Focus on the Alps

Snow has fallen in abundance this season and those who are lucky enough to have been in the mountains this season will have enjoyed excellent skiing conditions. The attraction of the Alps and appetite for skiing continues to drive property sales in this popular area. “The number of transactions has been roughly the same for the past two or three years but it is certainly lower than seven or eight years ago,” says Jean-Jacques Botta, of GSI Real Estate.

This season is different and not simply due to the unusual amount of snow. The end of 2011 saw an increase in transactions led by the change in tax treatment of capital gains. “The properties in the mountains are second homes. They are directly affected by the change in the method of taxing capital gains, as many owners tried to sell in the last months of 2011, “notes Benjamin Berger at Cimalpes. Some people gave up their apartment, making an effort on the price, but others rather took their property off the market.

Prices vary greatly from one ski station to another and the hierarchy doesn’t change much. Courchevel, fetish station Russians, remains the most expensive in France. The statistics of the local notaries, who look after all property transactions in France, of “Les deux Savoie” published a survey on Wednesday showing a price of 9,735 euros per square meter at the end of December, up 11% in one year. But this is only an average, which hides wide disparities with transactions up to EUR 25,000 per square meter.

Between Meribel, popular for French families, Courchevel, where prices have soared under the pressure of buyers from Eastern Europe, Megève village, combining style and charm facing Mont Blanc, the stations of Dauphine (Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux-Alpes) of primary appeal to buyers of Rhone-Alpes and Paris, the stations of the Tarentaise, of Maurienne, the Grand Massif or Mont Blanc, the market is very mixed.

The scale of prices is accessible to very different budgets. For example one might only pay 4,000 euros per square meter in the old Valmorel for a classic apartment of 40 square meters. The buyers of this type of apartment are primarily mountain lovers who purchase to enjoy their property and for the price of a Parisian studio, they can afford a 1 bedroom 40 to 50 square meters in the mountains.