A historic town nestled between the mountain peaks of Haute-Savoie and the north-western bank of Europe’s purest natural lake, Annecy is an idyllic setting. With rich culture, unspoilt landscapes offering activities year-round, continued development and a burgeoning property market, it has transitioned from holiday hotspot to become a residential refuge.

Leading French property developer MGM French Properties has launched Villa Parsini, a collection of 18, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. Located within the heart of Annecy town’s Golden Triangle, a peaceful pedestrianised centre with cobbled streets and ‘Little Venice’ canal network, the apartments offer a haven for those who desire the conveniences of central town living and active offerings of the natural surroundings.

The high-quality homes are finished to an impeccable standard and feature spacious open-plan living areas with stone floors and underfloor heating throughout. Bedrooms feature built-in sliding wardrobes and oak parquet flooring, while bathrooms are fully fitted to include vanity units with basin and mirror finished with floor-to-ceiling tiling, vanit.  To take in the stunning views of the surrounding town and mountains, each apartment includes spacious balconies, ideal for alfresco entertaining in the warmer months.

Nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the French Alps, describing its location between lake and mountains, the town of Annecy is formed of a collection of 13 communes. The city has an average property price of €3,550 per sqm, slightly higher than the national average of €3,197 per sqm. However, prices vary from one area in Annecy to another.

Real estate is most expensive on the east bank of Annecy lake, where the villages are smaller, roads are quieter, and homes offer charming architecture, including typical Alpine chalets and wood-detached houses. Whereas the west bank consists mostly of apartments, a majority of which are rentals. Annecy offers great rental opportunities as 54% of the inhabitants are tenants. Homes closest to the lake are more expensive, the most sought-after areas can even reach €5,000 per sqm.

Annecy is proving to be a popular base for foreign families thanks to its proximity to the border of Switzerland and the expatriate haven of Geneva. Additionally, it is an excellent investment for a second home, with promising rental yields especially during the winter season.  In 2017, the Rhone-Alps was the most popular region for Brits purchasing property in France, which accounted for 15.4% of all sales. A vast majority of UK buyers chose the Haute-Savoie area for investment purposes in the buy-to-let ski market. However, there is a significant community of British expats in the region who purchased permanent homes too.

Many expats who live in Annecy have a job in Geneva, choosing to settle their homes across the border in Geneva’s neighbouring departments where the cost of living is much cheaper. Yet similarly to Geneva, Annecy offers proximity to top-class ski resorts and an abundance of natural landscapes to enjoy. Living so close to Geneva also means there is an international airport at hand with connecting flights to Paris, the UK and many other European and international routes.

Settled UK residents in Annecy include retired couples and families who enjoy a sociable and active lifestyle. Locals enjoy the outdoors year-round thanks to the stunning surroundings and the diversity of lakeside and alpine activities. Lake Annecy is famous for water sports in the summer including sailing, rowing, wakeboarding and water-skiing. On its shore is a green and largely undeveloped 25-mile stretch which teems with joggers and cyclists; it's also a favourite place to take a leisurely stroll with the family or dog. Annecy is home to world-class paragliding and rock-climbing spots in the surrounding mountainside, which also boasts a range of hiking and mountain bike trails.

During the winter, activity is focused on snow sports thanks to multiple ski resorts being within easy reach of Annecy, many just a short 30km drive away. La Clusaz and Le Grand-Bornand are a 20-minute drive with Chamonix and Les Gets both just over an hour away. Since Annecy’s bid for the Winter Olympics, the town has seen an influx of investment in infrastructure and improving ski resort access, proving now is the perfect moment to invest.

Aside from an abundance of activities and sports, Annecy also offers its residents a wealth of culture and history. In recognition of this, the town has been awarded the label “Art et d’Histoire” boasting a plethora of historic buildings including the Palais de l’Isle or “Old Prison”, which is one of the most photographed landmarks in France and sits on its island between a canal in the town centre.

 Richard Deans, Sales Manager at MGM French Properties, comments: “Just a few minutes’ walk from the lake as well as the shops and restaurants of the town, the apartments are ideal for those looking to enjoy a blend of convenient town living and a healthy, outdoor lifestyle.

 “Annecy is a great base for expats, with a well-established and social community of Brits living there. Retirees can enjoy many leisurely activities including golf at Talloires course on the east bank. While families benefit from a range of activities year-round and a selection of bi-lingual schools such as the Ecole Bilingue de Haute-Savoie.”

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