Ski resorts in the French and Swiss Alps that are luring buyers with amenities beyond the slopes are seeing an uptick in price growth, according to Knight Frank’s 2017 Ski Property Report released Monday.
Chamonix, France, at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps, took the top spot in the annual price growth rankings—which tracks the movement in luxury residential prices across 16 ski resorts in the French and Swiss Alps—with prices up 4.8% in the year to June 2017.
Chamonix, widely regarded as the most well equipped year-round resort in the Alps, the report said, has now seen prime prices increase by almost 5% for two consecutive years.
The resorts of Val d’Isère, France, and Gstaad, Switzerland—last year’s highest performer—occupy the second and third position this year, recording annual price growth of 2.5% and 1.8% respectively.
Buyers typically fall into two categories, “those seeking a dual-season resort to maximize year-round rentals and those targeting high-altitude resorts offering reliable winter snowfall,” the report said.
“It is a very exciting time to be investing in the Alps. There are of course challenges ahead, such as the long-term implications of Brexit and the erratic winter seasons, but the draw of the mountains has never been stronger,” said Roddy Aris of Knight Frank, France, in the report. “Resorts are having to evolve and adapt to meet the demands of today’s buyers. Huge investments have been pledged across the Alps from artificial snowmaking facilities to adapting and evolving activities for the summer and family market.”
Along with accommodating the higher expectations of their visitors, resorts are now catering to the roughly 25% of annual visitors to the Alps that are non-skiers by hosting more non-ski activities including mountain bike trails, paragliding, zip-wires, polo and ice-skating, the report said.
The report shows a glut of Swiss resorts at the bottom of its table, reportedly due to the strength of the Swiss Franc and restrictions on foreign buyers, both of which have prompted some hesitancy on the part of buyers.
Although the U.S. ski industry is primarily domestic-buyer focused, Colorado has the strongest international appeal of all the U.S. resorts, the report said, and Aspen’s luxury market has recovered well from a sudden sales plateau in 2016. There were 26 sales priced above $2,000 per square foot in the first eight months of 2017 in the resort, compared with 13 during the whole of 2016, according to the report.
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