The proportion of global buyers that are more likely to buy a ski home as a result of Covid-19 increased from 11% in 2020 to 18% in 2021. Leading independent global property consultancy Knight Frank’s 2022 ski property report finds that, despite 18 months of turmoil and two lost ski seasons, property in the French Alps is in high demand and dwindling supply.
It is believed that fresh air, views of nature and a desire to spend quality time with family and friends are driving demand. Remote working has also been a catalyst for change, with the fast-speed broadband offered at resorts, their proximity to airports and the availability of services and amenities, all cited as reasons to buy in the Alps. The French resorts of Chamonix and Megève were the top two resorts for remote workers according to the report.
Chamonix has a permanent resident population of over 10,000 and, as one of the largest Alpine towns, it offers a wide range of retail, cultural, sporting and culinary amenities. Megève is similar, with the added bonus that its slopes are particularly suited to families with young children. Both resorts ranked highly in the number of Michelin-star restaurants, coming third and fourth as they both have 10. Courchevel was the winner with a total of 13 Michelin-star restaurants.
Energy efficiency is also regarded as an important factor for buyers; Chamonix and Megève were both awarded the Flocon Vert for sustainability and their energy action plans.
Property prices reflect the desirability of these resorts, with Chamonix having achieved a record sale price of €20,000/m2 in 2021 and an average property price of €12,500/m2. Courchevel’s average of €26,800/m2 was the highest of the French resorts, much higher than the Savoie average of €2,740/m2.
Roddy Aris, Knight Frank’s head of sales in the French Alps, explained: “Mid-altitude resorts offering a viable base all year round with a mix of activities are appealing to a broader range of buyers.” He adds that Courchevel is “arguably ‘the’ safe haven market in the French Alps; buyers know they’re getting a foothold in one of the most desirable ski resorts in the world, plus it delivers on service and amenities. The challenge is finding stock.”
Decline in supply is suggested to be a result of would-be sellers becoming landlords. Courchevel currently holds the highest rental rate of the Alpine resorts, at a daily average of €516, followed by Verbier in Switzerland at €463 and Megève at €429.
Chalet rentals are in short supply in Courchevel with almost 80% of rental listings being apartments. In Chamonix, by contrast, it is an almost even split between the percentage of chalets and apartments available to rent.
The report noted that in both Chamonix and Courchevel, the second most popular nationality of property owner was British, preceded only by the French. It was also seen that most prospective buyers are looking for a ready-to-move-in option that is within an hour of Geneva Airport. In terms of budget, Knight Frank reports the €4m to €8m price bracket is particularly busy.