With over 250 ski resorts across the French Alps, when looking for a ski apartment for sale in France, it is crucial to consider your lifestyle needs. Are you looking for a family-sized apartment for long breaks over the winter or perhaps a ski pad that’s perfect for short breaks in the mountains, in both summer and winter? The mountains are a passion for us, and using our 17 years of experience and local property experts, we have helped thousands of clients find their perfect ski apartment in France. Explore our carefully curated collection of the best ski apartments for sale now.
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Ski apartments for sale in France come in all shapes and sizes. From small studios and one-bed residences, perfect for short ski breaks, to large family-sized ski apartments, there is something to suit almost every need, budget and taste.
There has been an increasing demand over the past few years for duplex and triplex ski apartments within chalet-style buildings. Generally, ski apartments have a lower price per square metre than ski chalets, depending on their location, so owning a multiple-level ski apartment gives the feeling of a standalone ski-chalet, but at the price of an apartment.
The progression of building techniques and materials means that newer ski apartments often have open-plan layouts to maximise space and light. However, traditional French interior features often remain, such as ‘cabines’, which are typically small bunk-sized rooms. Whilst cabines are not typically considered as official bedrooms, these clever spaces are perfect for accommodating children.
Having holidayed there for years, many people who are starting their journey towards buying a ski apartment know exactly which ski resort they want to own an apartment. However, aspects like budget can quickly make choosing a resort more difficult. One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of buying a ski property is the terrain as a ski property is often purchased with children in mind, yet the ski terrain of many resorts can be far too challenging for new skiers.
Or sometimes the choice can be determined by the way in which the apartment will be used. If a ski apartment is wanted for last-minute breaks and short trips, you would want to choose a resort that is close to Geneva airport, such as Châtel or Les Gets that are part of the huge Portes du Soleil ski network and are just over an hour from Geneva. Resorts that are further from Geneva, such as Val d’Isère (3 hrs), Méribel (2 hrs 20 mins) or Courchevel (2hrs 20 mins) aren’t as well placed for short-notice trips, but their distance from main cities often means they’re less frequented by French day-trippers.
The continued development of summer facilities and activities also means that owning a ski apartment in some resorts provides a true year-round destination for embracing the mountain lifestyle. Resorts like Chamonix, Les Gets and Val d’Isère are amongst the best for summer activities and events.
When buying a ski apartment in France, notary fees vary depending on the value of the chalet and whether your apartment is a new build or a resale. However, notary fees are the same regardless of your chosen notaire and new-build ski apartments come with a fee of between 2-2.5% whilst existing apartments incur a higher fee of 7-8%.
When deciding whether to buy a new-build ski apartment or a resale, it is important that you take these figures into account. An older existing apartment can sometimes be more affordable in terms of the purchase price, but the notary fees will be higher and the apartment may need significant renovations in order to effectively compete on the rental market. New-build ski apartments can be more expensive in terms of purchase prices, but the purchase costs are considerably lower. The apartment will also be brand new and therefore if it is furnished and marketed well, will often do better on the rental market than it’s older equivalent.
Renting out your ski apartment in France is a great way to generate income and, providing that certain conditions are met, it can save you €1,000s in VAT too.
If you do decide to rent out your apartment, you must take some time to consider the layout and interior design. For example, additional sleeping spaces in the form of a bunk bedroom or a coin montagne can encourage family rentals and choosing two single beds which may be merged into a double bed will offer more flexibility for guests. When decorating your property, it is key that you balance aesthetics and practicality. Though carpet may offer extra comfort in the bedrooms, wooden flooring in the entrance halls is a more practical choice in the long run as carpet can become quickly compromised by ski boots! For more tips on how to prepare your ski apartment for rentals, take a look at our in-depth guide on renting out ski apartments in France.
Whilst the winter months are the most popular time to visit the French Alps and therefore the best months for generating rental yields, the importance of summer tourism should not be overlooked. Many of the ski resorts offer fantastic activities for holidaymakers in the summer too such as outdoor sports like hiking and mountain biking as well as sporting events such as the MTB World Cup which is held in Les Gets. This means that it is possible to generate rental yields year-round. Despite the effects of COVID-19 on the tourism industry, many ski resorts in the French Alps had a very busy summer in 2020 with Les Carroz reporting occupancy rates as high as 70%.
One of the advantages of buying a ski apartment in France is that you will be able to access French mortgages which offer significantly more competitive rates than their UK counterparts. Indeed, it is possible to currently secure interest rates as low as 1.5% fixed for 20 years with 70% LTV. Plus, there is often the option to benefit from a higher LTV by placing side collateral. Our sister company French Private Finance specialises in French mortgages and can help you find the best deal for your property whilst guiding you through the mortgage application process.
To learn more about French mortgages, do take a look at French Private Finance’s in-depth mortgage guide.
If you decide to rent out a new-build ski apartment in France you will have the opportunity to reclaim the 20% VAT from the purchase price, providing that certain conditions are met. In order to qualify you will need to:
At Athena Advisers, our in-house Client Relations team can aid investors with the VAT rebate process as well as introduce them to trusted rental management agencies.
With more than 17 years of experience helping clients invest across borders, we offer expert guidance on investing remotely as well as virtual tours and plot visits via video calling. Virtual viewings have been warmly received by our clients as many of them have visited the ski resorts before and this serves as a more time-efficient way to view the property. In addition, as many countries have travel restrictions in place at the moment, virtual tours allow investors to get a headstart on their property search so when they are able to come out to the French Alps they will already have a good idea of the project.
In addition, we can also have access to drone footage, CGIs and VRs to help you get a feel for the finished project and the surrounding environment.