How to buy properties in ski resorts for both lifestyle and investment.

Your guide to buying a property in ski resorts in key vacation destinations, including Switzerland, France, Austria and the US.

30 Sep 2019

Many dream of investing in a ski chalet or an apartment in the mountains, be it for a lifestyle change or as a vacation retreat. In the UBS Alpine Property Focus 2019, we explore what you need to know about investing in a property in the mountains. We investigate ski vacation locations in the Alps and compare residential property prices, location characteristics and market prospects. We also take a closer look at luxury markets in the top tourist destinations across the world.

What do you need to consider when buying a ski chalet or apartment in 2019?

Prices in various locations

The most expensive vacation apartments in the Alps are in Switzerland's Engadin/St. Moritz and Gstaad. Aspen, Colorado, tops the ranking in the luxury segment worldwide.

Swiss Alps

Overall, the prices of vacation homes in the Swiss Alps have stagnated over the last year. However, prices in the most expensive Swiss destinations have risen substantially.

Prices by country

Prices in the most expensive Swiss destinations are slightly higher than in Austrian and French prime locations. Top Italian locations are considerably cheaper.

Where is the most expensive mountain resort?

Engadin/St. Moritz is the most expensive tourist destination in the Alpine region, as it was the previous two years. An upmarket vacation apartment there costs nearly CHF 16,000 per square meter, and has increased 1.3% since last year. It is followed by Gstaad, where prices come in at CHF 15,000 per square meter. Prices there have shot up just over 11% last year. Kitzbühel in Austria, Courchevel in France and Verbier in Switzerland take up the remaining spots in the top-five most expensive vacation destinations. Each square meter in these locations costs over CHF 13,000.

Explore four prime ski vacation destinations and the key mountain real estate takeaways for 2019.

Switzerland Overall prices in vacation destinations in Switzerland remain unchanged since last year.

US The most expensive luxury properties in the US are in Aspen, Colorado.

Germany Thanks to its proximity to major city centers and airports, Tegernsee has very good accessibility.

Austria An average of 2.8% of properties in Austria lie vacant.

Price overview in the luxury Alpine segment

Luxury real estate can be found in most tourist destinations, but very few regions have a luxury market. Eighty percent of the market for luxury vacation apartments in mountainous areas consists of single family homes with an average living space of 480 square meters. In addition, on average each luxury chalet sits on a 2,500 square meter lot. But size itself is not what makes a home a luxury property. Four of five luxury properties are incredibly well appointed. Luxury properties are also found more than twice as often in prime micro locations than the average vacation property. The analysis below covers the luxury segment in the top 5 percentile of advertised square meter prices.

Top vacation home markets

The table below shows top vacation apartment markets with a price per square meter of over CHF 8,500. The vacation apartment markets are ranked by price level. The list is not complete; other selection criteria include market size and data availability. Prices are in Swiss francs (EUR/CHF exchange rate = 1.13); price changes, on the other hand, are in local currency. Given limited data, the analysis of indicators for rental prospects, population growth and supply restrictions is done only for Swiss destinations.

My dream is to buy an Alpine property, where do I start?

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