Apartment prices are climbing the French Alps, according to one estate agent.
Leggett Immobilier has launched a quarterly Alpine property index. The report is based on over 100 quarterly valuations of a fixed sample of properties, including chalets, apartments, village and resort house, and highlights four key areas: Haut Alpes, Massif d'Aravis, Portes du Soleil and the Three Valleys.
There are variations depending on the local market, with prices in Portes du Soleil falling 1.2 per cent in the final quarter of 2014, while in the Three Valleys prices continued a strong run and grew by 1.8 per cent.
Overall, though, the inaugural report reveals that apartment prices rose last year by 1.3 per cent, while chalets fell by 1 per cent and houses dropped by 3.4 per cent.
Heather Byrne, area controller for the sales team in the Alps, comments: "Our quarterly Leggett Alpine Property Index (attached) clearly shows that international buyers view the property market here as having had the equivalent of a sprinkling of fresh powder in 2014. Lower prices and attractive interest rates are the two main drivers but we are also noticing a trend for year round demand in the Alps with walkers, and particularly cyclists, flocking to the mountains."
Leggett's report also looks at the effect that currency movements have on demand. For instance, the price of French property has fallen by 8.2 per cent for investors from the USA during 2014 and by 4.4 per cent for UK buyers, as the pound and the dollar have both performed well against the weakening euro.
Indeed, mortgage rates in France have also fallen to record lows in the past year, which, combined with the shifting exchange rates, fuelled foreign interest in French real estate. In 2014, Leggett saw a 49 per cent surge in sales to buyers of 33 different nationalities.
British buyers, though, were the ones leading the charge, thanks to the favourable conditions. The Russians, on the other hand, saw prices climb by 44.7 per cent thanks to the falling rouble.
A recent market overview by Leggett hailed 2014 as "the year that British buyers came back to the French market with a bang", noting that as well as Cote d'Azur's traditional appeal, the Alps fuelled activity.
"The market is coming back with British buyers laying down the first tracks," adds Byre. "As a company, we saw sales increase by 49 per cent last year proving that buyers are increasingly seeking a mixture of local knowledge and a balanced portfolio of property to choose from."