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Buying a property in the French Alps: a complete guide

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property investment the French Alps

Yes, the analysis of the French Alps' property market is included in our pack

Considering buying real estate in The French Alps? You're not alone!

Many people are drawn to the French Alps' stunning landscapes and fantasize about owning a ski chalet or a mountain retreat there.

Is it worth investing there, though? Are property prices increasing in the French Alps? How much does it cost? Is it better to invest in Chamonix or Annecy? Are there any hidden fees? Where can you get a yield above 7%?

In this article, everything is sorted out for you.

The Investropa team knows this market like the back of their hand. Actually, we've compiled all our findings in one pack. Get it now.

In this article, we'll provide you with helpful information.

How is the property market in the French Alps?

Confused about the property market's status? Everyone has their views. We prefer data and statistics over opinions for accurate assessments.

Property types

In the French Alps, you can find a variety of properties for sale, ranging from charming chalets and cozy mountain cabins to modern apartments and spacious villas.

These properties cater to different preferences and needs, whether you're looking for a traditional alpine retreat with stunning mountain views, a convenient and well-equipped apartment close to ski resorts, or a luxurious villa offering both comfort and elegance amidst the natural beauty of the region.

The options in the French Alps encompass a diverse range of styles and sizes, ensuring that potential buyers can discover a property that suits their lifestyle and aspirations.

Better to buy or rent?

(If you're buying for yourself and not to rent out)

If the French Alps have captured your heart as your destination of choice, you might be considering whether it's better to buy a property or opt for renting in this beautiful mountain region.

Generally, buying is a better choice than renting in the French Alps due to the potential for long-term appreciation in property values and the ability to benefit from rental income.

In contrast, for those who seek flexibility, renting is the recommended option.

Property prices in the French Alps

On average, according to the last data from National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), buying a property in the French Alps would cost you around $6,500 per square meter.

Obviously, there are significant differences. The value of a square meter for a chalet in the French Alps might differ from an apartment in Grenoble. You'll get a more detailed in our pack for buying property in the French Alps and in France.

To put things in perspective, it means that, instead of purchasing a flat in Manhattan, you can become the owner of 2 properties in the French Alps.

Also, housing prices in the French Alps are higher (8%) than in Lyon.

The most expensive places in the French Alps are probably Courchevel, Megève, Chamonix, and Val d'Isère. The cheapest places in the French Alps are likely smaller villages in the Savoie and Haute Savoie regions.

the French Alps Property Price per Square Meter


First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that France currently stands out for its remarkable stability. The last Fragile State Index that has been reported for this place is 30.9.

Consider this when wondering if it's a good investment to buy a property in the French Alps.

Also, according to the IMF’s forecasts, France's economy is expected to soar by 6.7% in the coming 5 years, resulting in an average GDP growth rate of 1.3%.

If you want to invest in real estate in the French Alps it's a good thing because when the economy grows, people tend to become wealthier, which usually results in higher housing prices.

Also, in France, the average GDP per capita has changed by 1.7% over the last 5 years. Though not substantial, there is still a positive trend of growth.

Looking for more updated data? We've done a big-picture study to find out if it's a good idea to purchase property in France right now.

Buying property in the French Alps

It can be difficult to buy property in the French Alps due to the lack of reliable and up-to-date information available. That's why we have created the pack to buy property in the French Alps and in France.

Buying process

In our pack, we've explained the entire process of buying properties in a detailed way. We've pointed out the mistakes to steer clear of, shared tips for finding properties that give you the best returns, and provided information about taxes and necessary documents.

Now, we're giving you a simplified version of the buying process.

This is the step-by-step process to purchase a property in the French Alps:

  1. Research the specific regions in the French Alps and property options available.
  2. Secure financing or funds for the purchase, considering French banking requirements.
  3. Hire a local real estate agent with expertise in the French Alps market.
  4. Visit and inspect properties, considering factors like altitude and access during winter.
  5. Make an offer through the agent and negotiate with the seller.
  6. Sign a preliminary sales agreement (compromis de vente), including property details, price, and conditions.
  7. Conduct property surveys and inspections, including diagnostic reports.
  8. Finalize mortgage arrangements with a French bank (if applicable).
  9. Sign the final deed of sale (acte de vente) before a French notary, where the ownership is transferred.
  10. Transfer funds and pay associated fees, including notary fees, property taxes, and registration costs.
  11. Obtain specific documents like the "diagnostic de performance énergétique" (energy performance certificate).
  12. Recei

    Also, if you're not from the country, you might want to check our article on how to buy property as a foreigner in France.

