Les Gets ski property market focus
Camille Letuve, a partner at Athena Advisers, and Charles-Antoine Sialelli, Director of Alpine operations at Athena Advisers, share our most exciting properties for sale in Les Gets, explain what’s new in this popular Portes du Soleil resort and answer your questions.
An unusual year for us all, 2020 saw the tail end of the 2019/20 ski season cut short with resorts in the French Alps closing in March. Whilst this was bad news for skiers, there was a silver lining for property developers and those looking to buy a new-build ski property in the French Alps.
As the resorts were closed earlier, developers had the opportunity to begin construction works earlier than usual with some developers resuming construction works from the end of March. Typically, building works are paused during the winter and resumed in May so that they do not interfere with the busy ski season. This extra construction time has meant that all of our new-build projects are on track and some of them are even a little ahead of schedule.
Another positive note is that summer 2020 saw impressive occupancy rates in the French Alps. In Les Gets and Châtel, another charming dual-season resort in Les Portes du Soleil, occupancy rates as high as 90% were recorded between July and August.
Les Gets has got off to a strong start in 2021 with occupancy rates of around 50% from the second week of February to mid-March and there has been a real surge in cross-country skiing. Restaurants have been adapting too by offering take out and delivery services so visitors can dine safely in the comfort of their ski chalet.
Another silver lining brought about by the pandemic is that it has highlighted just how effective working from home can be and it is expected that many businesses will continue to promote homeworking or adopt a hybrid approach in the near future. This means that it is now possible for many people to work from anywhere in the world – be it a villa in the South of France or a ski chalet in the French Alps. Plus, many of the resorts here, including Les Gets, are in the process of installing fibre-optic cables for even faster internet.
Over the past 12 months, there has been a discrepancy between client and developer expectations.
“Some clients in the French Alps expected that property prices would go down as a result of the pandemic. This was absolutely not the case. We have seen a lot of demand for properties in the French Alps from France and European markets. Indeed, we haven’t been this busy with enquiries since 2016,” Camille explains.
The advantages of new-build ski properties
Most of our properties for sale in Les Gets are new build and investing in a brand-new property in the French Alps has a unique set of advantages.
- Reduced notary fees: when buying a new-build property anywhere in France, you will benefit from reduced notary fees of 2-2.5% depending on the value of the property. On the other hand, existing properties have significantly higher notary fees of 7-8%.
- If you decide to rent out a new-build property in Les Gets when you are not using it, you have the opportunity to reclaim the 20% VAT from the property purchase price. Our Athena Client Relations team can help you with this process by dealing with the paperwork and registration on your behalf, allowing you to access this amazing incentive with ease.
- Most new-build properties come with the latest insulation and heating technologies which means that they are more efficient, allowing you to save considerably on your heating bills.
- All new-build properties for sale in France come with a 10-year construction guarantee. This means that if anything happens to the roof or the structure, the construction company will take care of it. There is an additional guarantee which covers any ‘snagging’ issues during the first year after a property has been delivered and all new equipment, like kitchen appliances, comes with a two-year guarantee as standard.
- Whilst French banks are quite conservative about lending to UK clients, we have connections to a number of banks who are willing to do so and there are some great rates available with LTV of up to 70%.
- New-build properties for sale in the French Alps are increasingly rare as space for new buildings are limited and local authorities are becoming stricter on building permit applications to control the resort density.
Les Gets property market overview
Les Gets is part of the vast Portes du Soleil ski domain, which is one of the largest interconnected ski areas in the world with 650km of pistes and 12 resorts between France and Switzerland. This resort offers a diverse array of slopes ranging from tree-lined family runs to more technical slopes for seasoned skiers – there is something for everyone in this domain. The skiing infrastructure is excellent with just over 200 ski lifts and almost 700 snow cannons in place. Les Gets also has a fantastic summer season with plenty of activities.
“I often head to Les Gets during the summer for meetings and the resort is still very active, it does not have that sleepy feeling that some of the other ski resorts have during warmer months. There are loads of great activities within the resort, like mountain biking and hiking, and there are plenty of other fantastic summer destinations close by. You have Geneva lake which is just over an hour away by car and you can even drive to Italy for lunch!” comments Charles-Antoine.
Property prices in the French Alps vary from around €5,000 to €30,000 per sqm and properties for sale in Les Gets are very competitive with the average new-build property here priced between €10,000 and €13,000 per sqm. There is room for capital appreciation too.
