Surge in demand for French Alpine property

French Alpine developer, MGM, sells more properties to Britons in the first four months of this year than it did in the whole of 2011

The popularity of the Grand Massif area of the French Alps, offering year-round holidays in traditional working towns and villages like Samo�ns, Les Carroz d’Araches and Ch�tel, has put the region at the top of the league table for the sale of ski properties in France, according to the London sales office of the region’s leading developer.

Richard Deans, who heads MGM’s team in Regent Street, reports that the level of enquiries is higher than it has been for several years and the number of sales achieved by his office in the first four months of this year exceeds the total for the whole of 2011.

“For a long time we have felt there was a lot of pent-up demand but that British buyers were reluctant to commit themselves when the sterling/euro exchange rate was so poor. When it returned to 1.2 earlier this year, the brakes came off and the brisk pace of sales has continued,” he says.

“Increasingly Britons are regarding the properties they can buy in the French Alps as better value for money than they perceived a couple of years ago and they are acting accordingly.”

Richard, who says access to euro mortgages is helping, expects the strong demand for French Alpine properties to continue, possibly with a further boost later in the year if the exchange rate improves further, moving to 1.3 as many pundits predict.

The picturesque village of Ch�tel on the French-Swiss border has proved to be one of the most popular locations with this year’s buyers. The family-friendly village, 90-minutes by road from Geneva Airport, forms part of the world’s largest international linked ski area, the Portes du Soleil. It boasts 650 km of slopes taking in eight French ski resorts and four in Switzerland.

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At this time of year, the 85km of streams and rivers in the nearby Abondance valley attract fishing enthusiasts who catch the wild fario or Mediterranean trout, which has adapted to mountain waters.

MGM’s new development in Ch�tel is a r�sidence de tourisme, Les Chalets d’Ang�le, which is being built in response to demand for year-round holiday accommodation from people who love the outdoor life.

When the 73 apartments in the first phase of the development are ready for occupation later this year, owners will have use of all the four-star facilities within the r�sidence, including an indoor pool, fitness suite, gym, sauna, jacuzzi and steam rooms. An OdesCimes spa will have a variety of massages and treatments on offer.

Apartment prices at Les Chalets d’Ang�le currently start at €182,000.

High demand for the apartments built by MGM in eight earlier schemes in the French ski resort of Les Carroz d’Araches, a traditional farming village, has prompted the company to build a ninth one, Le Chalet des Belles Pistes, a four-star r�sidence de tourisme. It will be ready for occupation before Christmas this year.

Nursery slopes on its doorstep were among attractions for Buckinghamshire couple Fiona White (45) and her husband Russell (47) when they decided to buy one of the two-bedroom leaseback apartments.

“Our five-year-old daughter Olivia is keen on skiing and as our new apartment will be close to the nursery slopes as well as the shops and restaurants in the village, it will suit us perfectly,” said Fiona. “Furthermore, it is easy to reach as it is only 45 minutes by road from Geneva Airport.”

Fiona, a freelance trainer in management skills, and Russell, who owns a specialist food business, paid €457,000 for their apartment. Current prices, which start at €223,000 and include secure underground storage and car parking, exclude French VAT at 19.6% which is waived under the leaseback scheme.

In addition to its Grand Massif developments in Samo�ns, Les Carroz d’Araches, Ch�tel, St Martin de Belleville and Flaine, MGM has properties available to buy in around 20 other mountain locations at prices ranging from €174,000 to more than €1.5 million, depending on property size and location. For more information contact the company’s UK office at Kingsland House, 122 - 124 Regent Street, London W1B 5SA, telephone 0207 4940706, email london@mgm-immobilier.fr or visit the website www.mgmfrenchproperties.com