By Maciej Skoczek, Matthias Holzhey, and Claudio Saputelli
Switzerland is offering potential opportunities for those seeking second homes and mountain scenery. Prices for vacation homes in the Swiss Alpine region have recovered slightly, but trends have been lagging those of the top destinations in Austria and France.
As was the case last year, Engadin/St. Moritz is the most expensive tourist destination in the Alpine region. A good-quality vacation apartment in the area costs around CHF 15,000 per square meter, which is around 7 percent more than last year. Gstaad follows, where prices come in at a whopping CHF 14,500 per square meter; again, that is higher than in 2017, although prices rose a more moderate 2 percent over the year. The French resort of Courchevel, along with St. Anton am Arlberg and Kitzbühel in Austria, make up the remainder of the top five spots for most expensive Alpine vacation destination. Prices in these resorts rose by 4 to 7 percent in euro terms compared to the previous year.
Average second home prices across all Alpine destinations increased by 1.5 percent compared with the previous year. Prices climbed significantly in relative terms at Austrian and French destinations (5 percent and 3 percent, respectively). In Swiss resorts, prices rose by 1.0 percent on average compared to the previous year. Of all the Alpine regions, only the top Italian destinations recorded a slight fall in prices. Overall, prices in the Austrian Alps are almost 20 percent higher than in 2013, while in the French Alps they are up by around 15 percent. In contrast, prices in Switzerland are down 4 percent from 2013, with Italy 10 percent lower.
Another factor is that over the past year, the euro appreciated by almost 10 percent against the Swiss franc. This movement helped raise prices in Eurozone Alpine destinations, in some cases substantially. As a result, Swiss vacation apartments became relatively more attractive. The strong economy also supports demand within Switzerland. In 2018, we expect slightly rising prices for second homes in the Swiss Alpine region. But there may still be time for skiers and mountain hikers to find some good values.