Property in French Alps now offers a better deal due to currency changes

Taylor Scott International News

Buyers in the French Alps are not happy to buy for the sake of buying but increasingly wanting to rent their property so it provides an income all year round, a new analysis has found. There is also strong demand for off-plan projects, according to the latest prime ski rental index report from international real estate firm Knight Frank. On top of this currency fluctuations are favouring certain nationalities such as the British and Americans. Overall Alpine resorts have seen muted sales activity since the financial crisis took hold in 2008 but new investment in infrastructure, a broader pool of demand and the realisation that a ski chalet is able to offer a competitive investment return is reinvigorating the market,’ the Knight Frank report says. During the 2013/2014 season demand continued to be focussed on the resorts located within an hour of Geneva Airport in particular Morzine/Les Gets, Megeve and Chamonix. The €1.5million to €2 million price bracket in Val d’Isere also saw strong activity, with many buyers wanting to be in the heart of the resort. In the year to June 2014 Knight Frank’s Alpine enquiries came predominantly from prospective European buyers, who together accounted for 61% of all applicants. The Europeans were followed by Asian and Middle Eastern buyers at 12% each, then Russians and CIS nationals at 5% and North Americans also at 5%. An analysis of Knight Frank’s enquiries data by price band shows that there was stronger demand for properties priced below €2.5 million in 2014 with this price bracket accounting for 72% of applicants, compared with 47% a year earlier. The proportion of buyers looking at properties above a €20 million threshold by comparison shrunk from 7.6% in 2013 to 3.8% in 2014. The report points out that price of a luxury home in the Alps can vary significantly, a fact that surprises some non-European buyers. Courchevel 1850 leads the pricing stakes with the average luxury property priced around €30,000 to €32,000 per square meter but in Chamonix, a two hour drive away and crucially outside the desirable Trois Vallées, prime prices are €7,000 to €8,000 per square meter. In the Alps, the authorities in Courchevel have announced they are spending over €100 million on upgrading the resort’s lift system, complementing the new €67 million aquatic centre which is due to open in 2015. Chamonix has gone one better announcing investment of around €477 million to improve its ski lift system, albeit over a longer time period. Knight Frank also says that sales enquiries are now less seasonal than they were. Buyers are recognising the year round appeal of the Alps and gardens, for example, now being sought by more applicants registering with the firm. ‘Buyers today are comfortable with the concept of buying off-plan through CGI imagery, floor plans, site plans and stage payments,’ said Knight Frank’s Roddy Aris, adding that over a period of four months the firm has sold virtually half of the Carré Blanc… Taylor Scott International

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