Confirmed as one of Home Hunts’ six location hot spots, if you are looking to buy property in the French Alps these latest insights will help you decide how to make the smartest real estate investments.

With their colossal peaks, the powder white wonderland of the French Alps offers some of the best skiing in the world. But what are the most sought-after locations to invest in and why? After looking at data from transactions and enquiries made during 2014, Home Hunts can reveal the answers to these questions.

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The most popular places to buy in the Alps

In light of the pretty terrible start to the 2014/15 season in terms of snow cover, year round use and altitude skiing are fast becoming the big factors for buyers. Resorts with good year round activity, but linked in to the altitude ski ranges are the ones to look out for.

Chamonix, located in the Haute Savoie department of the Rhône-Alpes region and capital of the French Alps, will always be high on the list of where to buy. It offers the best possible year-round use with only October and November considered as low season.

Yet the resorts of the Grand Massif – Samoëns, Les Carroz, Arraches and Morillon – are fast becoming popular due to their proximity to Geneva, the beauty of the area and the fact they are considered to be “altitude resorts”.

“The Portes du Soleil (Morzine, Les Gets, Chatel and friends) are popular for the same reasons, as well as it being a vast ski domaine,” says Chris Leder, consultant for Geneva and The Alps. “All these areas are a fraction of the price of their better-known sisters (Three Valleys and Espace Killy) and half the time from Geneva, so still good for weekend use. They also have far more activity in summer, so year-round use (which is fast becoming important) is better.”

For buyers preferring summer use with the option of skiing in winter, the three lakes of Annecy, Bourget and Leman (Lake Geneva) are proving more and more popular with Home Hunts’ clients. “The summers here are hot and long – but not baking like the Mediterranean and the waters are perfect for swimming and water sports, from early July to late September,” says Chris.

Cauterets skiing

Who is buying – and what is selling?

According to Home Hunts, it is mainly English, Danish, American, Russian, Swiss and French buyers who are choosing to purchase property in the French Alps.

A review of enquiries received in the area throughout 2014 shows that most enquiries were in the €1-€5 million range with 90%. Just 5% of enquiries were below 1 million, 4% were in the €5-€15m bracket and 1% above €15.

“Prices have stabilised in the better known resorts, but there is still a lot of space and reasons for prices to increase, and there is usually a small handful of stunning Alps chalets on the market at any one time,” says Chris.

Snap up a bargain in Samoëns

Famous for its stone masons and one of the most beautiful villages in the Alps with the stunning Giffre Valley, it is Samoëns that comes out on top as the best up-and-coming area for buyers in 2015. This is partly because it offers such good value for money.

“Samoëns is a fraction of the price of its better-known sisters (between €4,000-€6,000 per metre squared for a decent chalet as opposed to €10,000-€20,000), simply because it is not a ski-in resort, and not an ‘in destination’ like the Three Valleys (Meribel and Courcheval) or Paradiski (Val d’Isere and Tignes),” says Chris. “It is one of the closest resorts to Geneva (50 minutes away), so perfect for a weekend retreat, and summer activity is the some of the best in the Alps. As such, year-round value for money is unbeatable.”

Chris recommends that residents get on the Grand Massif Express, which is a new high-speed bubble lift that takes skiers up to Flaine, in the heart of the high altitude Grand Massif ski domain (265km of pistes), and then ski down to Morillon and take the five-minute bus back to Samoëns.

Properties for sale in the French Alps

If you are looking for good real estate investments in the Alps, here are two properties to get your 2015 search underway.

HH-8576272-1

This stunning barn conversion (HH-8576272) is located just two minutes from Samoëns and offers an impressive 550m2 of beautifully-renovated surface for the price of 180m2 in the Three Valleys. With eight immaculate bedrooms, south-facing views and the best example of a Savoyard barn conversion Home Hunts has come across to date, this property offers immense value for money at €1,940,000.

HH-8643826-4

The last remaining buildable plot on the pistes of Les Gets (HH-8643826), this land would allow for a ski-in, ski-out chalet build of roughly 180m2, just 200 metres above the main village lifts. The total purchase cost is estimated at around €1,400,000.

To view more properties in the French Alps, visit www.home-hunts.com, or to speak with a Home Hunts consultant directly, call the French office on +33 (0)970 44 66 43