There is nothing quite like skiing down a mountain in freshly groomed snow, hearing the rush of the wind in your ears, marvelling at the beauty of the surroundings and feeling uplifted by the sheer wonder of it all.
Skiing has long been one of the most popular sports for many British people. Now, perhaps more than at any other time, ski lovers will be keen to try it all again. So how is the ski property market faring at the moment?
What’s going on with the ski property market?
The ski property market in France is still buoyant and will always prove to be a healthy investment. There is a wide choice of resorts in both the Alpine region and the Pyrenees as well as a huge choice of properties to buy, from ritzy chalets to small studios.
At the start of this year, prices in many ski resorts dropped slightly. These are tough times we live in and ski resorts suffered from the lack of tourism from abroad. If you are looking to buy a ski property in France, this may well be the time in which to do so: there are some serious bargains out there, particularly amongst new build developments.
The Alps, of course, remain the most popular area in which to buy a ski property. Here you have a choice of some fabulous upmarket resorts in France as well as some lesser known ones.
The Pyrenees, however, is worth considering if your budget is limited. The mountains are not as high as the Alps but there are still plenty of lovely, lesser known resorts, particularly popular with the French who typically like to drive to their ski destination. So, let us look at some of the resorts in both areas.
Chamonix: a long-held favourite of British people. Cosily located in the Haute Savoie department of the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, it oozes charm and is now a huge tourist area with beautifully traditional chalet type buildings. Chamonix has everything to offer for all levels of skier, plus a vibrant après ski life.
Summer in Chamonix is almost as popular as winter so if you like walking, cycling and riding, a property purchase here will offer you year round enjoyment. Expensive? Yes, it can be. But if you are looking for a little studio, it is possible to find places for around €170,000. A 2 bedroom apartment will cost a minimum of €275,000 and for a 3-4 bedroomed chalet, expect to pay upwards of €400,000. The market here remains buoyant so a property purchase here will always be a good investment, no matter how small.
The nearest international airport is Geneva which is around 68 km away with regular and direct flights to and from the UK.
Meribel has always been popular with the rich and famous! It lies within the stunning Alpine valley of Les Allues. This is a resort which is known throughout the world and is also a British favourite. It is closely linked to Courchevel and Val Thorens, so a huge range of skiing for all skills is on offer here.
The ski properties have a traditional chalet like feel to them, but you will need a slightly bigger budget to buy a ski property here. You will need around €200,000 for a small studio apartment and around €400,000 for a 2-3 bedroom apartment. The sky is the limit for those with bigger budgets!
The nearest airport is Chambery at around 109 km away. Geneva Airport is around a 4 hour drive away, as is Turin.
The Pyrenean mountains have a lot to offer the ski enthusiast, particularly novices!
Les Angles is a lesser known ski resort globally but very popular with the French. Situated in the Pyrenees-Orientales department, this is a very pretty, family friendly resort. The Pyrenean mountains have a lot to offer the ski enthusiast, particularly novices!
Property prices are also cheaper; you will get a lot more for your money here. A small studio apartment can be found for as little as €100,000. Larger apartments and chalets with 3-4 bedrooms come a little dearer but a budget of around €250,000 will still give you plenty of choice.
Why not spread the cost and buy with family? Read our guide, Buying with Family.
Travelling from the UK is relatively easy. The nearest airport is Perpignan, which is 92 km away. Carcassonne is 112 km and Barcelona (Girona) is about 190km away.
This is a very popular, long established spa town located south of Foix, in the Ariege department and quite near the Spanish border. Just above the town you will find this lesser known ski resort. Although it is smaller than many others, it still has plenty of cafes and restaurants. The pistes run through the most beautiful mountain scenery.
A budget of around just €90,000 will afford you a small studio apartment here and with average prices around €170,000, this is an excellent option if you are contemplating owning your very own ski property. With less new builds and more traditional houses and apartments, this family friendly resort has a great deal to offer.
Carcassonne airport is just 67 km away and Perpignan just 84 km, making this resort easily reachable from the UK.
Owning a ski property in France is something many of us with a passion for skiing dream about. But it need not just be a dream. The beauty of buying a ski property in France is that it will eventually pretty much pay for itself. All of the resorts mentioned here have summer time activities too, so you will be able to rent out your property at any time of the year. This, of course, assumes that you will be able to tear yourself away from it!