The Mont Blanc mountain range has become a year-round destination with more visitors expected during July and August than during December and January. This market report identifies trends in the local property market and examines what sets Chamonix apart from the rest of the Alps.
How did the price of prime property perform in Chamonix between June 2014 and June 2015?
The second half of 2014 saw activity rise but in a relatively stable market. Activity peaked in late autumn with buyers hoping to complete before the winter season.
The real stimulus to the market came in early spring, with a marked shift in the Sterling/Euro exchange rate and a very sudden change in the Swiss Franc/Euro rate as it was unpegged. Both currencies strengthened by nearly 20% against the Euro, increasing activity to a level that we haven’t seen since 2007. Resales have seen a marked increase in prices.
A typical one or two bedroom apartment in Chamonix centre has risen by 9-10% in value in the last 12 months, although the new build market seems to have remained more stable. For prime chalets, there is a similar story with demand strong for prime property but a lack of stock. Outside of the core areas, the market is flatter. Prices have remained steady with the volume of transactions considerably more limited.
Who is buying in Chamonix?
Over the past year, the buyers have been more internationally diverse than ever before, most notably with the growth of US buyers. The core buyers remain European by nationality, whether they actually live there or further afield, in places such as Hong Kong and Singapore. The most important sector remains the British and Swiss buyers, due to the exchange rate Chamonix Market Report summer 2015 movement, but there is also increased activity from Scandinavian buyers. They are searching for properties with good rental returns between €0.5m and €1.5m. The typical buyer is looking for a holiday home which they can rent for much of the remainder of the year to help cover cost.
What sets Chamonix apart from other Alpine destinations?
Chamonix is a town first and foremost, with a deep Alpine history, a good sized permanent resident population and a genuinely year-round appeal. It has a truly global reputation with visitors from every continent, lured by the sight of Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest peak. The skiing is often described as challenging but this is unfair. Yes, there is a huge amount of easily accessible off-piste and touring skiing, but there are also five ski areas offering everything from nursery slopes and blues to more challenging reds and blacks.
The summer season is very popular, with more visitors in July and August than the main winter weeks. It is host to a number of international events including the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, the Marathon du Mont Blanc and the World Climbing Championships. Its international nature creates a cosmopolitan atmosphere in the town, with a rich diversity of night life including Michelin starred restaurants. Chamonix is also an easy drive from Geneva airport, taking less than an hour, giving an unrivalled access compared to many ski areas.
The Compagnie du Mont Blanc, who run the lift system, have committed to an unrivalled investment of €477m over the next few years. In comparison to its peers, Chamonix remains competitively priced and the more recent increase in demand for high-end property makes the Valley an interesting place to invest.
What type of properties are in greatest demand?
Properties with provable rental income in central Chamonix and Les Praz are in greatest demand. As well as location and rental potential other important features are: - outdoor space - good storage - parking (preferably a garage) - views - potential to add value Core markets are: - Apartments: 2-3 bedrooms, €500,000 and €750,000 in central Chamonix or Les Praz - Chalets: 3-5 bedrooms, €1,500,000 to €2,500,000, in the older villages - Central Chamonix, Les Bois, Moussoux, Les Praz.
What’s your outlook for the next 12 months?
We would expect the market to continue to show the encouraging signs we have seen over the past few months. Despite the uncertainty in the Eurozone, exchange rates are favourable for foreign buyers and interest rates are very low. Stock remains thin, but we would hope to see more properties coming to the market following the successful challenge in the European courts against the levy of social tax on income and capital gains for non-French residents.
For the full report and statistics, pick up a copy from the Mountain Base office in Chamonix at 108 Avenue de l'Aiguille du Midi, or ask them to email you a copy.