Selling European ski property in winter is the smart thing to do as over the last year the price of apartments and ski chalets have risen by 5%. Indeed, in countries such as France, Bulgaria, Switzerland and Austria, real estate agencies have reported a strong increase in the number of enquiries from international investors for ski properties in the region.
The reason European ski properties are so popular is that there is a perception that they are resistant to recessions and are not affected by the vicissitudes of the global economy. Now that all countries in Europe have recovered for the most part from the Great Recession that engulfed much of the world in 2008, the prospects for overseas ski properties are brighter than ever.
There is, for example, a renewed interest from the UK. Britons had virtually given up buying overseas properties for a few years following the financial crisis. Now the interest is back, and how! UK nationals can be seen all over Europe buying ski chalets like there’s no tomorrow.
According to HiFX, a foreign exchange firm, France and Spain were the most popular destinations for British buyers, accounting for 75% of the enquiries. Here, we analyze your prospects of selling overseas ski property in Switzerland, Italy, France, Bulgaria and Austria.
Ski properties in Switzerland have been historically popular. Even today, Switzerland gets 6 percent of the enquiries for ski properties across Europe. Swiss ski chalets are very expensive, costing an average of £996,000. That’s why these properties generally attract the top 1% crowd – famous business executives, top professionals, fashion designers, celebrities and professional athletes.
Italy was once the most popular winter destination in Europe, but that has changed recently. Ski properties in Italy are no longer as popular as they used to be in the past, and account for just 2 percent of all overseas enquiries. As Mark Bodega, director of HiFX, says: “The buying costs in Italy are substantial and the bureaucracy is becoming difficult to navigate. Coupled with the fact that promised new flight routes from more UK airports to southern Italy did not go ahead, due to the UK economy slump, this means that Italy has lost some of its appeal.”
France is perhaps the top winter destination in Europe. Some of the ski resorts in France such as Morzine and Les Gets are extremely popular with property buyers, not just because of the excellent climate in these regions, but also because the ski chalets here are much more affordable than in neighboring Switzerland. There is something romantic about the French Alps, which have made them a favourite with international tourists for generations.
Jeremy Rollason of Savills/Alpine Homes says “There is still a lack of confidence in the French market, but reduced prices, coupled with historically low lending rates mean there are some exceptional investment opportunities now. The market has picked up a lot in the past year. Both 2010 and 2011 were relatively quiet, and the market had struggled for a few years before then. Since last November, however, there has been a significant increase in interest and completed acquisitions.”
Austria is much underrated as a winter destination. Austria has a very stable economy and was virtually untouched by the financial crisis. Ski chalets in Austria are warm and cozy and growing in popularity with international buyers.
Bulgarian ski resorts such as Bansko, Pamporovo and Borovets are growing in stature in the international market. That’s because of the relatively low cost of apartments in Bansko and other ski resorts in the country. But prices are appreciating fast – prices of ski chalets in Bansko are already 5 percent higher than they were just 12 months ago.