The Alps are not just for winter. Last summer more than 12 million visitors chose Europe’s highest mountains as the place to holiday, up more than a million on the previous year and confirming what an Abta Travel Trends Report discovered: more of us — and in all age groups — want activity holidays.
The Alps provide road cycling, mountain biking, hiking trails and cooling high-altitude lakes for the ultimate summer picnic. Fresh air, blue skies and ever-improving facilities (check out the wonderful new and joyfully family-friendly Aquamotion waterpark in Courchevel 1650) add up to perfect family holidays.
Chamonix is the year-round resort where Roddy Aris of Knight Frank tips for lifestyle and investment. “It has the best of everything,” he says. “Through the tunnel into Italy there is the Aosta Valley, Liguria and the Italian lakes. Right in front of you is Mount Blanc and the best of the western Alps and the Swiss resort of Verbier is one hour away. Building is restricted but it is a buzzing year-round resort and one where I think prices have yet to peak.”
Buyers are less interested in large multi-million Euro chalets, preferring the practicality of a lock and leave property or one with full on-site management Aris adds.
La Cordée in a sunny spot by the lake in La Plaine des Praz is a collection of 80 one to three-bedroom apartments priced from £250,000. The homes are due for completion in 2017 and come with a pool, gym and underground parking.
Le Cristal de Jade is a five-star residence due for completion this winter with 56 one- to four-bedroom apartments in four-storey chalets. Fully furnished prices start from £245,310 for one-bedroom and from £469,000 for three-bedrooms, exclusive of 20 per cent VAT through the leaseback scheme. Homes will be fully managed by MGM.
Also in Chamonix with MGM but with no rental obligation, two- to four-bedroom apartments at Chalet Hannah, in the hamlet of Les Tines close to the golf course, start from £508,600.
“Rock-bottom euro mortgage rates are one of the key factors in recent strong interest in Alpine property with 15-year fixed rates as low as 1.40 per cent,” says Francois Marchand of Erna Low Property. “New-build apartments rather than chalets are leading the revival.”
While many of France’s most illustrious ski resorts have a dramatically quieter summer season, Austria can claim to be truly year-round, attracting more visitors in summer than in winter according to National Tourist Office statistics.
Kristall Spaces has apartments in Austria from £178,000 for one-bedroom. New-build Mountain Spa Residences in sought-after St Anton combine a ski-out location close to the ski lifts and indoor and outdoor pools with summer views over alpine meadows. The 28 one- and two-bedroom apartments start from £413,500 with completion due later this year.
One hour from Innsbruck, Forest Village Chalets are rare stand-alone homes in the pretty 10th century village of Neukirchen in Salzburg Province. The three- to five-bedroom chalets start from £579,500 with furniture packages from £40,000 through Alpine Marketing.
There are 100 lakes in Carinthia, Austria’s most southerly province bordering Italy and Slovenia. Savills is selling 14 new chalets in the centre of Bad Kleinkirchheim priced from £296,700 for two- and three-bedrooms. With a ski in and out location they are ideal for winter while in summer there is hiking and cycling outside the door.
Homes are part of a long-term leaseback scheme. Owners can use their chalet for up to six weeks a year and in return have a guaranteed three per cent net return for the first three years.