The unreliability of snow conditions in the Alps is finding its way through to the state of the market for ski property.
In their latest review of the ski station property market in the Alps, the notaires offer a mixed picture of the movement in prices.
Although in around half of the ski stations prices rose, in the remainder prices were either stagnant or fell.
As can be seen from the following table, in the year to Oct 2016 the movement in prices varies from an increase of 16.4% in Megève to a fall of 9.9% in Praz-sur-Arly.
|Price Changes 2015-1016|
|Ski Station||Average Price m2||% Change|
|Les Ménuires ||€3,380||+7.5%|
|Le Grand Bornand||€4,470||-5.6%|
|Val d'Isère village||€7,960||-0.7%|
Source: Notaires de France
With the impact of climate change the notaires report that an increasing number of buyers are heading for the higher ground: "En raison d’une météo capricieuse ces dernières années et du manque de neige dans les stations les plus basses, les stations de haute altitude ont le vent en poupe avec des taux de remplissage record dès la semaine du Nouvel An et tout au long de la saison d’hiver."
Similarly, shrewd buyers seek evidence of a strong range of facilities in the resort, for use all year-round, and accommodation that has been modernised and is spacious.
Separately, a recent report from the préfet in Haut Savoie states that occupancy levels in the stations have fallen consecutively for the past three years and that the difficulties encountered by some stations had necessited the intervention of the State.
Many stations had to have recourse to the production of snow, but water levels in some reservoirs have been so so low that restrictions were imposed.
Inevitably, as the number of suitable skiing resorts reduces, prices in those that are left are going to increase, whilst the remainder will need to reinvent themselves if they are to remain viable.
In response to the change in the market, many of the stations have had to invest substantially in new resort facilities and infrastructure, including a substantial retailing offer in the larger stations.
In some cases, smaller stations that have been suffering from a lack of snow are in substantial financial difficulty and facing closure, a set of circumstances that is also mirrored in the more fragile Pyrenees.