The rise and rise of ski and mountain properties

Luchon in the snow

Luchon in the snow

Having been lucky enough to spend Christmas and New Year on the slopes, I thought I should take a quick look at the ski property market here in the Pyrénées. While a financial avalanche threatens to engulf many property markets in the Euro zone, ski properties are bucking the trend and growing in popularity. Ski properties now account for 9% of the British-owned holiday home market overseas, according to Savills, and ski tourism is on the up too, expanding by 5% a year for a decade. And although cheapness is rarely a word associated with ski property, there are still plenty of well-located and excellent value ski properties available in this region to buyers of all budgets, particularly for those people seeking bolt-holes that they can use themselves, rent out easily and hopefully reap some eventual capital gain.

France is still Europe’s most popular ski destination for property buyers, attracting a third of the market. The millionaires head to their super-chalets in Megève and Courchevel, with average costs of around 9,300 Euros per square metre but France has a huge range of lesser-known and far better value resorts with equally good skiing and very reasonable property prices. This is particularly true of the ski resorts here in the Pyrénées, many of which are almost unknown to the foreign investor and yet which offer fantastic investments – with some great skiing thrown in. Particularly popular with my clients in the last few years has been the area around and close to Superbagnères (the ski resort attached to Bagnères de Luchon) where prices per metre are closer to 2,600 Euros, although higher for property right in the town. With its antique shops, restaurants, cafés, hotels, nightclub, casino, cinema, golf course, tennis courts, chocolate shops, market and spa, Luchon is one of those towns that exudes ‘old money’ and is very stylish but still very affordable. Being a popular holiday destination winter and summer (thanks to its ski resorts, thermal baths and spa, plethora of year-round activities, fantastic walking and cycling, stunning scenery and easy access from Toulouse and Pau), properties here have excellent rental potential all year round.

A one-bedroom apartment in the middle of Luchon would currently cost around 100-120,000 Euros and would rent out for around 250-400 Euros per week. For a typical example of the type of property available and possible rental potential, take a look at this property (I must declare a personal interest in this one!) For a French holiday retreat and excellent year-round rental investment, I would have to say that Luchon and the French Pyrénées are hard to beat.

Wishing you a very happy 2013 and hoping that, whatever your dreams for a home in France, they all come true.







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