Property experts share top ski spots for 2018

13.02.18

As Brexit negotiations rumble on – Abode2 crystal ball gazes with top ski property experts and discovers what pine-clad investment prospects are in store for 2018

AUSTRIA

Jessica Delaney - Alpine Marketing

Austrian ski property arrived on the global stage later than its French and Swiss counterparts, and as such, property is on average 28% less expensive than its Alpine neighbours, but the market isn’t expected to stay this way for long, with property prices as well as demand steadily growing.

Ski property in Austria provides a safe investment due to the country’s dual-seasonality with two income-generating high-seasons. Exclusive resorts such as Obergurgl achieve impressively high room rates in the winter season, offering returns of around 5% per annum. As European economic and political conditions continue to shift, the property market in the Alps also presents a range of exciting opportunities for UK buyers.

With Brexit, we’ve witnessed changing trends as savvy UK seek out new ways to invest. Currently, if you are a non-EU citizen - there are restrictions on the type of property you can buy in Austria. As a result, since the UK referendum last year, more and more British buyers are seeking-out properties with a rare ‘second-home status.’

These homes can be bought freely by non-EU citizens, and are also not required to be available for rental. Because of this, such properties are selling fast. UK buyers can still buy without any restrictions. Top investment locations include the Tyrol province with 130km of snowsure slopes.

FRANCE

Harry Granger - Investors in Property

For potential investors in France, the uncertainty of Brexit closely followed by the election of Emmanuel Macron - delivered a double dose of uncertainty. While Republican candidate, François Fillon seemed poised to abolish the Wealth Tax, Macron and his brave new party were deemed a relatively ‘unknown quantity’ and investors put the brakes on their purchase plans.

With the new government now bedded in - UK buyers are now returning to the fold. What they are finding however is that, although it’s generally very difficult to secure planning permission to build property in an ecologically sensitive area like the Alps, the French have continued to allow new developments in certain world-class resorts.

There is a huge programme of investment in Courchevel 1650 (renamed Moriond) with new lifts and up-market properties and a new “front de neige” is planned for Val d’Isère. With the tax incentives to buy new properties (a full 20% VAT refund) still in place, the market for these new properties is picking up momentum again.

SWITZERLAND

Simon Malster - Investors in Property

Switzerland is a not a full EU member, so the UK referendum does not affect the position of British buyers who wish to buy in the Swiss Alps. Although, it’s not clear how Brexit will affect Brits applying for working visas or residence permits, if you want to buy a holiday home it will make no difference.

The Swiss authorities don’t distinguish between a buyer from the E.U. or the rest of the world. You are either Swiss or foreign when it comes to buying a second home. That said, Brexit has still had an impact as the pound has lost almost 10% against the Swiss franc since the referendum.

A property market already perceived as expensive seems to be becoming even more unattainable but with time, the new rate will become ‘the norm’ as buyers realise that it will never return to 1.5CHF to the pound, regardless of how well Brexit negotiations go.

Investors in Property have been selling properties in Switzerland for over 30 years and when we started, the exchange rate was over 3CHF to the pound. The Swiss franc has always been a strong currency and that, combined with very low interest rates (under 1.5%) is one of the reasons investors like to buy here.

You can still have a new 5-bedroom premium quality chalet built to order in the Verbier ski area for just 1 million CHF. Part of the Four Valleys ski area - Verbier is one of the few places in the Alps where you can view both the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc simultaneously.

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