The Alps is the largest mountain range in Europe and can be found in 8 different countries: France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Monaco, Slovenia and Liechtenstein. The range stretches for 1200 km with a surface area of 35,000 km2 in France. The French Alps are home to a number of glaciers as well as 30,000 wildlife species and 13,000 species of vegetation. There are a total of 82 official summits, that measure at least 4000 m high.
The French Alps has a distinctive difference between the Northern and Southern Alps and boasts some of the highest peaks in Europe. The north is the home to the most iconic peak in the whole mountain range, Mont Blanc, which stands at an altitude of 4180 m above sea level. While in the south, the peaks still reach an altitude of 4000 m, but there is an obvious progression towards the sea. With the vegetation, the northern side of the mountain range is home to vast forests of spruce and fir trees, whereas, in the south there is more arid and composed of larch, thyme and lavender.
The French Alps are also home to many natural parks, which offer numerous opportunities for hiking. In addition to acting as habitat for many protected species, the parks also boost beautiful lakes, such as Lake Annecy, Lake Le Bourget and Lake Geneva, which is home to the town of Evian.
The French Alps is best known for its snow and ski resorts. You will find your ski property for sale In the French Alps in one of the three départements in the Northern Alps which are the Haute-Savoie, Savoie and Isère. This region is home to some of France’s most famous and historic ski resorts, such as Chamonix and Megève, as well as its major ski areas such as the 3 Vallées (Courchevel, Méribel, Les Ménuires), Portes du Soliel (Les Gets, Morzine, Avoriaz, Châtel) and Paradiski (Les Arcs, La Plagne, Peisey-Vallandry). The Southern Alps consists of six départements: the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes Maritimes, Drôme, Var and Vaucluse. Serre-Chevalier, Montgenèvre, Pra Loup and Isola 2000 are the most emblematic ski resorts in this region.
The Alps is the ideal winter destination and summer destination. There is a whole host of outdoor activities, such as skiing, hiking, mountaineering, mountain biking and much more – making it the ideal place for buying a property.
Owning an Alpine Property is not only has the benefit of generating great rental yield. In some of the most prestigious ski resorts, 3 Vallées and Portes du Soleil, there is a strong demand for rental properties in the French Alps. Due to many resorts undergoing improvement on lots of their infrastructure, and the resorts becoming more popular in the summer months, it is expected that the demand will continue to grow. When combining the VAT rebate programme and the rental yield for new build French ski properties, renting out your home is a great way to generate passive income. Sometimes, when you buy a ski apartment or ski chalet, they can pay for themselves through the rental income.
Purchasing an Alpine property with a French Mortgage has many benefits, especially as French banks can offer a fixed repayment rate for the entire duration of your mortgage at very competitive rates. The French like this because it means the financial system and property market both benefit from stability and security over the long term. These fixed rates allow French property investors outside the Euro zone to minimise their risks in relation to the foreign exchange rates. In many cases, the interests payable on the mortgage can be offset by the income received from a property that is being used as a rental.
The average snowfall in the north of the French Alps is generally higher than that in the south. This does not mean that the snow condition is always better in the north, as the Northern Alps are more susceptible to the warming winds of the Atlantic Gulf Stream, so higher risks of rain. The average cumulative snowfall at 2000 m per season (Nov to Apr) is between 5 m and 8 m in the Norther Alps, and between 3.5 m and 5.5 m in the Southern Alps.
The French Alps are very accessible, making it a great holiday destination. There are a number of airports located in surrounding towns that allow you to transfer from there, there are also the international airports in Geneva, Grenoble and Lyon. You can also travel via train, using the Eurostar, which is available from London and Paris. There is also the option of driving to the Alps yourself, as you can cross the channel by ferry or the Channel Tunnel.