-alone chalets don’t come on the market too often. This is especially true in the most popular resorts, where looking at ski apartments for sale might be the only way you’re likely to get your hands on property in the near future. Chalets in desirable resorts are often snapped up quickly, and they’re normally either back-creakingly expensive or they’re a little more out of the way than your average ski apartment for sale.
On the other hand, ski apartments tend to come on the market more often. In terms of new build developments, some of the most exciting properties in the most desirable resorts are blocks of supremely luxury apartments. While there are developments of new chalets in various, less well-known resorts, when the town is already fairly built up, developers are far less likely to build stand-alone properties when they could get more out of the land by going with apartments instead.
Budget-Friendly or Luxury Location
In resorts like Courchevel 1850, famous for being incredibly high-end, new developments of apartments are catered towards the most likely clientele. This tends to mean swimming pools, spa facilities, concierge services, and private cars that run between the residence and the foot of the slopes. Although living in an apartment might seem less deluxe than a chalet, the range of services available in this sort of development is a huge draw if you’re looking for a stress-free holiday home.
Even if you’re on a Richard Branson type budget, there are some ultra-luxury, fully serviced apartments on sale in resorts like Verbier that you might find to your taste. Handily, as the square footage of apartments tends to be less than that of chalets, these are also far more likely to be under the 200 square metre limit set on foreign purchase in the Canton Valais.
Apartments are much less hassle
Even in small studio apartments, without all the fancy concierge services, spa facilities, and on-site driver there’s one benefit to looking at ski apartments for sale; sharing a building means you’re guaranteed to have any public spaces looked after by a service company. The management company will probably also look after the water and gas for the building, which means you have much less to deal with as the property owner.
Although in Switzerland, most properties will have a service charge of some kind, these likely only cover maintenance of roads and public spaces. In an apartment, you can hit the mountain without worrying about snow clearing, heating hiccups, and errant water bills arriving to ruin your day. Instead, all you need to do is report any problems to the company in charge of building maintenance. For second home buyers, it’s a vital weight off your mind.
The same relatively minor problem, for a chalet owner, can be difficult or costly to fix especially if you’re working with limited working knowledge of the local language. It might not be quite as picture-perfect, but in the French and Swiss Alps, apartments really are a more manageable proposition.
Better access to ski-in/ski-out resorts
As I’ve already noted briefly, if you’re hoping to buy property in a high, purpose-built, ski-in/ski-out resort then looking at ski apartments for sale is one of the only ways you can go. Resorts like Val Thorens, Plagne 2000, Flaine, and Tignes have little to no chalets, and the few there are rarely hit the market.
If what you’re looking for is ski-in/ski-out convenience, you might find you need to switch your focus from the perfect Alpine chalet to a ski apartment for sale in your resort of choice. In terms of a home in the Alps, apartments are far more common in the higher resorts, because almost all of them were purpose-built and therefore designed to maximise the number of people that can ski there.
Of course, it might be that you’ve found a rare case of a chalet for sale in one of these high, snow-sure resorts, or you’d rather choose a property in a lower, prettier resort in the same ski area, but if skiing is the name of the game then apartments are well worth considering.
Whatever your choices, and whether you’ve decided to look for chalets or ski apartments for sale, Skiing Property has a range of chalets and apartments in resorts across the French and Swiss Alps!