Got your heart set on owning a home in the mountains? Make sure you do your homework first. Agent Knight Frank reveals what to keep an eye on.
1. Exchange rate
It pays to monitor the exchange rate. The weaker pound means that a €2m chalet today costs £188,000 more than it would have done 10 years ago. Ouch! Still, it hasn’t put off people in the past - 40% of ski property sales in the Alps are to foreign investors.
2. Property market regulations
Policymakers are clamping down so while property market regulations may seem a dry subject, it’s an important one to get your head round.
Switzerland has seen some of the most stringent rules imposed. It kicked off with Lex Koller, a federal act, in 1983, which established areas where non-residents were forbidden from buying property. There’s a lighter touch in the French Alps but close attention is still paid to the scale and design of development.
3. Climate change
Global warming is expected to bring heavier but less frequent snowstorms in the Alps. So buyers are tipped to target high altitude resorts to make the most of the ski season in the coming years. Nevertheless, technology, such as snow guns and cannons, is helping, relocating snow to the busiest pistes.
4. Dual season
The days of owning a chalet to use solely in the winter months are long gone. Thanks to an increased awareness and interest in health, fitness and the great outdoors year-round, plus a vibrant social and cultural calendar, the summer months can be just as busy as the winter ones in the Alps. This is a great boost for rental properties.
5. Monetary conditions
The cost of finance in the Eurozone is set to rise and it means that buyers requiring a mortgage to snap up a ski home in the Alps may find costs inching up over the next few years. What’s more, they may also want to lock themselves into longer-term mortgage deals to take advantage of the current low rates.
6. Infrastructure investment
Major infrastructure investment is expected in Courchevel and Méribel as they gear up to host the Alpine World Ski Championships in 2023. But standing still is not an option for any Alpine resorts as they seek to attract a new generation of skiers. Villars has recently ploughed money into its facilities, including night skiing and a beginners’ ski area.
7. Combined ski areas
Expect to see more ski resorts team up to create major ski areas in a bid to attract more skiers. France is home to the biggest ski areas in the world. At 600km, the Three Valleys is the largest, stretching from Courchevel to Méribel, across to Les Menuires and Val Thorens.
This trend has already seen the introduction of a Swiss ‘magic pass’, which provides access to 30 resorts and 1,000km of slopes.
8. Chinese interest
Cheaper travel and rising wealth is likely to mean more Chinese tourists and buyers in the Alps. The number of Chinese with $5m is set to rise by 218,000 to 425,270 between 2017 and 2022. And, new flights routes are opening up from China to Europe.
From ergonomic boots and curved skis, to adaptive skiing for disabled skiers, skiing is opening up to a larger demographic than ever before thanks to advances in technology.
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