Sales volumes in the ski regions of Haute-Savoie and Savoie have held up better than the rest of France, whilst a weaker euro has opened up investment opportunities for UK buyers. Prime prices across resorts are now recovering to pre crisis levels but are still notably below neighbouring Switzerland.
Courchevel 1850 remains one of the most desirable ski resorts in Europe with outstanding facilities and infrastructure. Ultra prime prices here are the highest in the region (Figure 8). Val d’Isere, popular with the UK and international market, has seen new premium restaurants and boutiques open. There is rental potential, and yields for top end chalets are circa 3.5% gross.
Chamonix continues to see recovery, and prices are now at or around the pre crisis peak of +/- €10,000 psm for prime chalets and apartments. This large, accessible resort is popular with British buyers, who have been assisted in 2015 by the comparative strength of sterling against the euro.
The Austrian Alpine resort market remained strong over the downturn, offering excellent value for money compared to the more established French and Swiss resorts. With continued investment in resort infrastructure and growing foreign skier participation levels there is still more headroom for upward price movement.
Many Austrian resorts are dual season. Zell am See property prices continue to rise due to high demand and low supply, but still represent value for money. Prices range from €5,000- €7,000 psm. A planned lift linking Zell am See to neighbouring Saalbach will only serve to increase its appeal.
Kitzbuhel stands apart with its designer boutiques and premium hotels. Home to the famous Hahnenkamm downhill race and popular with celebrities, property prices are the highest of any Austrian resort, ranging from €10,000- €15,000 psm.
Ultra-prime ski resorts
A home in a top-tier Alpine resort is a key component of global property portfolios for the world’s wealthiest individuals. A property in Courchevel 1850, Gstaad or St Moritz complements a city residence in London, Paris or Moscow.
Ultra prime resorts offer much more than just skiing. Quality dining (Courchevel offers seven Michelin starred restaurants alone) and luxury shopping are the norm. St Moritz offers polo, Verbier quality night-life, and Gstaad highly regarded international schools. The concentration of High Net Worth Individuals also make these important places in which to build and strengthen professional networks and undertake business among peers.
Courchevel tops our ultra prime price league, with typical prices of €31,340 psm. The French ultra prime resort is followed by the premier Swiss destinations: Gstaad, St Moritz, Zermatt and Verbier, at between €26,450 and €31,220 psm. In spite of limited price growth, a strong Swiss franc has pushed these markets up the rankings in currency terms.
For comparative purposes we have included two premier North American resorts, Vail and Whistler. Only Colorado’s Vail is on par with the top European competition at €25,200 psm. Demand from America’s super rich and limited supply keeps prices at a premium. Ultra-prime prices in Whistler, the largest resort in North America, stand at €16,860 psm.