Eevery dedicated skier fantasises about buying a property in the mountains. With interest rates on euro mortgages at record lows and sterling strong against the euro, now may be the time to take the plunge.
For many Brits, France is the obvious choice, given the cheap flights and easy access via the Eurostar. Some ski resorts in France are purpose-built and only busy during the ski season, meaning rental income drops off in the summer months.
But a new small development in the Austrian Alps is targeting British skiers and snowboarders, with an offer to change all that. The Austrian village of Westendorf is the site of only 15 apartments available at Skiwelt Residences – each ranging from two to three bedrooms with a private sauna and spa area.
The highlight of this exclusive development is its location – Munich, Salzburg and Innsbruck within a 75min range. Westendorf is also within easy walking distance of the ski lift at Alpenrosenbahn, which links to 450km of outstanding piste. The freehold apartments are being sold fully furnished with an optional underground parking space.
The local authorities keep a tight rein on new developments to prevent the area turning into a haven for second homeowners who leave properties empty in the low season. But family-run SkiWelt Residences has rules in place requiring investors to rent their property out to prevent it turning into a ghost town.
The owner can choose between two rental schemes handled by tour operator Sundio Group. The first guarantees rental income throughout the year in five instalments, but you can only live in the property for a set number of weeks a season; the second option allows owners to book whenever they want but doesn’t guarantee rental income through the season.
Construction starts this spring and finishes in April 2017, but many British families have bought off-plan, placing a 5 per cent deposit. The resort appeals particularly to young families, as the nearby ski lifts means it is easy to get about, and keen golfers due to seven nearby golf courses, with the nearest being only 500m away.
“Westendorf is famous for its après-ski as are the surrounding Austrian towns,” says developer of Skiwelt Residences, Christoph Pöll. “We have some superb restaurants, such as the Rosengarten where you can expect more than a dozen courses of award-winning food and more varieties of Schnapps than you can taste in an evening.”
With well-connected properties that are good value for money, a stable economy and guaranteed rental income, you don’t have to be drinking Schnapps to see Austria’s potential.