|(ne)Chamonix's long-standing reputation as a premier international ski destination has seen people buying property in the area for many years, and has perhaps given more stable prices than some of the other areas in the Haute Savoie. Nevertheless, there remains a strong and buoyant market where prices have practically doubled in the last five years and continue to rise. Properties at up to 1.5 million Euros are not uncommon, and prices can reach 2 million Euros for the most spectacular.|
The size and density of the area's towns and resorts mean that there is a greater variety of property on offer than any other area in the Haute Savoie. A large selection of apartments come onto the market, particularly in Chamonix Mont-Blanc, as well as plenty of chalets, town houses, farms and maisons in the surrounding towns and villages. However, there is a distinct lack of land meaning new builds are virtually non existent. Also noticeable is the absence of on-piste properties given the nature of skiing in the valley. However, at the same time there is a larger than normal proportion of properties on the shuttle-bus route.
The area is also popular for new business start-ups, with many people attracted by the long winter season and strong summer season. Mid size, individual chalets are often the basis for these catered chalet businesses. The downsizing trend in the UK has also resulted in a number of buyers using the equity released to purchase properties as holiday homes, whilst a significant number of people have bought properties as investments hoping to receive a rental income from their property.
Rather unsurprisingly, Mégève`s idyllic setting, traditional charm and picture perfect properties has ensured the development of a booming property market, with top end prices to match. Indeed, Mégève offers some of the highest property prices in France, more than justifying its reputation as the `Mayfair` of the Alps. A doubling of prices in the last five years has meant that for most people Mégève itself is simply unaffordable, but an increasing number of buyers are looking to invest in more affordable surrounding areas that are benefiting from the `Mégève effect`. Praz sur Arly in particular has benefited from its proximity to the town itself.
Mégève can and does accommodate all manner of extravagancies with buyers able choose from a range of decadent and well-appointed properties - at a cost. With a minimum price of 1.5 million Euros and no upper limit, most buyers resign themselves to day trips to the town and look to other resorts or the surrounding areas as a more affordable option. But for those able to afford Mégève`s undoubted charms, no other resort in the French Alps offers such opulent luxury.
Compared with other Alpine resorts, properties in the Mégève have been less privy to speculative investments. Buyers into the area tend to be very much looking for properties for life that they can be proud of and pass down through the generations. Furthermore, the prohibitive cost has meant that very few new businesses are set up. The tourist market is characetrised by a lack of tourist companies, hotels and catered chalets. Indeed, 75% of tourist beds in Mégève are non-commercial in that they are people staying in or letting out their own chalets or apartments.
In terms of property types, the majority of the market consists of apartments and individual chalets. Land is extremely scarce and there are unlikely to be many new builds after 2005. Although there are over 60 farms in the valley, most are still real working Alpine farms with the local authorities and the Rothschild family who founded Mégève continuing to support farming in the area. Coupled with the trend for passing down properties through the generations, this has meant that fewer traditional agricultural properties come onto the market than in other areas such as the Portes du Soleil.