A view from the French Alpine resort, Méribel

It seems European ski resorts are no longer snowed under by the global economic downturn and are starting to show signs of recovery according to the first-ever Ski Resort Property Index for Q2 2011 from Knight Frank, with prices in many resorts having now stabilised or in some cases having seen small increases, particularly across the French Alps.

Over the past five years, French ski resorts have experienced a substantial amount of investment, helping improve accessibility and infrastructure as well as the quality of the skiing, However, it is thought that other factors are at play in the stabilisation of prices and recovery of the market.

It has been suggested that a large number of high altitude French ski resorts often prove more reliable in terms of snowfall, while an additional factor at work, apart from the culinary delights, comes from the wide selection of seasonal sports and activities available beyond skiing.

Liam Bailey from Knight Frank

Liam Bailey, Head of Residential Research at Knight Frank, comments: “Demand for property is proving less seasonal in many of the world’s luxury ski resorts. Summer tourism, often involving hiking and climbing, particularly in the Alps, has helped to increase rental incomes for many second homeowners. The Alps are now host to a number of summer festivals, concerts and sporting events attracting visitors year round.”

Certainly, the year-round appeal has been a big attraction for Eurozone buyers in 2010/11. While UK buyers account for 35-40% of prime property purchasers in the French Alps, Italian buyers have been fiercely competing for a slice of the property market having been unaffected by currency variations at the time of the global economic recession.

Further research from the Ski Resort Property Index highlights that sales activity in French alpine resorts in 2010/11 has proved strong with areas such as Courchevel, Méribel, Megève and Val d’Isère performing well and seeing the best properties draw interest from more than one buyer. This has allowed sales to be made at or near the asking price.

High demand

Ranked one of the best ski resorts by the Daily Telegraph and now even easier to reach with Eurostar direct ski trains from St Pancras, London to Moutiers, only 25 minutes away from the resort commencing 17th December, Meribel, situated in the middle of Les Trois Vallées, is in high demand as investors rush to snap up luxury units in the only new build development this season, Les Balcons de la Chapelle.

An interior at Les Balcons de la Chapelle

Business Development Manager, Charlie Williams of Terresens, France’s leading eco-friendly property developer responsible for Les Balcons de la Chapelle in Meribel, comments: “New ski property developments such as Les Balcons de la Chapelle have brought a fresh level of quality and luxury to French resorts. Meribel remains one of the most popular destinations with British ski enthusiasts, ranked one of the 50 most expensive locations for residential property in the world by the Knight Frank Prime Residential Index (2010) with property prices reflecting the desirability of the area.

“While the market is still very price sensitive, viewings for property in prime French alpine resorts have increased and we at Terresens have seen considerable interest in our luxury new build development in the heart of Meribel, perfect for those who desire all year round indulgence.”

The limited number of 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom apartments and chalets of Les Balcons de la Chapelle occupy a prime location, just a short walk from the ski lifts, shops and restaurants and command incredible unobstructed views out over the mountains. Available fully furnished to the buyer’s specification, these luxurious residences afford stunning views over the valley and La Chapelle Notre Dame costing from €560,000.

To find out more about Les Balcons de la Chapelle in Meribel, contact the developer Terresens at www.terresensproperties.com.