If you are into mountains, then there is a good chance that you will have heard of Chamonix – the adventure playground in the French Alps for adults. If you haven’t heard of it then you can find out right here why it’s one of the most stable property markets in the world.
Situated at the very foot of Mt Blanc Chamonix sits in a stunning mountain setting you cannot help but be moved by. Approaching the valley by road (the usual route) you become humbled by the magnificent soaring peaks and jagged landscape. Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in western Europe leaving Chamonix in an enviable position for mountain sports enthusiasts and tourism.
Just a short distance from Mont Blanc towers another outrageous peak that you can actually get a cable car up – the Aiguille du Midi which looks down upon the town from its 3800 metres. The route is also used a starting point to the world famous Vallee Blanche off piste ski run and until recently a starting point for base jumping. A trip up ‘the Midi’ is an experience in itself and certainly lends the valley to your more pedestrian punter. Recent tourist additions include ‘step into the void’ a fancy glass box which lets you marvel at the surrounding landscape including the drop below you.
And that is the magic of Chamonix, there is something there for all comers. Its’ very international, cosmopolitan population welcome visitors from all places and backgrounds. Some come here never to return they are so overcome by the beauty and character of the Chamonix Valley. It certainly holds some kind of special electrical magnetism as once you’ve been you always want to go back for more.
Chamonix boasts some of the most extreme off piste skiing in Europe, so every winter season attracts top skiers and boarders as well as amateurs year in year out. Hundreds of millions of euros are being spent on Chamonix over the next few years by the Compagnie du Mont Blanc to to keep it at the forefront of world ski resorts. As well as the extreme edge of things there is also plenty of family friendly skiing and the town itself boats a wide array of international cuisine and bars.
It’s not just the skiing though – the summer time also attracts large amounts of visitors to the area (many to climb – and hike or fly) so rental properties can be busy the whole year round with holiday lets – if that’s what you’re looking for then property management companies abound in Chamonix, they can help to look after your investment if you’re not going to be there all the time.
The 12 months leading up to to 2015 saw an average price rise of 10% for a small apartment in Chamonix town centre. An apartment can be bought for around €150,000 and has immediate rental possibilities with some companies now paying you for the whole of the winter season in advance if you have a suitable property. Larger apartments can cost anything up to €500k and beyond.
For the small investor tiny ’studios’ which are basically like 0 bedroom flats can be found for €70K if you look around. The rental market is strong and websites like Chamsocial or AirBNB can be used to advertise lettings if you want to do it yourself. The key is to find a modern place with plenty of light and good heating that is within walking distance of the centre of Chamonix, then rents are pretty much guaranteed, winter and summer.
At the higher end of things Chamonix offers some of the most wonderful luxury Chalet properties from around €1m and up to €20m and beyond with excellent rental possibilities. Huge luxury chalets with all possible trimmings can be found here. There are some magnificent examples of full refurbishments for example:
Infinity Lodge in Les Houches – a wonderful farmhouse renovation
Chamonix is also the spiritual home of mountaineering (at least in Europe) and was the birth place of the first ever Winter Games in 1924 so an investment in the area is about as solid as the rock that you see soaring around the valley.
Property prices don’t go down in Chamonix they generally maintain a steady level and seem to be protected from negative world wide trends and property crashes. This chart shows the strength of property in the French Alps.
Chart showing average house prices in the French Alps for the last 18 years courtesy of meilleursagents.com
The town has its own alpine history to make it the special place that it is, unlike more purpose built ski resorts you’ll find in the alps. Chamonix was a place in itself a long time before the ski industry came along. The very first hotel was built here in 1816.
Being accessible is another one of Chamonix’s charms. With Geneva airport just over an hour away the place is very easy to access and the large amount of connections from Geneva make Chamonix easy to reach from anywhere in the world.
When it comes to price per square foot Chamonix is still one of the best value resorts in the Alps but is getting more popular all the time! The recent unpegging of the Swiss Franc and the Euro has increased the number of people looking to buy property in Chamonix for potential investment – the Swiss being amongst the top 3 countries buying there, with the UK and France leading the charge.
Scattered around the valley there are some wonderful smaller communities that are worth your investigation also such as Les Praz, Les Moussoux, Argentiere, Les Houches, Servoz, Vaudagne and Les Bossons amongst others for people wanting to be in the valley but not in the town itself, which can get very busy in August.
These charming areas can also be slightly cheaper than the town (apart from Les Praz) and should not be dismissed when searching for the ideal property.