Alpine Property Market - Adapting to change

04 October 2016

  • Established Alpine locations need to adapt to attract ‘Generation Y’
  • St Moritz, Val d’Isere and Verbier top the Savills Alpine Resorts Price League
  •  Austria resorts still offer value for money
  •  Weak sterling post EU-referendum means Swiss Alpine property is 8.6% more expensive to buy and Austrian Alpine property 7.8%

With the baby boomer demographic at the upper end of the skiing age, more needs to be done to attract the millennial generation says Savills World Research and Alpine Homes in the Alpine Property Market Report launched today.

Generation Y, shaped by technology but often time poor and burdened by student debt, need a ski experience relevant to them and resorts are having to realign their offering. Many resorts now offer free wifi on the slopes and certain resorts are moving away from the traditional rustic look of hotels and lodgings, preferred by the boomer generation, towards a more contemporary flavour.  Winter X-Games type parks and music festivals, such as Snowbombing in Mayrhofen, are becoming a permanent fixture at many resorts. Real estate investors would do well to seek out property in the established, accessible resorts with a diverse non-ski offer.

Paul Tostevin, associate director, Savills World Research, said, “Skier numbers in the west are at a high plateau, or, in some markets, in decline. The most resilient Alpine resorts will be those that are able to diversify their demand base. This means attracting new, younger visitors – for a variety of activities – and tapping into growing Asian ski markets.

“The prime resorts in the Alps have a key advantage, an established reputation as a destination for the world’s wealthy. Few global rivals have the cachet of the premier Swiss, French and Austrian destinations. We expect more demand from the newly rich from emerging markets as they seek out the ‘right’ places to be seen.”

With prices broadly static in resorts across the region, international buyers and sellers have found any profit or losses dictated by currency movements. In the wake of the UK’s EU-Referendum and the weakening of sterling, Swiss Alpine property has become 8.6% more costly to sterling buyers, while French and Austrian Alpine homes have become 7.6% more expensive. Dollar dominated buyers are in a marginally stronger position than in May of this year.

St Moritz remains the most expensive resort in Switzerland, and indeed the Alps, at €21,200psm (CHF23,000psm). Verbier follows at €16,800psm (CHF18,000psm) however, in the medium term, we expect to see upward pressure on prices due to the Lex Weber law putting a cap on the stock available to buy.  The final existing planning permissions are being built out and this will be the last season that off-plan apartments will be available for overseas buyers. 

In future, some smaller resorts may see increased demand as overseas buyers, with restricted budgets, are pushed further a field. Verbier’s neighbour, La Tzoumaz offers good accessibility to the Four Valleys and more affordable property at around €4,600psm (CHF5,000psm). Nendaz too may attract overseas interest, an international school opens here soon and it has recently added the Four Valleys Hotel and Spa to its village centre.

Rising later on the international stage, Austria still offers value for money compared to its Swiss and French counterparts. Austrian resorts are generally at lower altitude with shorter ski seasons and readily market themselves as a year round destination in turn attracting a diverse visitor base.

Kitzbuhel tops the Alpine Resorts Price League when it comes to Austrian resorts yet is half the price of its Swiss counterparts. The popular resorts of Solden, Mayrhofen and Zell am See are also some of the most affordable with prices around €6,000 psm.

Demand for prime French Alpine property has traditionally been driven by the British. British buyers benefitted from a weak euro in 2015 and were particularly active in the market. This currency advantage has since been eroded and the impact on sterling buyer volumes remain to be seen. Euro-dominated buyers, notably the Dutch and Belgians, continue to rise in importance.

Val d’Isere is the most expensive French resort at €18,000psm (although Courchevel 1850 taken on its own is pricier still) whilst Tignes, La Plagne and Flaine come in at under €7,000psm.

Jeremy Rollason, managing director, Savills Alpine Homes, said, “Luckily for developers, UK buyers do not dominate the Alpine property market in the same way that they might have done a decade ago. We are seeing a greater diversity of buyer nationalities across the Alps, with Belgians, Dutch and Chinese particularly active, in addition to domestic buyers. UK buyers however could have been hit harder by currency swings and are slowly returning to the market post-Brexit.”

Please click here for a copy of the latest report.

For more information contact Savills Alpine Homes on + 44(0) 20 7016 3740 or Savills World Research on tel: +44 (0)20 7016 3883 or visit


General Enquiries

Head Office London


Key Contacts

Jeremy Rollason

Jeremy Rollason

Head of Savills Ski
Savills Ski

Head Office London

+44 (0) 20 7016 3753


Paul Tostevin

Paul Tostevin

Associate Director
World Research

Head Office London

+44 (0) 20 7016 3883