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Investing in Property in the Alps

A recent study by recruitment company APEC found that young professionals considered the Rhône-Alpes to be the most economically dynamic region and the best place to live in France for quality of life. Lyon, the region’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site was also considered the most attractive city to live in.

The Rhône-Alpes is renowned for its strong economy and tourist industry. It is a property investment hotspot in France, especially the Haute-Savoie and Savoie as these departments benefit from tourism in both winter and summer where temperatures are usually in the high 20s and 30s. The region offers commerce and quality of life opportunities in abundance.

“The Alps are obviously known for their phenomenal winter sports – with three of the world’s largest linked ranges (each with over 500km of pistes) – but are lesser known for their activities in the summer,” said Chris Leder, manager of the Alps region for Home Hunts. “The Lac d’Annecy is considered to be France’s most beautiful lake with a plethora of water sports and easily swimmable temperatures for the long hot summers.”

Paragliding, downhill mountain biking, fly fishing (Lac Leman hides France’s biggest migratory trout) and hiking are just some of the summer activities on offer. The public and private beaches at Annecy, Lac Leman or Lac du Bourget (Aix les Bains) are perfect for when a more relaxing summer activity is required.

Opportunities for investment in permanent residences, second homes and properties with income opportunities are endless in the Rhône-Alpes. “Independent chalet holidays, gites, bed and breakfasts and restaurants thrive across the mountains all year round,” said Chris. “Obviously one needs to have researched the business, but once you have got the hang of the French system and have the right marketing then the rest will fall into place.”

While prices did stagnate in the Rhône-Alpes for an 18-month period after the financial crisis, sales have picked up over the last 12 months and the market is now considered very stable with property prices consistently increasing.

For property investment, Chris says that buyers should be looking at the smaller resorts that are linked to the high altitude ranges. “The ski resorts are ‘microcosms’ in terms of real estate value, however, most big well known resorts are getting close to saturated and so the best deals are in the smaller villages that are linked in.”

In terms of properties for sale that are currently in Home Hunts’ collection, this waterfront property on Lake Leman for €3,600,000, offers a rare investment opportunity. “It needs a full refurb, but at this price, it’s one of the properties with the most potential across the Alps,” said Chris. “Waterfront properties like this are almost unheard of and any work would be a safe investment. It would make the perfect home for anyone who loves sailing, skiing and the mountains, or who works in Geneva or Lausanne, and is half the price of a similar property on the other side of the lake in Switzerland.”

This property in Chamonix, in the Arve valley, is a stunning master chalet with a guest chalet next door. It is located just 600 metres from the famous Grand Montets cable car in Argentière and comes with planning permission to build a third chalet.

“Properties with this much land and unhindered views of Mont Blanc are almost unheard of on the market in and around Chamonix today,” said Chris. “There is more than enough space for an outdoor pool, helipad or tennis court in the grounds – if I had €5,250,000 this is the one I would buy.”

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