Where to buy on the Alps’ snowiest slopes

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

Snow has al­ready been fall­ing in the Savo­yard re­sort of Val d’Isère, and the win­ter sea­son is kick­ing off with a wave of op­ti­mism. Last sea­son 79ft of the white stuff fell in the re­sort, more than in any other top ski town, in­clud­ing Whistler and Aspen.

Snow-sure and de­mand­ing pistes, along with the lively apres-ski, have com­bined to make “Val”, as it’s pop­u­larly known, the favourite French ski re­sort for the British. Since it be­came es­tab­lished in the Fifties, many fam­i­lies have pur­chased homes in the re­sort, with its old vil­lage cen­tre of cob­bled streets that sur­round a church dat­ing back to 1664.

Although of­ten over­shad­owed by Courchevel 1850 as the most fash­ion­able French re­sort to pur­chase a home, Val d’Isère – in the 186-mile Es­pace Killy ski area, with a glacier that was open in June this year – has al­ways had a strong do­mes­tic mar­ket, and has be­gun to up its game and at­tract in­vestors.

“Val d’Isère is ar­guably un­der­go­ing the great­est amount of change of any re­sort in the French Alps,” says CharlesAn­toine Sialelli of agent Athena Ad­vis­ers. “The re­de­vel­op­ment of the cen­tre with Le Coin de Val is the big­gest in any ma­ture re­sort.”

The town un­der­went a facelift in the late Eight­ies for the 1992 Win­ter Olympics, but it’s fi­nally get­ting an­other. Le Coin de Val is the re­gen­er­a­tion of a key cen­tral part of the main street, with a new €200mil­lion (£177mil­lion) “vil­lage within a vil­lage” re­plac­ing out­dated ho­tels with high-end apart­ments, ho­tels, cafés, shops and a tourist of­fice.

Com­ple­tion is due in 2022 but it is al­ready bring­ing new in­ter­est, ac­cord­ing to Iso­bel Rostron of the ski prop­erty por­tal Nid­ski. “We are of­ten asked by in­vestors who want a ski prop­erty ‘where’s hot?’ and we say Val d’Isère – but get in now be­fore prices rise,” she warns.

“Val d’Isère con­tin­ues to be the num­ber one choice for British skiers, and lux­u­ri­ous win­ter rentals are al­ways in de­mand. In re­cent years it has strug­gled to of­fer new high-end stock to would-be in­vestors, but this is chang­ing. On­go­ing in­vest­ment in the lift sys­tem will also give in­vestors con­fi­dence in the long-term fu­ture of the re­sort.”

Hav­ing the high­est ho­tel in the Alps should also pique in­ter­est. Although dou­ble-the-av­er­age snow­fall has re­cently ham­pered the highly tech­ni­cal job of con­struct­ing a ho­tel at 8,370ft, the new Refuge de So­laise, lo­cated at the old ar­rival point of the So­laise ca­ble car, is due to open next sea­son. This is on the back of the new 10-per­son So­laise gon­dola (that comes with warmed seats and Wi-Fi) in 2017. This sea­son, the gon­dola to La Daille, the area at the foot of the World Cup ski run, has been up­graded; it is ru­moured there will be an­other large de­vel­op­ment built there.

But what can you buy now? Most peo­ple want new four-bed­room apart­ments in the cen­tre, for which they should ex­pect to pay €1,860 to €2,325 per sq ft, or €2.5 to €3mil­lion, sug­gests Sialelli. “Buy­ers, who are still mostly French and British, want the con­ve­nience of a lock-andgo prop­erty, but one that is much larger than all the one and two-bed­room prop­er­ties that were built dur­ing the Eight­ies and Nineties.”

At Alaska Lodge, a bou­tique new Savo­yard-style de­vel­op­ment of six apart­ments 330yd from the So­laise chair lift, prices start from €1.93mil­lion for a three-bed­room prop­erty. An­other small de­vel­op­ment in a sought-after lo­ca­tion, Leget­taz, has four ski-in, ski out apart­ments that share a pool; a four-bed­room one is for sale at €3.16mil­lion (both through Athena Ad­vis­ers). You can pay less for a smaller apart­ment in fringe ar­eas like La Daille (such as a one-bed­room flat that is for sale for €240,000 through Free Spirit Alpine), or in Le For­net, a ham­let that is beloved for its vil­lage at­mos­phere and ski-in, ski-out prop­er­ties. Knight Frank is sell­ing a 10-bed­room chalet there for €6mil­lion.

For a prime chalet in Val d’Isère ex­pect to pay €1,767 per sq ft, ac­cord­ing to Knight Frank. This is lower than Courchevel 1850 (at €2,325) where Rus­sian buy­ers pushed up prices, and higher than Méri­bel (€1,465), the re­sort that agents sug­gest is the main com­pe­ti­tion for British buy­ers in Val.

Half of chalet sales are off-mar­ket, but en­try level is around €2.5mil­lion. Prices can go up to around €17mil­lion, such as the seven-bed­room Chalet Le Rocher, a pop­u­lar rental prop­erty lo­cated near the in­fa­mously steep Olympic black run, Le Face (through Athena).

“The best ar­eas for chalets are Leget­taz for its su­perb lo­ca­tion with great views, and Les Carats for the ca­chet of its pri­vate tun­nel en­trance and prox­im­ity to the slopes,” says An­drew Beale of Free Spirit Alpine. In what he de­scribes as a “qui­eter, more re­fined lo­ca­tion”, the agent is sell­ing a four-bed­room chalet in Le Crêt for €4.5mil­lion. “It is also a real slice of Val d’Isère his­tory.”

A €6m chalet in Le For­net with Knight Frank, left; a house in Le Cret, €4.5m with Free Spirit Alpine, right

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