Hot off the slopes


Cutting edge designs, creative use of materials and the capacity for customisation make brand new ski homes, whether off-plan or new-build, the most exciting properties in the Alps. We highlight the key perks and tempt you with some on the market today… 

Choose your chalet or residence, especially the location, sensibly and there is a good chance your property will rise in value. Purchasing off-plan or during ‘pre-launch’ phase increases the likelihood of this. 

Capital appreciation is especially likely in established resorts where building land is now hard to find, as well as in Swiss resorts where the construction of non-primary residences is restricted (Lex Weber rule). Like anywhere desirable, if new-build opportunities are rare, they’re worth more.



Buying new gives you the opportunity to tailor your chalet to your exact tastes and needs. If buying a plot and appointing your own architect, you have complete flexibility over the plans and finish of your dream home in the mountains. In this case, you’ll have the reassurance and support of working closely with experts, allowing you to be involved personally as much or little as you wish. 

If you’re buying off-plan or new-build from a developer’s pre-approved plans, you should be able to tweak certain elements of the layout before being invited to decide on the final fix, picking your appliances, fixtures and fittings, and decorating styles. 

Buying new gives you the opportunity to tailor your chalet to your exact tastes and needs. 

Consider financing your off-plan or new-build purchase with a mortgage. Right now this could even make sense for foreign buyers who might otherwise be cash purchasers. Interest rates offered by French and Swiss banks are hovering close to historic lows (with key central banks’ rates in negative territory), making mortgages cheap as well as a savvy way to avoid exposing the entire value of your transaction to current exchange rates. 

Your best option might be to use a bespoke mortgage broker who can match your requirements with a private bank or specialist lender. Private banks/ lenders take a different approach to mainstream mortgage providers and will look at your financial profile as a whole, in order to find a finance deal that aligns with your personal requirements. 


Payment for a chalet built from scratch or partially built typically will be in stage payments. As the buyer, this gives you a certain amount of flexibility compared to buying a resale property in a single payment (besides a deposit). 

Working with experienced currency specialist Smart Currency Exchange allows you to accommodate for exchange rate movement and plan accordingly for each individual payment. In some instances, the extended payment process buys you time to readdress your financial affairs, perhaps revisiting loan agreements or the liquidity of assets, following an unexpected shift in economic conditions while your ski home is being built. 


New chalets will come with a structural guarantee, typically between five and 10 years. The developer or builder will also be obliged to take care of any defects before the purchaser pays the final balance and gets the keys – so-called snagging – as well as deal with any unexpected faults that occur soon after taking possession. 

Compared to older resale chalets, more up-to-date and energy efficient materials and appliances are used in the construction of new properties – and this is something that is constantly improving. So not only is your home kinder to the environment but it should be a bit cheaper to run than the equivalent older property next door! 

Courchevel Moriond 

Habits and how owners use their ski chalets, which increasingly are more than just holiday homes, are changing. Architects and developers are aware of this so are incorporating features and aspects into their designs and plans to accommodate for today’s discerning buyers. 

This could be maximising open-plan living space and natural light, increasing outdoor space and terraces, and including things such as a heated boot room, wine cellar, gym and sauna, home cinema, children’s games room, underground parking and smart technology, all complemented by adequate broadband/connectivity that allows for home working. 


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