International Property giants Knight Frank have released their Annual Wealth Report providing global perspective on prime property markets and wealth. Their Prime International Residential Index (PIRI 100) looks at the performance of the world’s leading prime second home and city residential markets. This year, they have confirmed two trends – First, the slowdown of China’s top-tier cities; and Second, the positive growth in Europe after a decade of weak results. This is particularly evident in the number of European ski resorts in the top 100 cities listed. And which ski resorts are performing well?
The only North American resort on the list, Aspen is the top performing ski resort for luxury property in the world. A huge 19% increase in luxury property performance places Aspen at number 3 in the world, behind the cities of Guangzhao and Cape Town. Known as ‘Billionaires Playground’, Aspen has been the go-to resort of Hollywood Stars and Silicon Valley executives for years.
Listed at number 33 on the PIRI with a 4.5% growth over the last year, Chamonix is the top performing European ski resort in terms of luxury property. Located near the borders of Switzerland and Italy, just a one-hour drive from the financial centre of Geneva, the resort which is more known for its mid-range property market has seen a huge increase in luxury living.
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Set to take over Courchevel as the crown of the French Alps, prime ski property values have increased by 3% in Val d’Isere. High in altitude, snow-sure and sharing a ski area with Tignes, this tiny mountain town has evolved into one of the most sought-after ski resorts. The rustic sophistication that Val offers is on par with resorts such as Jackson Hole in the USA where skiing is the main attraction and understated luxury is preferred.
Just making the Top 50 at number 49 with 1.8% growth over the past year, the Swiss resort of Gstaad has always been one of the top performing ski resorts for prime property. One most exclusive resorts in the world, Gstaad is consistently amongst the Top 5 ski resorts in Knight Franks Alpine Property Index. A well-known playground of the rich & famous, Gstaad consistently performs well and the property values are always increasing, quite a feat when in recent years Swiss resorts have been stagnating or in decline.
Sitting at number 51 on the list with a 1.6% growth in property value, Méribel has long been a favourite ski resort of families looking to settle into the Three Valleys. Nestled in the very heart of all the action, it offers a slightly more affordable base than neighbouring Courchevel whilst holding all the luxury and charm.
Another of the Swiss resorts that won’t ever see a significant decline, St Moritz’ luxury property values increased by 0.5% in the past year. With a legacy of glamour and old-world luxe, St Moritz property has and will always be one of the strongest European ski property markets.
A favourite of European royalty, movie stars and Russian oligarchs, Courchevel has long been known as France’s go-to luxury resort. The streets are lined with designer boutiques, Michelin restaurants & fashionable bars which rival the best of the best in Paris, and the vibe is decidedly city-chic. High-end chalets are the norm, and some of the most expensive ski property in the Alps can be found on the slopes of Courchevel. A growth of just 0.4% in the past year suggests a levelling off of prices as the mid-range resorts of Chamonix and Meribel have outperformed it.
Coming in at number 70 on the list, Megève is the ultimate in old-world luxury. Built in the 1920’s by the Rothschild family, it is the epitome of understated glamour and has long been the go-to resort of France’s aristocratic families. Discreet yet luxurious, the high-end property market in Megève has and always will remain strong despite the decrease of .5% in luxury property growth.
The last ski resort on the PIRI 100, Verbier has become a popular resort for who love luxury AND adventure. Combining the most challenging skiing in the world with the kind of luxury found in Courchevel, the property values here are second only to Gstaad and St Moritz in terms of price per metre despite the market decreasing by 1.7%. This is likely due to a strong Swiss Franc reducing the budget of buyers as well as restrictions on non-Swiss nationals owning homes in Switzerland.
What can we take away from the most recent Wealth Report? Despite resorts of the USA and Canada being popular with high-net-worth individuals, the ski resorts of Europe are where the high-value property is. Whilst the old-school luxe ski resorts of Gstaad, Courchevel and St Moritz will always be in the top tier of ski property prices, the mid-range resorts of Chamonix and Méribel are seeing the biggest growth trend of them all. Traditionally, the Swiss resorts will always perform well, though in the last year we have seen a dip in prime property performance as a strong Swiss Franc and restrictions on non-Swiss nationals deters foreign buyers from investing.
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