Skiing In The Italian Alps

13.11.15

Italy’s mountains boast a bounty of high altitude resorts. They also offer some keenly priced ski property, as Laura Henderson discovers.

With countdown to ski season well underway, many families will be planning their annual pilgrimage to the pistes with the French Alps still the favoured haunt for European holidaymakers. For those with their eye on a chalet bargain however, Italy, better known for its summer retreats of Tuscany and Umbria, also boasts a vibrant winter home market, with mountain ranges on a par with France and an impressive terrain of over 300 individual ski areas.

“The Italian Alps are probably the least well known of the big four Alpine skiing nations – yet the snow-making and grooming are exemplary, there are minimal lift queues and the slopes cater to all abilities,” explains Jessica Gorman of Momentum Ski. “The in-resort cost of holidays is also appreciably lower than mainstream rivals with strict limits on property development delivering a crowd-free, quality European ski experience.”

The latest data from the Italy’s national statistics agency Istat, confirms property prices in the country are 3.4% lower than in the same period last year; a downward trend that has continued for over three years. Recent reports by PwC and the Urban Land Institute however suggest that Italy now offers some of the best property investment opportunities in Europe. “A weaker euro is spelling opportunities for foreign buyers,” explains Gemma Bruce of agents Casa and Country. “The cost of ownership is also low – there is no capital gains tax after five years of ownership and inheritance tax is one of the lowest in Europe.”

One ski domain picking up pace with foreign buyers is the northerly Dolomites region. Spanning 90,000 acres of mountainous terrain which stretch up to the Austrian border; the area has a long established reputation as a tailor-made location for a variety of winter sports. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009, towering mountains form the background against a stage of perfectly groomed ski runs and tip-top hospitality. Pretty Italian villages steeped in tradition combine to offer more than 1,200km of guaranteed sunny pistes up to 3,200 metres of elevation.

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Property price tags confirms Linda Travella of Casa Travella are a good 20-30% cheaper than principal resorts in France, one-bedroom apartments in cosy resorts such as Cibiana di Cadore near Cortina, being sold fully furnished for £99,000 up to £1m+ for a bespoke design chalet in the ‘Queen of the Dolomites’ resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Flying to the area is easy with a main airport at Venice which is only an hour and twenty minutes away.”

Confirms Stephen Graham of Stephen Graham Property Partnership: “The family friendly resort of Molino is a good stomping ground for competitively priced turnkey apartments from £175,000 with well serviced resorts such as San Pellegrino ideal for those seeking a stylish chalet with prices from £450,000.”

Buyers thinking about holiday rentals should know that the ski season in Italy usually starts in the first week of December and lasts until Easter. Two bedroom ski apartments are the most popular properties, and being close to the lifts or a ski bus is crucial. Kate Brice from Holiday Homes in Italy advises that it’s possible to rent for an average of fifteen weeks a year in main ski resorts, if not more: “High season is Christmas, New Year and February. Owners can also maximise rents by selling to Italians in early season and Easter which tend to be less popular with overseas holidaymakers.”

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