Bag a piste of the action in the French Alps

As tax worries hit French Alpine property prices, it's good news for UK buyers who can take advantage of lower prices in French ski resorts.
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Now is the time to take advantage of lower prices in French ski resorts. France is a perennial favourite with British skiers and property prices in the hotshot Savoie resorts are high. 

But after last year's presidential election ushered in a socialist government hinting at punitive new tax hikes, buyer confidence in French property has plunged.

"The wait-and-see attitude of buyers and vendors lacking confidence is because of planned budget cuts, the negative growth outlook, France's downgraded credit ratings, high unemployment and the wealth tax introduced this year," says Jeremy Rollason of Savills Alpine Homes.

"However, reduced house prices combined with historically low lending rates mean there are some exceptional investment opportunities at present." 

Nationally prices fell by 19 per cent in the year to March, and in the Alps they remain four per cent below 2011 values, according to French official statistics. Yet many of president Françoise Hollande's proposed new taxes didn't materialise and France remains a country Britons love. 

Last week the European Central Bank lowered benchmark interest rates to a historic low of 0.25 per cent which should spell further good news for property buyers. So if you want to buy away from the high rollers but ski the same Alpine slopes, what's out there?

* Savills Alpine Homes: (020 7016 3740)


From £520,200: two- to five-bedroom flats at Whistler Lodge in Courchevel 1650. Visit

"Big French ski resorts such as Megève and Val d'Isère have a huge international appeal, meaning buyers are quickly priced out," comments Nicholas Leach of Athena Advisors. "Look a little further afield and you can find some real bargains." 

He tips the historic spa town of St Gervais which shares the same slopes as Megève 15 minutes away, is also a swift 60 minutes from Geneva airport and is just as family friendly.

Instead of Megève's £1.68 million-plus price tag, however, detached chalets start from £662,000 at Les Terrasses du Mont Blanc, a group of modern three- and four-bedroom 1,883sq ft homes with views of Mont Blanc close to the lifts and slopes of the third largest ski area in the Alps.

And in Megève itself, Les Loges Blanches is a collection of 63 newly completed studio to four-bedroom apartments with prices ranging from £201,000 to £521,000, also through Athena Advisors. 

The homes come fully furnished and share a concierge service and heated outdoor pool. As an added incentive, all apartments purchased by January 31 next year will have full notary fees covered, a minimum saving of £6,453.

* Athena Advisors: (020 7471 4500) 

Still too expensive? Les Balcons D'Aurea in Alpes d'Huez has one- and two-bedroom apartments from £90,000 through Athena Advisors and Investors in Property.

"These are our hottest sellers this winter as they are so well-priced and produce five per cent income," says Simon Malster of Investors in Property. "Mortgages of five per cent are available, so with a deposit of £18,420 and a 25-year loan this is self-financing from day one."

The furnished ski-in and out homes connect into Alpes d'Huez with glacier skiing up to 10,830 feet and have a full rental and management service.

"The market seems polarised," concludes Malster. "We recently sold a £2,522,000 chalet in Méribel and many apartments under £252,200 but not much in between.

"Buyers are keen to see their assets producing an income and leaseback purchases offering up to six weeks' personal use and hassle-free rental are particularly popular."

These apartments are often smaller than classic freehold ones but do not incur French VAT, saving 19.6 per cent of the purchase price.

* Athena Advisors: (020 7471 4500) 
* Investors in Property: (020 8905 5511)

Two minutes' walk from the ski lifts that connect to the slopes of Les Trois Vallées, and close to the local shops in Courchevel Le Praz 1300, this cosy two-bedroom 646sq ft individual chalet with fireplace and garage is for sale through Alpine Homes (


£377,500: A two-bedroom chalet with garage in Courchevel Le Praz. Available through Savills Alpine Homes (

The location means avid skiers can swoop over the 370 miles of Europe's best-connected slopes while more fair-weather snow hounds can check out the chic shops in Méribel or eye up multi-million-pound über-homes in super-smart Courchevel 1850, a favourite place for the world's wealthy to "ski and be seen", with the highest average property prices in the French Alps at over £750 a square foot.

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