Swiss buyers keeping prices buoyant in the French Alps

An influx of investment from across the border has returned property prices in the French Alps back to the levels seen before the crash of 2008.

The strength of the Swiss Franc over the past year means Swiss buyers can get 30% more for their money than this time last year. Estate Agent Alpine-Property has seen a subsequent surge in buyers from Switzerland, including many ex-pat British who now live their life there. Indeed, Swiss enquiries are up 45%.

There has been particularly strong demand from cash-rich buyers from nearby Geneva. Gareth Jeffries from Alpine-Property isn't surprised by the trend. "The appeal is obvious. Buyers from Geneva can enjoy weekends away skiing or walking, all just over an hours drive away. And the buyers we speak to tell us that they can now get a lot more for their money by turning to resorts like Chamonix and Morzine rather than their Swiss equivalents."

The demand has pushed prices up to such an extent that in many resorts they're now above the 2007 peak. Given the decline in value of the pound since then, many British buyers are finding it more challenging than ever to find that dream hideaway in the mountains. But Gareth says all is not lost.

"There is a clear trend amongst the Swiss buyers. They are buying at the top-end of the market, especially the Euros 1million+ bracket. They're buying property that's ready to move into. And they're sticking to the centre of the well-known resorts. So there's still plenty of bargains out there, especially if you're on a smaller budget, looking for a renovation project or willing to look outside the big-name resorts"

Source: Alpine Property