Strong currency and low interest rates make Switzerland top ski investment spot


Securing a savvy ski property investment in the Alps takes tenacity and expert advice. Stephen Penn finds out more from Investors in Property Director, Simon Malster

When looking for an authentic ski experience, the Alps are hard to match. That intoxicating mix of altitude, charm and luxury - particularly in Switzerland - is alluring for those looking to take to the slopes with gusto.

Switzerland has always been one of the safest destinations for investment. Buyers are attracted by the strong currency and low interest rates. It’s because of this that Simon Malster, director of Investors in Property, has a place in his heart for the traditional Swiss resorts such as Saas Fee and Grimentz in the Canton Valais.

“Saas Fee offers skiing on the glaciers and is absolutely snow-sure, but unlike many high-altitude resorts, it’s also charming in summer. Property prices are attractive too - around 10,000 CHF per square metre. This means you could buy a stunning chalet which has been completely renovated by a local architect for just over 2 million CHF.

Resorts in this area have also had a boost thanks to Powdair, which is now running flights directly to Sion from London City and a number of other UK and European airports, with just a 20-minute transfer time to Nendaz and Veysonnaz. In light of this surge, Simon advises buyers to be smart on where they put their money down.

“One of the most famous resorts in the Valais is Verbier,” adds Malster. “This has always been a popular ski destination and prices here are consequently high. However, for a fraction of the cost of an apartment in Verbier, you can buy a chalet in one of the connecting resorts such as Nendaz or Veysonnaz which link in to the same 400km of slopes.”

Other factors affecting the property market include the increase in control over new build developments. The Weber Law, which passed in 2012, prohibits the future construction of new second status homes in ski resorts. There are still building permits available (those granted before the law came into effect), but not surprisingly they are being rapidly snapped up before they expire.

Malster adds: "There’s a bit of a buzz around Les Collons, at the far end of the 4 Valleys, thanks to both new flights to Sion and the fact it’s one of the last places in the Swiss Alps where you can have a new chalet built to order. Here you can find some of the best value properties in the mountains, as developers prefer to build for under-par profit rather than lose the building permits. A budget of approximately £775,000 will buy a high quality 5-bedroom chalet with a stunning view. As investments go – it’s a fabulous opportunity.”

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