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Ski property market in French Alps likely to be boosted by low interest rates

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With snow finally arriving across the French Alps a flurry of interest is expected in ski property, especially since interest rates offered by lenders in France are so low.

Rates below 3% were available in 2014 and the beginning of 2015 may herald even lower rates in France as the long term outlook for growth in Europe remains weak, according to John Busby, private clients director of French Private Finance.

He pointed out that the TEC 10 index dropped below 1% for the first time in December, hitting 0.86%. ‘It is worth stressing again that this is now the rate investors will receive when lending to the French Government for a 10 year period. Hopefully this drop will continue to make it through to retail mortgage rates and so buyers will continue to benefit, said Busby.

He also pointed out that it seems that the controversial social charges of 15.5% which were added to French capital gains and rental income tax are in fact illegal under European law and many people who sold a property during 2014 are now making cases to reclaim the tax which they have overpaid.

‘This is also reassuring news for those looking to buy over the busy ski property season,’ added Busby.

According to Francois Marchand, general manager at Erna Low Property, the ever lower interest rates offered by the French Banks and a weakening Euro versus the Sterling has triggered earlier property searching by clients in the French Alps.

‘Enquiries from savvy investors are up 20% year on year since the end of the summer. Site visits have been taking place since the beginning of September,’ he said.

He explained that over the past 12 months, many exciting new developments have appeared in the French Alps with a few new hot spots for investors for example Châtel, part of the Portes du Soleil ski area. Erna Low Property has sourced a few new property developments ready for this ski season or for next December 2015 with leaseback options.

Les Gets, also part of the Portes du Soleil and a short drive from Geneva Airport, having  been short of new property developments for sale for a few years, due to a need to upgrade the draining systems and water supplies, now has a greater variety of new properties for sale.

Tignes les Brevieres has long been popular for its flexible leaseback investment with the British market, with direct access to the world renowned Espace Killy ski domain and in the same ski area, La Plagne has a new leaseback property investment, ski-in ski-out, of fully furnished apartments ready in December 2016.

‘Over the past two years, we have experienced a great increase in activity levels, the winter season has started in the middle of summer for us, which is something we last saw in 2008,’ said James Ross, sales manager at Erna Low Property .

‘It appears that the French Alps is enjoying a renaissance as a favourite destination for first time investors in France, and we are very well prepared for this activity,’ he added.

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