How to buy the right mountain property for rental

Published on 18 July 2016

Thanks to its close proximity to the UK and its well-established winter tourism industry, Europe in general and France in particular are popular destinations for winter sports enthusiasts. But there’s more to buying a mountain property for rental purposes than just heading to your favourite ski resort. It’s essential to ask the right questions and weigh up all of the considerations to ensure you choose the ideal property to suit both your personal tastes and your portfolio.

Personal preference versus rental potential

Personal preference versus rental potential

Perhaps you like to spend your winter holiday in a secluded valley away from the main visitor hubs? All investors have their preferences, but it is important to bear in mind that buying a ski chalet as an investment is not quite the same as choosing a holiday spot for yourself and your family alone. Broadly speaking, the safest mountain rental investments are to be found in the most popular tourist centres. These are the places that have the most consistent and enduring appeal for renters and you’re likely to find it easier to keep your property full. Likewise, even if you enjoy a long drive through the mountains from the airport, not everyone does. This can make your property less attractive as a weekend getaway, ultimately reducing its rental premium potential.

Up above or down below?

It goes without saying that choosing a “snow-sure” location has to be a key consideration for property investors searching for a mountain chalet to rent out. Generally speaking, higher properties – those over 2,500 metres – will have more reliable snow coverage and a longer ski season, making them more attractive to renters for a greater part of the year. Many renters will happily pay a little extra to maximise their chances of a great week on the slopes. It’s not only about the snow, however. The market for off-season mountain holiday rentals is growing ever stronger. Keep an eye out for year-round resorts that offer the possibility of hiking, mountain biking, or even luxury shopping, to make the most of what your property has to offer.

Choosing the right resort for your budget

Choosing the right resort for your budget

As with most things in life, when it comes to ski properties, you get what you pay for. In other words, it is generally true that the more you can spend on your property, the greater the return on your investment is likely to be. Luxury ski chalets in Méribel, Megève and Courchevel are near the top of the price range, but the appeal of high-end resorts such as these means that filling your property with paying guests isn’t usually an issue. In addition, the upper segments of the holiday rental market tend to be more resistant to any economic shocks than the rest of the market as a whole, making your investment more secure in a downturn. Slightly less pricy, yet still popular, are destinations such as Ménuires, Val Thorens and La Plagne, which still represent excellent property investment prospects.

Go it alone or choose a managed property

These days, buying a property to combine profit with pleasure no longer has to entail doing all of the hard work yourself. Managed buy-to-let mountain property options are one way of ensuring a guaranteed income from your ski chalet or mountain resort apartment without getting tangled up in the day-to-day running of the property and its rentals. Choosing a property management programme is often particularly suited to first-time property investors or those without the time or inclination to go it alone. It can also provide much-needed reassurance with legal and practical support during times of uncertainty or greater economic turbulence. 

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