Savills and Knight Frank - How their Alpine Property Reports Compare
In recent weeks, both Savills and Knight Frank released their 2016 Alpine Property Reports looking at premium resorts across Europe and North America with the aim to inform prospective buyers about resort performance. With each report touching on slightly different points, we have combined the key points to make sure you have all the information you need when looking to buy your ski home!
- Both reports have spoken about the increase in value of exclusive, established Swiss resorts. Savills has listed St Moritz and Verbier as their top performers, Knight Frank has given that title to Gstaad.
In past years, there has been a clear divide between Swiss and French resorts when it comes to rankings (measures of property value and ability to sell the property in a timely fashion). Knight Frank has previously shown a clear divide between Swiss and French resorts – with French resorts traditionally sitting at the top half of the ranking table. This year, there is no clear division between the two alpine areas. Savills supports this finding showing the more exclusive, established Swiss resorts as increasing in value. This indicates that even though there is worldwide economic uncertainty, luxury ski homes are still staples of property portfolios for high-net-worth individuals.
- Both Savills and Knight Frank have identified buyers as considering their purchases as a business investment too – 94% of them want to rent out their chalet to cover costs and finance personal trips.
As such, personal preference often becomes secondary to the overall rentability of the ski home. Choosing resorts with longer winter seasons and busy summer seasons provide more opportunity to make a rental return. Both Savills and Knight Frank have indicated that one of the most important indicators of future tourist demand and long-term liquidity is investment in town infrastructure and non-skiing activities.
- Savills have noted that an effort to attract Gen-Y’ers is necessary for future growth.
Baby boomers have long been the driving force behind the skiing industry, and they are quickly reaching their demographic peak on the slopes. What was once a traditionally robust skiing market is diminishing, and Gen Y’ers have less of a propensity to ski than their forbearers. Efforts must be made by resorts to attract the new generation of skiers without alienating what up until this point have been their core customers. The most visible thing resorts are doing to appeal to Gen Y skiers and boarders are the addition of sprawling terrain parks.
- Knight Frank has stated that there will be an increase in Aparthotels in Switzerland as developers look for ways around the Lex Weber laws.
Limiting the number of second homes to 20% in each municipality, Lex Weber seriously affects the availability of ski homes, particularly in popular resorts. Verbier is already above the cap, and other high-profile resorts such as Gstaad are not far behind. Aparthotels function as private apartments with hotel facilities, and have potential to get around complex Lex Weber laws by offering apartments as holiday lets.
- Savills has highlighted Austria as the next place to buy.
Despite being home to some of the world’s most exclusive ski resorts, property prices in Austrian ski resorts are 28% below the equivalent prices in the rest of the Alps. With constant investment in non-skiing related activities and a new focus on the 20-35-year-old market, Austrian resorts are growing at a rate of 8% a year and there are no signs of it slowing down.
Buying a ski property will always come at a premium and both Knight Frank and Savills have reiterated that. With limited housing stock and little space to build new homes, the exclusive nature of owning your own ski home is not set to change anytime soon. French and Swiss resorts continue to dominate the list of high-value resorts, but their growth rate is slowing and it is the Austrian resorts that are showing the best signs of growth due to constant investment in non-skiing related pursuits and creating resorts which attract the younger demographic some of the established resorts struggle to draw. The general buying trend has now moved away from super-luxury resorts like St Moritz to better value resorts such as St Gervais and Chamonix where the price per square metre is significantly cheaper. Dual season resorts offer the best occupancy rates across the year, and major airports such as Lyon and Geneva now have greater passenger numbers in summer than winter. Despite the UK’s decision to leave the EU, both reports have stated that the market hasn’t generally suffered as there is less reliance on British buyers due to a contingent of buyers with new-wealth coming from Asia and the Middle East.
At a Glance: The top 5 resorts by property price per m2
- Gstaad: CHF 34,000
- Courchevel 1850: € 25000
- St Moritz: €24,000
- Verbier: CHF 22,000
- Val d’Isere: €18,000