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Investments with Altitude

07.10.19

With record snowfall expected this year across the Alps, many will be making the most of it and heading off for their annual fix of adrenaline and exercise. For skiers ‘there is no such thing as too much snow. For those that want to enjoy the mountains all year round, buying an alpine property can be a great lifestyle and financial investment. And resorts are cottoning on to the demand by investing heavily on additional facilities to attract visitors in the summer months.

But with so much on offer where do you start looking? The choice is almost too great. Abode2 asked some industry experts on their top tips on how to select a ski resort and property that you can use in winter for skiing as well as in the summer months.

Location 

Mark Lightfoot of the ski property portal SnowOnly.com says: “Location, location, location is key – where is convenient for you as a buyer? You will need to factor in travel costs and be sure you will not be spending so much time and money travelling to and from your ski home that it becomes a barrier to using it. Resorts that have short transfer times are appealing to people looking for a property for short breaks and also from a resale perspective.

“It’s then vital to evaluate a number of factors about the locations on your shortlist, such as local and visitor demographics, property price variations in the area, snowfall, altitude and the local economy. Tourist boards or local agents can assist you with answer to these essential questions.”

Infrastructure Investments 

Tim Swannie of luxury buyers’ agent Home Hunts suggests looking at resorts where there has been infrastructure investment, as this is often followed by capital uplift in property prices.

“Megève in the French Alps is undergoing numerous improvements to its skiing domain, fuelling the steady price increase we are currently observing. Over €85m was invested in new gondolas and snow cannons to help lengthen the season, and we’re seeing that the boosted potential rental return is starting to attract more investors.”

“Also emerging is the town of Chamonix, whose 2.5 million visitors per year (of which about half come during the summer) guarantee a strong potential rental return. Like Megève, the town is currently undergoing major modernisation works and has already committed to a €477 million plan over the next 40-years. This already had a clear impact on the market: we saw prices going up by 2.3 percent in the 12 months leading to June 2018.”

Year-Round Appeal 

Marco Bonini, Head of International Sales at Allea Group recommends looking at resorts with year-round appeal and other activities, aside from skiing. “Whilst your ski property maybe easy to rent out in the ski season, properties that have access to other facilities such as a pool, spa and proximity to restaurants will appeal to renters and other buyers when you come to sell. In some countries like Austria, the summer tourism numbers are higher than in the winter months, with visitors attracted by the mountain scenery and outdoor activities such as hiking and biking.”

Altitude 

Mark Lightfoot of SnowOnly.com says: ”Looking at snowfall and altitude is essential too.There is a premium for buying and renting in higher resorts although demand is naturally stronger in a snow sure location. High altitude resorts such as Courchevel, Val d’Isere and Verbier will always attract buyers due to the confidence that there will be good snow fall year after year. However, there is opportunity in slightly lower resorts where you can buy more affordable property at the same time as having easy access to the high altitude resorts.”

New Build Versus Resales? 

New-build or off-plan property normally comes with a higher price tag per square metre but what are the benefits? Branson Atterbury of alpine property agents Kristall Spaces explains: “New developments present an opportunity to buy into the project early increasing your chances of securing one of the best units at the lowest price and improving capital appreciation.  Importantly, smart new build projects are carefully chosen by a developer for their location and access to ski lifts /pistes and restaurants and can command a rental premium over resale properties.

“Buying off-plan offers attractive payment schemes which don’t exist with resale properties: you pay for your apartment in stages.  The trustee will notify you in good time when each stage payment is due so you have time to prepare the transfer of funds – no need to transfer all at once.  This can be particularly advantageous when using a currency service.

“All our new properties built in Austria use state-of-the-art, energy efficient methods and materials that you will simply not find in resale buildings.  Greener energy solutions, more efficient heating systems and some of the highest recycling standards in Europe not only reduce your carbon footprint but lower bills.”

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