Investing in the French Alps: up to 60% occupancy rates in the summer

29 August 2019

Twenty years ago, the French Alps used to only attract hikers, cycling enthusiasts, native families and property owners during the summer months. However, many of the popular ski resorts – such as Megève, Les Gets and Châtel – have evolved over the past 10 years and adapted their tourism strategies to appeal to a broader range of visitors by offering a diverse range of summer activities such as festivals, mountain biking competitions, golf and yoga retreats. The French Alps are equally as scenic in the summer months too as stunning alpine lakes and lush green valleys are revealed.

With more and more tourists choosing to spend their summer holidays in the French Alps, investors with a ski chalet or apartment in the French Alps have the opportunity to earn rental yields throughout the year. The French Alps are not just for the ski season!

Summer in the French Alps: tourism information

Summer months in the French Alps attract tourists from all around the globe. Since 2014, tourism has been steadily increasing in this area and it has become a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers seeking an outdoorsy summer holiday. Thanks to tourist offices constantly reinventing themselves and offering a wide range of summer activities, 22.4 million stays were recorded in the summer of 2017 and this figure is expected to grow in the years to come.

This growth has had an impact on the dynamism of the region and the property market as more and more tourists are looking for properties to rent in the summer months. This makes owning a property in the French Alps even more valuable as property here can benefit from capital appreciation as the resorts develop and achieve rental yields in the summer too, not just during winter.

Even if winter makes up 61% of the annual tourist numbers, summer and spring still account for 36% of tourist visits. In terms of rentals, this means that the ski season is inevitably the most sought-after period, but that the demand for holiday homes for short stays remains high in summer.

August is predictably the best month in terms of tourism in the region, even if July has shown itself very popular for holidaymakers. However, we tend to observe a longer season than just these two months. While tourism saw its figures from 2016 to 2017 decrease by 8% in June, no change in July and a small 1% increase in August, 2017 has proven that summer is back in the game. With a longer season in 2017, the number of nights stayed in June is 13% higher than the previous year. July and August also grew steadily in 2017 with an increase of 1% recorded in July and 3% in August.

Renting out properties in the French Alps during summer

Contrary to popular belief, summer months register a higher occupancy rate in hotels and guest houses than winter. This is due to two reasons: firstly, the summer season is shorter so there is less available time for bookings and, secondly, accommodation is generally much cheaper. For example, in the dual-season resort of Les Gets, the average daily rate for accomodation is €254 in February against €124 in May.

This means that investors who intend to rent out their property can expect their apartment or chalet to have a relatively consistent rental yield during the tourist seasons. If a property has good views and easy ski access, then during the winter months it will have increased chances of higher rental yields during this period. Meanwhile in the summer, accommodation that is close to aqua centres, lakes and other key tourist summer attractions will certainly generate more interest in terms of rentals.

The study above shows that 59% of respondents choose the rental market as their preferred accommodation option during their summer holiday in the Alps, be it apartments, studios, houses or chalets. Hotels are only the third option for holidaymakers.

Best destinations for a summer holiday in France: French Alps vs French Riviera

While prices soar in the French Riviera during July and August, the French Alps remain an economical option for holidaymakers in the summer, with average rented accommodation rates 51% lower than the seaside.


Weather in the French Alps during the summer

In 2017, the French Alps made the top five French regions in terms of sunlight, therefore, competing with big summer destinations such as the French Riviera and Corsica. The French Alps receive more than 2,000 hours of sunshine a year and July is the sunniest month. In terms of sunshine, this puts the Alps in the same league as the South of France.

When is the best time to visit the French Alps in the summer?

The least expensive week of the summer is, unsurprisingly, the week of August 25th. For those who prefer holidays in July, the week of July 7th will be the most economical. Those looking for affordable trips will want to avoid the week commencing August 4th, when prices are on average 33% higher.

Unsurprisingly, the seaside, be it the Atlantic or the French Riviera, is a much more costly option for summer holidays.

Real estate prices in the French Alps

This will also depend on the location and the features of your property, but keep in mind that certain dual-season resorts – such as Megève, Les Gets and Châtel – have more success during the summer than others such as Val d’Isère. With a 60% average occupation rate in Megève, the charming village is reaffirming its position as a true dual-season resort.

What is the return on investment on a property in the French Alps?

With the French Alps registering an average occupancy rate of up to 75% during winter and  estimated annual rental yields of 3% to 4% net based on the property purchase price in all the resorts stated on the left. With tourism on the rise in summer, the region is a good place to rent out your property.


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