Ski property: How to choose a second home in the Alps?11th December 2013
British interest in the ski property market is showing signs of revival. If you have some extra cash to splash, a ski property could be a good investment, but you must do your research first. The most important factors to consider are snow reliability, size of ski area, year-round appeal and rental value.
1. Snow-sure status
If scientists are correct, Austria might see the most spectacular climate change, its snowline will rise a startling 300 metres by 2050. Sooner than that, the French Snow Research Centre says a 1.8C rise in temperature will shorten France's snow cover above 1,500 metres from 170 days to 135. Switzerland's Association of Winter Sports Resorts says its annual season has been cut by 12 days, just since 1995. Altitude should definitely be a factor when deciding on a ski property. The best bet is to look for ski properties in resorts above 1,500 metres or with a ski area above 2,000 metres.
2. Size of ski area
The bigger the ski area, the better. A wider terrain will ensure there's something for everyone and your property will hold more appeal for all levels of skier and snowboarder, from families to experts. Generally ski resorts in the huge lift-linked areas like the Portes du Soleil or the Three Valleys tend to be very pricey, so if you have a tight budget, consider plumping for a mid-size resort with access to around 150 kilometres of slopes.
3. Year-round appeal
To get the most out of a ski property, consider resorts that live and breathe outside the winter season. Ski properties experts such as Athena Advisors are witnessing an increase in demand for property in year-round ski resorts such as Morzine, Les Gets, and Chamonix. There is so much to do in the Alps in summer now, people are coming out for hiking, biking, canoeing, whitewater rafting, climbing, fishing and golfing.
4. Type of ski property
Budget apartments and luxury chalets - the opposite ends of the scale - are attracting most interest at present. In resort apartment developments and ski-in/ski-out chalets are the best bet for rental properties and most likely to get picked up by tour operators who will rent it for a whole season. Buyers are aware that outside a resort they will get much better value for money. The location (in terms of proximity to ski areas) and altitude are the determining factors in cost of land per square metre.
5. Rental income
You must first get your ski property into the public domain. If you're looking to make a good rental income, you should be prepared to put in the leg work by adding property details and pictures to rental websites. How much you can rent it out for totally depends on your ski property size and location. If you're buying a two-bed apartment in a popular resort like Morzine or Avoriaz, you can expect a higher amount a week in high season. There are also running costs to consider which will make a dent in your profit. Bear in mind though that you will also need to pay all your running costs, repair costs and taxes so if you plan to use your property a few weeks a year.
By the way, you can have a look at our handpicked ski properties made specially for you !