Alps: Why invest in luxury real estate?

Luxury real estate in Alps, a safe investment

Faced with the ups and downs of the stock market, geopolitical unrest, and economic uncertainty, luxury real estate offers a safe, stable, tangible investment. Owning a chalet or a residence among the peaks in the French Alps is one of the best ways to escape and recharge your batteries, far from the stresses of everyday life. Your exceptional property will increase in value over the years and, thanks to reliable seasonal rentals, will help build a heritage asset that can be lived in, made profitable, and passed on to the next generation.

Why invest in premium real estate in the Alps?

The Alps, a land of sharing and experience

The Alps are world-renowned for their panoramic views, ski resorts, authentic mountain villages, palace hotels, and rare, atypical, often grandiose properties. This El Dorado of luxury real estate is sure to make you melt. Expect an idyllic setting for both year-round living and vacations; extraordinary sites in the heart of nature; ski slopes, luge runs, and other winter sports to share the joys of the snow with loved ones; clean air and wide-open spaces; a vast range of establishments and services for pampering holidaymakers; increasing, year-on-year real estate value; and property types to suit every lifestyle. For many people, investing in luxury real estate in the Alps is a natural next step. Buying a chalet is often a childhood dream. But it is also a rational investment for anyone interested in seasonal property yields or the added value of the Alpine real estate market.

A booming luxury real estate market

The luxury real estate market, particularly in Alpine resorts such as those in the Southern Alps, is undergoing a remarkable expansion. This is happening for several reasons:

  • Unlike mid-altitude resorts, which are losing their appeal, unique locations in the high Alps always benefit from exceptional snow cover. Courchevel, Méribel, and others offer exceptional settings for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and hiking. Demand is therefore naturally rising in the luxury Alpine real estate market.
  • Owning a chalet in the Alps is perceived as a symbol of prestige, success, and pleasure. Championing mountain art de vivre, the Alpine setting is the perfect place to get away from it all and entertain guests in style. Outside France’s borders, buyers from Russia, the UK, the USA, and the Middle East are flocking to acquire their own private corner of the French mountains. This boom in international demand is helping to boost the value of Alpine real estate.
  • Strict town-planning regulations in mountainous areas puts limits on the construction of new properties, thereby helping to bolster the value of existing ones. In new developments, the few residences under construction tick every box in terms of comfort (heated parquet flooring, large terraces, home automation, a private spa), insulation (A-grade energy rating), services (high-speed fiber-optic broadband for remote working, a concierge service, a ski room), and aesthetics. And for good reason: the world’s finest architects and interior designers work together to design these extraordinary spaces, contributing their expertise to the pursuit of excellence.

In a word, luxury real estate in the mountains is renowned for being an attractive, safe investment. In the Alps, it is a rational investment decision that carries with it an aura of prestige. For many, it represents the culmination of a successful career and a keen investment strategy.

Prestigious investment in the mountains: preferential tax rates

The vast majority of luxury chalets and apartments in the Alps are second homes and as such are not occupied all year round. As a result, they can be rented out to generate additional income.

In France, mountain real estate offers numerous tax advantages:

  • VAT reimbursement: The “para-hotel regime” and the “Censier-Bouvard scheme,” via the seasonal rental of a second home or a rental investment property, entitle owners to the reimbursement of the VAT on a new-build property if the property is owned for more than 20 years.
  • Tax relief: Being the owner of a meublé non professionnel (“non-professional furnished rental property”) allows for the deduction of expenses incurred in renting out said property. The costs of furniture, heating, property tax, renovation work, and maintenance therefore reduce the landlord’s tax base.
  • Capital gains tax exemption on resale: If a second home in the mountains is owned for more than 22 years, it is exempt from income tax upon resale. If the property is sold after more than 30 years of ownership, the capital gains on resale of the chalet or luxury apartment is also exempt from social security contributions.

Luxury properties for rent all year round

In recent years, Alpine villages have been moving away from their image as “luxury ski resorts” to instead provide year-round activities. This fresh, new line-up includes iconic concerts, major sporting events, hiking and mountain-biking circuits, water-sports centers, cultural offerings, gourmet restaurants, spas, lakeside yoga classes, and more. The high-altitude Alpine experience can now be enjoyed all year round, boosting rental yields and reinforcing the appeal of luxury real estate.

Successful luxury investment in the Alps

Why choose the Alps for a luxury real estate investment?

In the highest parts of the Alps, property values have been rising significantly for several years. One stark example is the upward trend in prices per square meter in Courchevel, which have tripled between 2017 and 2024 , rising from €5,000 to more than €15,000/m².

Where should you invest?

The French Alps’ core sites in terms of luxury real estate are Courchevel, Méribel, and Megève. These three pearls in the 3 Valleys are the most iconic ski resorts seen from abroad. Synonymous with luxury, art de vivre, and all-round eye-opening experiences, they bask in a prestigious aura while offering special access to the world’s largest interconnected ski area. Their diverse villages, breathtaking panoramic views, quality of service, and virtually inexhaustible range of activities and places to discover make them ideal destinations for a high-end clientele. Vacancies in these sorts of locations are rare. As a result, properties benefit from exceptional rental yields and excellent resale performance. Having a premium pied-à-terre in a mountain setting is a simultaneous source of income and pleasure – and an undeniable asset for building a solid real estate portfolio.

2024: Trends in Luxury Real Estate Investment

Investing in luxury real estate in the Alps and the Alpes-Maritimes continues to captivate investors seeking exceptional properties in prime locations.

In 2024, the trends in luxury real estate investment in these regions are expected to hold strong, with growing demand for high-end properties offering superior quality amenities.

Upscale ski resorts in the Alps, such as Méribel, Courchevel, Megève, and Les Trois Vallées (The Three Valleys) in general, remain safe bets for investors. Meanwhile, seaside resorts in the Alpes-Maritimes, like Auron, are attracting an affluent international clientele thanks to a new focus on luxury.

A man reading a book in Rising Stone's Chalet