Vacation and Luxury Properties in the French Alps Rally in 2016
If you’re interested in a ski chalet or mountain home in France, now may be the moment to jump in the market. After a stagnant 2015, the market has bounced back with price growth of 1.8% since January. Also in the numbers: how many m2 of Alpine luxury property can a million Euros get you?
With the focus primarily on Paris and other major French cities, it’s important not to forget that a vibrant property market exists as you head up into the mysterious, snowy mountains of Alpine France. The area, like its sister peaks in Switzerland, is identified with its huge ski industry and wealthy residents living in beautiful chalets and luxurious slope-side properties.
A recent report from Frank Knight estate agents gives us an idea of how the market performed during the first six months of 2016. While the Swiss region saw the strongest growth, the French communes also fared well. The popular ski destination of Val-d’Isère saw growth of 5.9%, while Chamonix, the commune closest to Mont Blanc, enjoyed a 5% rise in property prices. Courchevel and Meribel saw 3% and 2.8% growth respectively.
Recovery in the French mountains since the international financial difficulties of 2008 has been slow. The immediate aftermath from 2009 to 2012 saw little or no growth at all; end of 2012 to now has been much better. A big part of this improvement has been the return of and increase in foreign investors. According to the ski industry news site skieur.com, in 2012 foreign buyers represented 15.63% of acquisitions; last year, they made up 21.8% of the market. Brits still make up the largest group of buyers, representing almost 90% of foreign purchases in the region.
What can a million Euros get you?
A table on LeFigaro.fr shows how large a property you can get in each notable Alpine commune:
- Courchevel: 40m2
- Val-d’Isère: 56m2
- Meribel: 65m2
- Megeve: 74m2
- Chamonix: 95m2
- Saint-Gervais: 142m2
In neighboring Switzerland:
- Gstaad: 32m2
- Saint Moritz: 44m2
- Verbier: 49m2
- Crans Montana: 73m2
- Villars: 84m2
The number one ski destination in Europe (and until recently the world), France has dedicated billions in infrastructure investment to the region. Cable cars, aquatics centres and luxury hotels help keep the economy there vibrant.
The French government recently pledged additional funds to Courchevel (€118 million) and Chamonix (€477 million), that will go towards further infrastructure enhancements. Investment into the region has been the driver of the market, with most real estate purchases being new-builds rather than existing chalets.
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