Villars Alps Highflyer in 2018

Overseas property investors considering ski property will be interested to know that Villars recorded the strongest annual price growth in the Alps in the year until June 2018, according to the latest Knight Frank Ski Property Index.

The Swiss resort has invested heavily in its ski infrastructure. The fact that it is home to three international schools has also heavily boosted its appeal.

In general, the Knight Frank index declined by 0.5 per cent in the year to June 2018. However, this is a far more moderate decline than the 1.8 per cent fall noted in 2017. 13 of the 16 resorts saw static or rising prices on an annual scale. In contrast, three years ago just five resorts had registered actual price growth.

However, outside of Villars and Verbier, price growth was weak across the Swiss resorts. This is largely due to the strength of the Swiss Franc coupled with strict property market regulations.

Prices fell by 11.1 per cent in St Moritz. The strong Franc coupled with high pricing and a misbalance between demand and supply have seen prices lower slightly. While demand remains for smaller units, the current inventory is largerly full of older and larger chalets.

The index also revealed that French resort Val d’Isère generated more buyer enquiries than other Alpine resorts during the 2017/2018 season. Val d’Isère also stood out as the best performing French resort, overtaking Chamonix with growth of 3 per cent in comparison to the 2.3 per cent recorded by the latter resort. Standing at 1,850 meters, Val d’Isère is one of the highest resorts in the Alps and therefore benefits from a longer season length. The report also adds that Val d’Isère, Megève and Courchevel continue to build on their brand as luxury resorts.

The report explains: ‘Although most ski purchasers will not be buying a ski home purely for investment purposes, we expect most will continue to want a rental return to cover ownership costs, maintenance and family ski visits. However, regardless of the potential return, currency advantage or good finance options, ultimately the decision to acquire a ski home is an emotive one, borne out of a desire to own an asset that will provide valuable time with friends and relatives whilst undertaking a shared pursuit. In the modern age, a ski home can offer a rare escape.’

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