The French Alps

Headquartered in Chambéry, Berthier & Associés are expertly positioned to deliver a full range of valuation services across the French Alps. Accordingly, this includes all asset types, whether that be residential, commercial, hospitality and for diverse purposes including secured lending, tax issues, family law or eviction compensation. As an illustration, the firm has completed over 4,500 valuations of properties in ski resorts since its inception in 1979.

Berthier & Associés are renowned for their professionalism, rigour and dedication to serve their client’s requirements. This reputation has been built in the French Alps in no small part thanks to a team of committed and competent professional valuers whose output always adheres to the highest quality. Whether you are an individual, a professional or representing a business, Berthier & Associés has the experience and expertise to meet your specific real estate valuation needs. For an English-speaking introduction to the valuation services offered by Berthier & Associés, contact Samuel Thompson at [email protected] or telephone +44 7933 239126 / +33 07 45 55 81 46 or via our contact form.

The French Alps is a destination renowned for its breathtaking mountainous landscapes, with abundant snow cover and high amounts of sunshine making for excellent winter sports conditions. More and more though, the region is adapting to make fuller use of its year-round appeal. Instead of the crowded Mediterranean beaches, those with a preference for active outdoor recreation such as hiking, cycling and rock climbing are heading to the French Alps. As an example, nearly half of Chamonix’s revenue from ski lifts is now received between May and October.

There are a variety of resorts in the French Alps, with something to appeal for almost all preferences and lifestyles. Those at higher altitudes can offer long ski seasons and take advantage of some of the 10,000 km of ski slopes served by 3,000 ski lifts in the region. Accompanied by associated infrastructure to serve tourists and locals alike, one can enjoy high-end retail, Michelin starred restaurants and multiple museums. Furthermore, substantial investment is expected ahead of the 2030 Winter Olympics, due to take place in the region. Recognising and capitalising upon the trend for year-round mountain activities, many hotels, restaurants and shops are now open during the summer months. Consequently, there is a greater vibrancy to the resorts at all times of the year.

Especially in the luxury end of the market, property prices in the French Alps are significantly elevated and less subject to economic or political eventualities than the rest of the market. Undoubtedly, the French Alps hosts one of the most resilient property markets within Europe, driven by international demand. As an example, it is estimated that over 300,000 properties (around 35% of the total) in the Savoie region are holiday homes. Moreover, around 60% of purchasers in the prime sector are from overseas. The increasing year-round appeal of the mountains is only driving up returns on investments in the summer months.

Given its central European location and proximity to major population centres, the French Alps holds great international appeal. Train lines serve the major valleys and lower altitude resorts, accompanied by bus stations and frequent airport shuttle transfers. Accordingly, the airports at Chambéry, Geneva, Grenoble and Lyon all offer direct access to the French Alps, with transfers to the resorts taking between 1-4 hours. In addition, the road network links to the major transport hubs and neighbouring countries such as Italy and Switzerland.

Location and Accessibility

As illustrated by the international nature of demand for real estate in the French Alps, allied with the outsized number of second or holiday homes, accessibility is a crucial consideration. Overseas purchasers frequently demand properties which are easy to reach, whether by road, airports or public transport. On a local scale, properties situated close to ski lifts, local amenities and tourist attractions and usually the most prised and thus the most costly.

Architecture & Building Condition

There are a variety of properties to be found in the French Alps, ranging from high-end chalets and mountain cabins to modern apartments and spacious villas. Regardless of the type of property, the quality of the construction and general condition are major influences on its value. Given that, properties which are well maintained, constructed with high quality materials and fitted out with modern equipment will generally achieve higher sales prices than those requiring renovation works. Especially for luxury chalets, buyers are prepared to pay a premium for those which provide comfort, security and exceptional durability.

Market Conditions

It is always important to closely monitor the market, considering macroeconomic influences during the valuation process. As has been noted, the price of property in the French Alps is significantly elevated and is less subject to economic or political eventualities than the rest of the property market. However, availability is often a major constraint, driving up prices through a supply/demand imbalance. At the same time, a potential threat on the horizon is the upcoming restrictions on letting properties with an energy rating of ‘G’ or worse from 2025 and ‘F’ or worse from 2028, particularly with the French Alps comprising such a large proportion of rental units. Properties located in ski stations are proportionally less energy efficient than France as a whole, with nearly 70% of all properties currently of a rating of ‘E’ or worse. That is to say, these properties will potentially become unlettable in the coming years without investment to address the shortcomings.