As many choose to go skiing with their families, there is a strong demand for spacious ski Les Gets apartments as many of the developments here were built back in the 70s and 80s and comprise mainly studio to two-bedroom apartments, reflecting client demand during these eras. Plus, in these older properties, a one-bedroom apartment is usually quite small with an interior area of around 20 sqm.
In response to this shift in demand, developers have created apartments with more bedrooms and increased the size of smaller units. Nowadays, the average size of a new-build one-bedroom apartment has increased to 30-40 sqm.
As we specialise in off-plan properties, it is often possible to customise the layout of your Les Gets property, be it a chalet or an apartment. This can include adding additional bedrooms or even removing bedrooms in order to maximise the living space or add extra facilities like a sauna or spa.
What’s new in Les Gets?
- A new blue run back to the Perrières area, at the edge of the village, has been created.
- As skinning and ski touring have become more popular this year, Les Gets have created a new ski touring area.
- As well as traditional bikes during the summer, Les Gets now has electric ski bikes which are good fun too.
- Le Pas de l’Aigle is a new glass footbridge set at 2,190m.
Whilst the resort has improved its infrastructure, great care has been taken to preserve the authenticity of the resort. Les Gets is very family-friendly and walking around you will notice that the buildings are not too high and the resort is quite compact with a defined centre, making it very easy to explore on foot.
Last summer, Les Gets was very busy in terms of tourism and property purchases. For many, the pandemic has accelerated the decision-making process and international clients have become particularly interested in the French Alps property so that they have a home away from home should another lockdown occur.
Les Gets property – your questions answered
Is there a minimum number of weeks you need to rent out your property a year in order to qualify for the VAT rebate programme?
The way that it is written in the French text is that the property must be available for rental the majority of the time. Legally this means half the of the year plus one day. There is no minimum number of weeks that the property must be occupied by guests. As long as the property is available to rent via a professional agent providing three hotel-like services, you will qualify. Due to the way that the programme is written, there is no distinction between the seasons, making this a very flexible programme.
How many years must I offer my ski property for rent in order to be eligible for the VAT rebate programme?
You will need to make your ski property available for rentals for a period of 20 years in order to be eligible for this programme. However, one of the great things about this programme is that the VAT will be refunded in full at the start of the 20-year term as opposed to being transferred to you in smaller sums over the duration of the 20 years. If you decide partway through the programme that you no longer wish to rent out your property, you will need to repay the 20% VAT on a pro-rata basis. Read our Guide to renting out your ski property in the French Alps for more information.
Would you recommend the SARL as the best vehicle with which to buy a property in Les Gets?
A SARL de famille is a great way to purchase a property in France if you want to reduce inheritance tax and wealth tax which applies to any net assets over €1.3m such as property in France. It is especially advantageous for those who want to purchase properties in excess of €3m.
How does property for sale in Châtel compare with property in Les Gets and Morzine?
Châtel is a bit less developed than Les Gets but when clients arrive in Châtel, they are often surprised by how large the resort is! Whilst it is smaller than Les Gets, you have around 30 restaurants and two main streets. Prices in Morzine and Les Gets are quite similar and lower prices per sqm can be found in Châtel. We’ve been active in Châtel for around seven years and back when we first started prices were around €5,000 per sqm. Today, property prices in Châtel range from €6,000 or €8,000 per sqm up to €10,000 per sqm. Prices have risen significantly thanks to continued development within the resort.
How much do furniture packages cost?
As a guide, to furnish a property nicely, you should expect to pay around €400-600 per sqm. In some very luxurious properties, you can expect to pay around €1,000 per sqm. When we say per sqm, please note that this the habitable surface area of your property. As you may have noticed, areas under 1.8m in French floor plans, typically spaces under the eaves, are excluded from the total habitable area.
What is Les Gets like for capital appreciation?
We have been selling Alpine property in Les Gets for around 10 years, and prices have definitely increased. Around five years ago, a property in the centre would have cost around €8,000 per sqm and last year we sold a project on the snow front which has apartments priced at €14,000 per sqm. Plus, as the mayor is always investing in the resort’s summer and winter offering, we can expect property prices to continue to rise.
Are there still plans to construct a ski lift between the Chavannes and Mont Chéry ski areas?
This is something that the mayor is very keen to do. However, it seems like this plan has been put on hold for now as it is a huge project and the resort would have received less tourist tax over the past year due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, the project is still in the pipeline and we wouldn’t be surprised if the project begins within the next two or three years.