Mar 18, 2018 / SKIING, INVESTMENT

Guide to wise investment in new properties - the do's and don'ts of finding the right ski property and investing

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If you’re a fond and regular skier, the thought of owning a piece of the mountain might seem like an attractive prospect. Ski property investment is a big business - and these purchases hold their value. There are several things to consider though if you are weighing up the pros and cons of investing in a pied à terre near a ski resort.

Location location location

Wherever in the world you are looking to invest in ski property, the location is key. The top resorts will of course have property with very high prices. The likes of Park City (USA) and Courchevel are highly sought after and price reflects this, so if you want to get ahead of the game look to areas which are up and coming, and research them thoroughly to ensure you increase your chances of clinching a coveted chalet and achieving a wise investment

If you are choosing between various countries, you need to weigh up and assess travel costs (and potential hidden extras and increases within those costs) in addition to your purchase and be sure that you would not be spending too much travelling to and from your ski home to make it worth your while.

There are many skiing destinations all over the world; from the Rocky Mountains to Austria to the French Alps, to Canada and Switzerland.

With such a vast swathe of locations to choose from it is vital to evaluate choice including in-depth research on a range of factors such as:

  • Local demographics
  • Visitor demographics
  • Property price variations in the area
  • Investment in local infrastructure
  • Snowfall
  • Altitude
  • Local economy

Most regions will have tourist information suites where the necessary information can be found, and online forums and specialist winter sports publications will give you a holistic overview, as will agents for the properties you look at.

Recent trends in property investment and visitors to resorts have seen in increase in buyers assessing all manner of running costs and looking at the year-round appeal of locations and properties, so don’t forget to be clued up on how the area compares during off-peak months. If your resort is popular with hikers, bikers and other tourists during the summer months, then it has the much sought after ‘dual seasonality’ which is a huge selling point as you can easily appeal to both holiday-makers and possible buyers.

What kind of property?

There are different options of course depending on your budget. If you are looking for convenience and good value, then purpose-built apartments in the actual resort are a good option to consider. These studio flats will be small but functional and you can rent them out to other skiers when you plan on being elsewhere.

Will you be renting your property out? What are rental prices like in the area? Look at hidden costs and taxes. Consider the effect that Brexit will have on buying property in Europe as well and do your research with local and industry sources as to the likely impact.

In terms of useful sources, here’s a useful guide on buying property in France which includes information on legalities, taxation, equity release schemes and estate agent advice.
Here is the gov.uk guidance on buying property abroad which is a must-read for any UK residents looking to purchase property in another country.

Below are links to resources full of useful information on living in Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France:

The skiing

If the resort is still being developed, expanded and refurbished, it means that demand is high, and if developers have the capital to invest in embellishing it, it must be for good reason.

Looking at snowfall and altitude is essential too! If you are wanting to rent your property out to ski holiday makers when the location is having consistently bad seasons, then you’re taking a risk. Yes, the properties in higher altitude regions with better snowfall are a lot more expensive, but the ROI will be positively impacted as these tend to hold their value and desirability.

If you are renting out to holiday makers, then you will be able to charge a higher rental charge for a ‘ski on, ski off’ property – meaning a property you can literally ski in and out of. This will cut out travel and transport expenses to and from the resort during the stay.

Here are some all important do’s and don’ts, when selecting that all important investment.

Do’s

  • Do your research, gather information from tourist info sites on your chosen region
  • Do look at not-so-fashionable areas and find out about their visitor demographic
  • Do consider resorts which are more popular with millennials than baby boomers
  • Do look at the area all year round just in the peak skiing months
  • Find out about family friendliness of resort
  • Do seek specialist advice on the ground
  • Learn the language!

Don’ts

  • Don’t rush into a decision
  • Don’t underestimate the full cost – there will be hidden costs; be prepared for this
  • Don’t forget to consider your property’s resale prospects in the next 5-10 years
  • Don’t just look at skiing as the focus point – look at off peak attractions too

Like any investment, it’s important to not rush into anything, do the research, ask for advice and look at it from all angles, especially how you wish it to serve you in the long-term.

Snow Only provides a platform where you can search for ski property all over the world as well as valuable resort information that can help you make a decision. We’ll be able to link you with the best agents in the locations you desire.