Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fresh Scope on the Slopes; New-Build Ski Homes Are on the Up in France, Says Cathy Hawker

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fresh Scope on the Slopes; New-Build Ski Homes Are on the Up in France, Says Cathy Hawker

Article excerpt

Byline: says Cathy Hawker

FRANCE pulls in more British skiers than any other country, thanks to its dazzling choice of resorts. It delivers across the board from vast ski areas -- step forward the Portes du Soleil and Three Valleys -- to smaller, snow-sure resorts such as La Rosiere where skiers swoop across to Italy.

Home buyers can chose between value flats in purpose-built resorts of great convenience but questionable architectural beauty, such as Flaine and Les Arcs, and internationally famed Alpine resorts including Val d'Isere and Courchevel, where wooden chalets with multimillion price tags line the slopes.

"New-build apartments rather than chalets are leading the revival we have seen in sales volumes," says Francois Marchand of specialist agent Erna Low. "They go hand in hand with a surge of new infrastructure projects including the mini-resort Mille8 in Les Arcs and Aquamotion waterpark, Courchevel."

Some new-build homes in France allow owners who choose to rent to benefit from attractive VAT rebates, saving 20 per cent of the purchase price. Couple that with French interest rates at a 100-year low providing mortgage rates from 1.85 per cent fixed for 20 years, and France looks appealing. Here are some new-season highlights.

OLD FAVOURITE UPDATED Europe's longest black slope is in Alpe d'Huez, 90 minutes from Grenoble airport. New investment will connect Alpe d'Huez to Les Deux Alpes creating France's third-largest ski domain. In total PS129million is being spent on lift improvements, doubling the ski area to 280 miles, and PS172 million is going into accommodation on offer, with new fivestar hotels and tourism residences. Hameau de Clotieres is a ski-in-andout residence with 55 one- to four-bedroom freehold flats in Alpe d'Huez, from PS269,000 with Athena Advisers. There is a flexible rental obligation and residents share the neighbouring hotel's pool and spa.

VALUE IN MERIBEL Buyers can find value, even in star-studded Meribel in the mighty Three Valleys. L'Hevana is an off-plan scheme close to the main lifts at Chaudanne, with one- to three-bedroom flats priced from PS290,000 through Erna Low.

While in general the big money focuses on substantial chalets in Meribel Centre, quieter villages further down the mountain link into the entire ski domain. …

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