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Property Market

Housing Market in Haute Savoie

Tuesday 25 February 2014

An overview of the housing market in Haute-Savoie in 2013 and the outlook for 2014, from John Squires, of Property Europe Online Ltd.

In their most recent French Property Market Report the Notaires de France state that non-resident buyers generally have had little effect on the overall dynamics of the market, accounting for less than 2% of buyers between 2009 and 2013.

However, their analysis also shows that the spread of foreign and non-resident buyers is not equal across the country, with some departments seeing a much higher percentage of the local property market made up by these groups. In Haute-Savoie, in particular, 9% of transactions involved foreign non-resident buyers.

Inevitably, where the number of foreign buyers is significant they compete with national buyers, driving up prices in the region. By the end of the first half of 2013, average prices in Haute-Savoie stood at €340,000, representing a decrease of only 1.6% over the 12 month period from the June 2012. When compared to other markets across France, this stands out as one of the highest priced and most stable markets in the country.

The market in the Haute Savoie and Lake Geneva region during the first half of 2013 was somewhat varied. We found that the majority of properties sold had quite significant price reductions. Towards the latter part of 2013 some factors changed: we began to see more optimism, more favourable rates against the Euro, and more price realism, all resulting in a rise in completions. Our expectation is for this trend to continue and gain in strength throughout 2014.

Director Benoit Clerc of Agence Clerc, an agent with whom we work closely, states that, “The market is supported by the good cross border economy between the area and Switzerland, as well as the region’s attractiveness to foreigners. Foreign buyers disappeared suddenly in 2012 because of economic, fiscal, and political uncertainties in France. In 2013 we have seen the same buyers coming back on the market as they understand that this area offers them excellent opportunities.”

In 2014 there is every reason to think that this trend will be sustained. Haute-Savoie is likely to continue to see high levels of foreign investment, particularly from Switzerland and the UK.

Pierre Laugier of Agence Sotheby, another of our partner agents, comments that, “The fundamentals, like a strong economy, the work force, the infrastructures (the network of highways and the international airports), a world-class fame, and the richness of experience on offer to tourists, all contribute to making our beautiful region between lake and mountains a headlight for foreign investors of all kinds. Lately there has been an upsurge in purchases from our English neighbours, who seem to again be taking an interest in investing in real estate in the Alps.We now have a better opportunity to negotiate sale prices, and we expect to see prices in the area return to normal."

This general sense of optimism is bolstered by recent changes to capital gains tax. Capital gains made on the sale of secondary homes have been reduced and this is likely to have a positive effect on the market in Haute-Savoie, where many properties are second homes.

There is also very positive news from leading property developers the MGM Group who have announced the commencement of the final stage of work on a €100 million investment across the Haute-Savoie resorts of Tignes, Valmorel and Châtel. The three resorts are thought to be the most likely to attract foreign investment and tourism from the UK.

According to Richard Deans in the MGM Group’s UK sales office, the investment highlights the Groups’ confidence in the prospering French Alpine property market, as well as in the outlook for 2014 and beyond.

John Squires will be at the French Village, A Place in the Sun Live, London March 2014, where you can discuss your Alpine property aspirations with him over the three days.

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