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Alpine Ski Property On The Lift

News Posted On: 03 November 2014

Swiss property news

Alpine ski property could be set to rise in the near future. In the last year, they’ve been outstripped by the USA, with ski property in the Rocky Mountains seeing 13% growth - and in hotspots like Colorado’s famous Aspen resort, sometimes as much as 20% - while European ski property managed just a 1% rise.

In its Alpine Property Market Spotlight document, released earlier this month, Savills World Research said more Alpine sales are taking place - but at lower price points. Savills sees that as the resilience of the ultra-prime market ‘rippling down’ to lower prices.

Jeremy Rollason, managing director at Alpine Homes, says, ’12 months ago, we predicted prolonged periods of sunshine and blue skies for the Alpine property market. This may have been a somewhat easy prediction, given a recovering world economy, increased confidence and job security and, in the case of UK buyers, a steady strengthening of Sterling.’

Breaking down the Alpine market country by country, Switzerland has seen better growth than many countries, since its position outside the EU politically but adjacent to it geographically makes it a convenient and desirable safe haven. Therefore its resorts carry a price premium, with premier resorts like Verbier running at €22,400 per square metre, 80% higher than the average. It should therefore be no surprise to learn that, of the resorts identified by Savills as the Top 10 Ultra-Prime Resorts, five are Swiss.

Mr. Rollason says, ‘Verbier and the Four Valleys remain ever popular and is the destination of choice for many international buyers.’ However, he warned that, ‘supply restrictions with the new Lex Weber law (limiting the number of second homes to no more than 20% of the total) will begin to bite in the next one to two years, once existing supply is absorbed. Upwards price pressure in the leading Swiss ski resorts is inevitable, though there are still deals in the resale market for those that shop around.’

By comparison, Austria may be deeply involved in the Eurozone but its comparative affordability, its seasonal duality with snowy winters and beautiful warm summers, and its diverse culture - to say nothing of its attractive rental returns. Rental returns on ski properties in Austria are around double the returns on equivalent properties in France or Switzerland, and are currently running at about 5% - 7% gross.

However, only one of Austria’s resorts, Kitzbuhel, made it into the Savills Top 10 nUltra Prime list, which may be a good thing, depending on your purposes: for instance, in Kitzbuhel prices range between €8,000 per square metre and €15,000 per square metre, with Bad Gastein and Zell significantly cheaper.

In France, stability is returning to the Alpine market and there are many opportunities for buyers. The French market is perhaps the widest in terms of price: Courchevel 1850 offers properties at around €34,000 per square metre, while St. Gervais has properties at €4,000 per square metre and even less. French ski resort seasons have better snowfall than some resorts in other Alpine countries, though they are of only average length.

Across the Alpine areas of Europe, vibrancy is returning to the market, making the mountains an interesting alternative to the coasts and traditional country sites if you’re looking for investment or second home opportunities.

Written by Les Calvert of www.property-abroad.com - overseas property reporter

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