Austria is the Alpine destination for all seasons

Lakes, golf, tennis, pretty towns... and skiing, of course. Austria's appeal is year-round, says Cathy Hawker
Austria doesn't go in for the megalithic ski resorts of Europe's other prime Alpine countries. While France and Italy have some towering concrete blocks on their slopes, Austrian developments are small in size and big on character. It's a cosy, traditional take on skiing that appeals to families and keen après-ski fans alike, and it helped to push visitor numbers up by five per cent last year.
Austrian value: Salzburgerland 
Current market conditions have made bargain hunters of us all, accounting, at least in part, for the success of the Austrian Alps. 

"Average property prices in Austria are 50 per cent of those in Switzerland for what we sell, while gross rental yields can reach seven to eight per cent compared with three per cent in France," says Jeremy Rollason, MD of Alpine Homes, in association with Savills. "Our average Austrian sale is £311,600 which buys a new 753sq ft two-bedroom apartment. However, Austria has very little stock and flats are often small."

Adler Residences in Saalbach Hinterglemm, 50 minutes from Salzburg airport, is a rare larger project with 41 high-spec apartments and easy access to 125 miles of skiing. 

On completion in summer next year, the modern, glass-and-wood, ski-in and out property over six floors will have one- to four-bedroom homes priced from £311,600 to £1,163,500. The next-door hotel will manage the rental pool, guaranteeing net rental yields of four per cent for three years with four weeks' personal use.

From £249,170: flats at Eder Park Residences in Zell am See. Through Savills Alpine Homes
Also in Salzburgerland, Zell am See is an attractive lakeside town popular with golfers in summer and skiers in winter. Alpine Homes is selling Eder Park Residences bang in the town centre and two minutes from the lift station. 

Phase One sold swiftly and Phase Two has 27 two and three-bedroom flats of 645sq ft to 1,615sq ft, priced from £249,170 and with a net rental yield of around 5.1 per cent. Parking is an additional £14,120 with furniture packages costing from £20,765. Completion is planned for later this year.

Fund manager Kenton Sharpe from Hampstead, a columnist for weekly banking publication Financial News, bought a penthouse flat with fabulous views over Zell am See two years ago through Alpine Homes with his wife Jenny, a physiotherapist. 

Austria's value was clear but as an active couple - she is a keen swimmer and he cycles and hikes with their teenage sons Robson and George - it was what the country offered that sealed the deal.

"There are plenty of good swimming pools and lakeside beaches with tons of activities," says Kenton. "The Austrians are brilliant at making lakes fun places for children."

The Tyrol
£1 million: a three-bedroom country house near Kitzbühel. Visit
While Austria provides good value at entrance level, it also does full-throttle top-end luxury, including in the prestigious and charming Tyrolean resort of Kitzbühel. 

With three airports within 90 minutes - Munich, Salzburg and Innsbruck - Kitzbühel is international, a popular weekend destination for wealthy residents from Munich and Vienna, and can claim the highest property prices in the Austrian Alps. 

In St Johann, an idyllic, quiet village 15 minutes from Kitzbühel, a small development of five new homes is very appealing. 

Open-plan, airy and furnished with lashings of antique wood, the two remaining three- and four-bedroom duplex and triplex townhouses cost from £789,000 for 1,860sq ft through Alpine Homes. There are good views and generous storage.


Seefeld: offers golf and tennis facilities as well as piste and Nordic skiing

Seefeld, also in the Tyrol, is a wonderfully pretty, small town with a population of 3,000 and a direct train link to Innsbruck 20 minutes away. 

Skiing is limited to 30 miles but the real charm of classy Seefeld lies in its year-round appeal. It has two golf courses and another four within one hour, an indoor tennis centre with 10 courts and it is a world-class centre for Nordic and cross-country skiing.


From £305,000: new two- and three-bedroom flats at Princess Residence Hotel. Through Mark Warner Property
Seefeld also has the highest concentration of four- and five-star hotels in Austria - 42 in all - and 60 cosy mountain lodges. Four-star Princess Residence is a traditional and very comfortable, 12-room central hotel which the Dutch owners are doubling in size to create nine flats for sale.

The two- and three-bedroom off-plan homes of 807sq ft to 947sq ft cost from £305,000 with an additional £29,000 for furniture and parking, through Mark Warner Property. The hotel has an indoor pool and spa and will manage rentals for apartment owners.

Savills Alpine Homes: (020 7016 3740)
Mark Warner Property: markwarner (020 7692 0786) 

Fact File
Allow 6.6 per cent for buying costs in Austria.
BA and easyJet fly from London to Salzburg, Munich and Innsbruck. 

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