Initial Reaction to Brexit from the Ski Property Industry
Ski property professionals in the French and Italian Alps share their predictions and views on the likely impact on the alpine property market of the UK’s vote to leave the EU.
Matthieu Cany at Sextant Properties, specialists in French property, comments, “if the Brexit is confirmed it won’t affect the French Alps property market because customers who buy ski properties do it as they love skiing. They want a pied-a-terre in their favourite ski spot. The holiday homes market in France won’t be affected by this new situation. We will launch several off-plan developments in the French Alps in the next few months and property developers are still very confident. For the moment French banks haven’t change their lending criteria or their mortgage rates.”
Isobel Laing from France Property Angels, English estate agents and property finders in the French Alps, notes “as the ski property market is a truly international real estate market, it is more resilient to the financial ups and downs of one part of the world. While purchases of ski chalets and apartments by Brits are significant, investment in the alpine property market also comes from buyers within the EU - from expats earning in Swiss Francs and other currencies, and increasingly from the USA. These investors may be able to take advantage of a weakened Euro, as the Brexit effect is felt in the Eurozone. For Brits looking to invest in the French Alps, Brexit will inevitably create a period of uncertainty, as the UK’s exit is negotiated. However, many Brits may see the next two years as the window in which to buy property in France, while the details of Brexit are finalised. At the end of the day a purchase in the mountains is largely driven by a love of wintersports or alpine leisure and the French Alps will remain the number one choice for anybody who dreams of owning a ski chalet in a premium ski resort.”
Branson Atterbury from Kristall Spaces, specialists in new-build developments in the Austrian Alps “The effect of Brexit and the free movement of capital from the UK to the EU is likely to be minimal, as is the right to buy or own property in the EU by a Brit. One million Brits own properties in the EU and there are lots of EU owners in the UK, so it is extremely unlikely that the host countries will suddenly impose restrictions. Some buyers may be worried about taxation changes but again, Brexit has no impact on the UK's extensive double tax treaty network as it is not based on EU membership; the double tax treaties with EU members are made individually with each country.”
Erna Low Property, French Alpine property specialists located in London and Les Arcs 1950, report that buyers must resist the urge to panic as there will be no change to buying conditions and should focus on risk assessment and limitation of potential future damage. Francois Marchand comments, “while the pound was predicted to fall straight away after an OUT result, it hasn’t fallen badly and is at the same level as it was back in mid-February. We are sure that there will be no change in buying costs of property in France, and there are no planned changes to taxation of rental income or capital gain tax - as of 1st of January 2015 a single rate of CGT has applied to EU and Non-EU members.” Regarding the availability of French mortgages, Marchand adds, “In time, UK residents might be limited to the amount of GBP investments and wealth that can be sent abroad. A safe investment risk strategy has always been to diversify your portfolio. It will make no difference to our clients investing in a French property – whether they have bought, are planning to buy, or are currently in the process of buying a property. The mountains were there before the EU, and will be there tomorrow to welcome international property investors.”