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St. Moritz, Gstaad, Kitzb├╝hel and Davos/Klosters rank among the most exclusive ski destinations in Europe, according to an Engel & V├Âlkers report. As well as being the host venues for major sporting events, they are also highly desirable real estate markets. Acquiring luxury homes in these prestigious locations is an attractive investment prospect for many buyers. In addition to being a stable investment, they are also interested in the immaterial return it offers in the form of private usage. Due to the high demand for premium property, Engel & V├Âlkers forecasts price rises for the most part in these exclusive winter destinations.

St. Moritz: Highest-Priced Homes Located on the Suvretta-Hang
The absolute top location in St. Moritz is the Suvretta-Hang. Mansions here with interiors spanning over 300 meters and offering ample privacy are particularly sought-after. Properties of this caliber sold in the first three quarters of 2017 for top prices of up to 70 million Swiss francs (approximately 60.1 million euros). Freehold apartments on the Suvretta-Hang sold for up to 35,000 Swiss francs per square meter (approximately 30,000 euros) during the same period.

High-profile and wealthy buyers are also drawn to exclusive houses and apartments in central locations such as the Via Tinus and Via Brattas, or overlooking Lake St. Moritz. There are restrictions imposed on the acquisition of residential property by international buyers in some Swiss holiday resorts. St. Moritz takes a special position here. The municipality has voted to override the so-called “Lex Koller” legislation for 2017 and 2018. This means that foreign clients are entitled to buy second homes with a maximum gross interior of up to 250 square meters without any restrictions. The ratio of international buyers in St. Moritz in the premium segment is currently approximately 40 percent. The majority of this buyer group is from Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

This mansion with panoramic Alpine views is currently for sale on the Suvretta-Hang, the prime location in St. Moritz. The property has an interior of some 1,680 square meters, with 10 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms. The property also has a 30 square meter terrace and a private spa with an indoor pool. Image Credit: Engel & V├Âlkers St. Moritz

This mansion with panoramic Alpine views is currently for sale on the Suvretta-Hang, the prime location in St. Moritz. The property has an interior of some 1,680 square meters, with 10 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms. The property also has a 30 square meter terrace and a private spa with an indoor pool. Image Credit: Engel & V├Âlkers St. Moritz

The property market in St. Moritz is currently undergoing a generational change. Increasing numbers of older homeowners are now selling their holiday properties, meaning that now is a good opportunity to invest in a second home in the resort.

“In the next 5-7 years, we are anticipating a limited number of available properties in the segment for second apartments, due to the ‘Lex Weber’ regulation,” says Barbara Jost-Derksen, managing partner of Engel┬á&┬áV├Âlkers in St. Moritz.

This law stipulates that municipalities may not, in most cases, have more than 20 percent second apartments, and restricts the construction of new apartments. According to Engel & V├Âlkers, property prices at prime addresses in St. Moritz will remain stable at a high level in the future.

Gstaad: Only Very Few Top Properties Come Onto the Market
Another sought-after and internationally renowned winter destination is Gstaad. Property buyers are drawn in particular by the authentic Alpine charm that can still be felt in the resort. The number of available property sales is far exceeded by the current level of demand, especially in the top price segment. Many homes remain under family ownership and, therefore, rarely come onto the market. The limited building land exacerbates this excess demand still further. There are currently a very small number of attractive new developments in the center of Gstaad and in Saanen.

The most exclusive residential location in Gstaad is Oberbort. Freehold apartments with an interior of 200 square meters or more and prestigious chalets are sought here. In the first three quarters of 2017, outstanding chalets changed owners for sale prices of up to 40 million Swiss francs (approximately 34.4 million euros). Freehold apartments fetched prices per square meter of up to 70,000 Swiss francs (approximately 60,100 euros).

Other desirable prime locations are Wispile and Gstaad Zentrum. Many different buyer groups are active in the center of the resort in particular. In addition to single buyers, young couples, families with children, and investors, international prospective buyers are also looking for freehold apartments in this location. In Gstaad, there are restrictions on foreign clients acquiring real estate. Nevertheless, around 60 percent of property buyers are based outside Switzerland, predominantly in Europe, followed by the Arab world.

“We expect to see a slight rise in prices in the premium segment over the next five years,” says Niclas Baumer, office manager at Engel & V├Âlkers in Gstaad.

Kitzb├╝hel: Surrounding Villages Profiting From the Excess Demand
Like Gstaad, Kitzb├╝hel is currently a sellers’ market as the demand exceeds supply by far. Even the increasing number of new building developments in recent years has not been able to meet the level of buyer interest in the Austrian holiday resort.

“Vacant land plots have become rare, so building contractors will find it hard in future to bring new projects onto the market,” says Wolfgang B├Âhm, managing partner of Engel & V├Âlkers in Kitzb├╝hel.

In the first three quarters of 2017, property prices in Kitzb├╝hel’s luxury segment increased over the previous year. The limited availability of homes for sale meant that exceptional properties reached top prices of up to 30 million euros. Prices for freehold apartments also rose. First-class apartments in prime locations sold for as much as 20,000 euros per square meter.

The most desirable address in Kitzb├╝hel remains the Sonnberg. Other areas such as the Bichlalm, Lebenberg, Steuerberg and the center of Kitzb├╝hel are also highly sought-after. Buyer groups include entrepreneurs looking for a work-life balance, high-profile personalities, and families. They are looking for contemporary Alpine residences with spa facilities, townhouses, and freehold apartments with high-end amenities. Interested buyers are looking here for a peaceful setting, mountain views, evening sunshine and a ski-in/ski-out option. Large garages are also becoming ever more popular. International buyers are particularly active on Kitzb├╝hel’s real estate market. Only EU citizens are permitted to purchase real estate in Tirol, so interest from clients in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK is especially high.

National buyers, on the other hand, often come from the greater Vienna region. Due to the excess demand, Engel & V├Âlkers in Kitzb├╝hel anticipates further price rises for residential properties in the future. Surrounding villages such as Aurach, Kirchberg, Reith and Ellmau also benefit from growing demand resulting from a shortage of properties coming onto the market.

Davos/Klosters: National Buyers Dominate the Market
As well as being the highest town in the Alps, Davos together with Klosters also forms one of the most desirable ski regions in Switzerland. International buyers are limited in their property investments due to the Lex Koller legislation. Subsequently, around 90 percent of the market is dominated by Swiss nationals. Most of them have their first home along the righthand banks of Lake ZurichÔÇöthe so-called “Gold Coast.”

Like in St. Moritz, the local property market is currently feeling the effects of a generational change. Older homeowners are selling, and many existing properties are coming onto the market as a result.

“At the top end of the market in particular we are currently seeing an increased demand,” says Jan Christmann, managing partner of Engel & V├Âlkers in Davos.

The absolute prime locations in Davos are the neighbourhoods B├Ârtji and Pal├╝da. Sale prices here for chalets in the first three quarters of 2017 reached up to 6 million Swiss francs (approximately 5.2 million euros). The top price per square meter for freehold apartments during the same period was 16,000 Swiss francs (approximately 13,700 euros). Holiday homes in these quarters are sought-after among families with grown-up children. They are looking to reside in chalets or large apartments and penthouses in particular, with an interior between 150 and 300 square meters. Buyers are particularly interested in proximity to the ski slope, ample sunshine and superb views.

Other desirable prime locations include Dischma, B├╝nda, Horlauben and the Promenade, as well as the Obere Strasse in the center of Davos. As a result of the Lex Weber regulation, second apartment developments are not permitted in Davos. A slight rise in prices in the premium segment can therefore be expected in the medium term.

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