Alpine property is heating up but cool it until the summer

28 March 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
Growing numbers of people are looking for a 'place in the snow', leading to a significant increase in the number of properties being sold in the Alpine regions, a report from HiFX has revealed.

HiFX's Monthly Global Property Hotspots Report has found that the ski chalet market takes off in the period of January to March, as people look for second homes on the slopes in such destinations as France, Austria, Canada and Italy, with French property in the Alps being the most popular.

However, HiFX recommends that those looking to snap up a bargain should wait until the summer months to buy, when demand is not at its highest, prices drop and there is a wider choice of properties.

The splurge in the first three months of the year has caused a subsequent drop in the interest shown towards buying summer homes in such places as Cyprus and Spain. March has seen France surpass Spain as the most popular place for buying a second home, accounting for 26 per cent of enquiries to HiFX, "due to its close proximity and cheap airlines", according to Mark Bodega, Director at foreign exchange specialists HiFX.

Interest in Austria's skiing territory has risen by almost a third, while Canada's year-round mountain resorts are also attracting Brits in huge numbers, with six per cent of buyers looking for a property in the Rockies.

"It is important for buyers to check out homes in the summer months too and see what was covered up by the snow" Mr Bodega continued. "Prices are also on average 5-10% cheaper in the summer compared to January to March".

Prices in the French Alps have increased by 90 per cent over the last four years, says Frederic Chamouret, Senior Advisor at French property experts VEF, as a result of a high demand compared to the restricted number of properties available due to building limitations.

For those who see their property abroad as an investment, Antoine Le Corre from Venturus French Property recommends that they consider "snow reliability", because many resorts, particularly those at a lower altitude, have encountered snow shortages, which can result in shorter seasons and lower rental revenues.

When looking for a skiing property, HiFX recommends checking the altitude, seeing whether or not the resort has a good artificial snow making system, considering currency risks, enquiring how many weeks the resort is open for, and getting an average occupation rate for the resort over the past few years.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd