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St Jean d'Aulps

by Gareth Jefferies, Alpine Property

I've been asked a number of times recently about the current state of the property market in the Alps.

In brief the current market feels like a good balance between buyers and sellers. The French are buoyant but new British enquiries are hesitant. Long term British searchers are making the most of the good supply of properties and thanks to this we are agreeing plenty of sales. Swiss buyers in the French border areas seem to be largely unaffected by most of the events mentioned!

Some history.....I've been in this business now since the year 2000. Since then I have seen a steady rise in interest in ski properties in the Northern Alps up until we hit the top of the market in 2006/7. It felt like a bit of a bubble back then and with the benefit of hindsight it was! The Banking Crisis hit at the end of 2008 which brought everything to a grinding halt for 6 months, a slow recovery followed until 2015 which turned into boom time again. Brexit hit in June 2016 and the market has been taking stock since. It's not been like 2009 by any means but the interest has certainly ebbed and flowed somewhat over the last year.

There is certainly plenty of events that are giving pause for thought, Brexit, the economy (falling value of wages in the UK), terrorism and the exchange rate to name the biggest ones.

In brief:

  • The French are buoyant. In general they are genuinely pleased with how the Presidential and parliamentary elections went. Macron has various reforms planned to boost the economy which all bode well for us. We shall see! All this optimism has led to an up turn in contacts in French. For reference we generally work 50/50 Franco/Anglo, at the moment that's more like 60/40 to the French.

  • New Anglophone enquiries are flat compared to 2016 and down on 2015. This is normal during an election period but they haven't surged since the rather less than strong and stable result.

  • BUT, Anglo clients seem to be securing deals at the moment. We've signed a record number of offers over the last couple of weeks. These are with people that started their search some time ago.

  • The Spring is traditionally the time when we get a surge of new instructions. This Spring has been no different. We've put one new property on the website everyday for the last few weeks. Some of them have gone under offer already.

  • New building projects are flying up all over the Haute Savoie. Keep in mind that these projects take 18 months or so to get off the ground so this is a result of the boom market of 2015.

  • Overall I would say that the market is more buoyant under €500,000, normal up to €1m and then the €1m+ buyers seem to have gone a bit quiet.

  • The £/€ exchange rate is always one of the most important factors. It seemed to have stabilised around 1.17 but recently due to the current uncertainty has slipped to 1.14.  For reference you can see that here. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business/market_data/currency/11/13/twelve_month.stm

Author's bio

Alpine Gareth 200Gareth Jefferies left the West Yorkshire Police in 1999 to make a new life for himself and his wife in the mountains.  A keen skier, with a love for all mountain activities, he really appreciates the distinct seasons that you get in this region. He now has 3 children, all of whom love the outdoors - indeed one is aiming to compete for France as a Biathlete in the 2020 Youth Olympics in Lausanne!

Responsible for marketing and technology at Alpine Properties, a French-registered estate agency with bilingual agents located all over the French Alps, Gareth is usually the first contact you will have the company. He is always happy to discuss your project with you, usually by email, suggesting various properties and making appointments.