    Make a profitable investment in the French Alps

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    buying property in the French Alps

    Where to find a property

    Here is a list of websites where you can find properties in the French Alps:

    • French Entrée - A comprehensive guide to buying property and living in France, featuring property listings, guides, and lifestyle articles.
    • My French House - An award-winning property portal specializing in houses, villas, and properties for sale in France. They offer expert advice and a bespoke home hunting service.
    • French Property - A leading online portal for property in France, offering a wide range of properties for sale and rent.
    • Houses & Apartments - A leading real estate website offering a wide selection of apartments and houses for sale in various locations in France.
    • - They offer a wide range of properties for sale and rent. It also provides information on new homes, agents, lifestyle, news, and commercial properties.

    Also, know that we have included contacts of real estate agencies, property lawyers, moving companies, expats communities and more in our pack for buying property in France.

    Which properties for which budget?

    As mentioned before, the average price per sqm in the French Alps is $6,500. A 1-bedroom property with a size of 60 square meters would cost approximately $390,000, and a 2-bedroom property with a size of 85 square meters would cost approximately $553,000.

    However, the cost of properties will fluctuate depending on both their characteristics and their location.

    Investing in real estate in the French Alps' prime locations often comes with a heftier cost. A residence in Chamonix might be around $1,580,000, whereas a condominium in Megève could be priced at $690,000.

    Certain places come obviously with a lower price tag. You may find a property in Albertville for $300,000, or you could come across one in Chambéry priced at only $250,000.

    Find a more detailed breakdown in our full pack for buying property in France.

    Mistakes to avoid

    Here are the main pitfalls when buying property in the French Alps:

    • Mountainous terrain: Some properties may have challenging access or limited parking due to steep slopes and snowy conditions.
    • Regional building restrictions: Specific regulations may apply to protect the natural landscape, limiting construction possibilities.
    • Alpine weather risks: Properties may be prone to snow-related damage, necessitating higher insurance coverage and maintenance costs.
    • Vacation rental laws: France has strict rental regulations, and specific permits may be required for short-term rentals.
    • Leaseback pitfalls: Beware of leaseback agreements with guaranteed returns, as the rental income may not meet expectations.
    • French property tax: Understand local tax laws, including annual property taxes and capital gains taxes.
    • Heritage preservation restrictions: Historic properties may have preservation obligations that restrict renovations or modifications.
    • French legal system: Navigating the legal process in a foreign language and understanding French contracts can be challenging for non-French speakers.

    We don't want this to happen to you, so we have included a full checklist for your property investment in our pack of documents. Avoid these mistakes and save a lot of money.

    real estate France

    Everything you need to know is included in our France Property Pack

    Living in the French Alps

    Living in the French Alps offers a picturesque and peaceful lifestyle, with stunning views of the mountains and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.

    Cost of living

    The cost of living in the French Alps is generally higher than other parts of France due to the higher cost of goods and services, as well as the cost of housing in the popular ski resorts. However, it is still possible to find affordable options, particularly in the less touristy villages and towns.

    Here are some examples to better understand the cost of living in the French Alps:

    • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the charming village of "Annecy-le-Vieux" near Lake Annecy: $1,300 per month.
    • A meal at a local restaurant with "Tartiflette," a traditional Alpine dish with reblochon cheese: $30.
    • Monthly transportation pass for the "Ligne Verte" buses in Grenoble: $70.
    • Utilities (electricity, water) for a small apartment in "Les Houches" ski resort: $90 per month.
    • A glass of "Génépi," a herbal liqueur unique to the French Alps: $6.
    • Lift pass for a day of skiing in "Les Deux Alpes": $50.
    • Monthly membership at a fitness center in the Alpine town of "Chambéry": $40.
    • A bottle of "Vin de Savoie," a local wine from the Savoy region: $15.

    Areas and spots

    We want to show information in an easy-to-understand way. So, we made a table that summarizes the different parts of the French Alps. For yields, prices and rents, check our property pack.

    Place Description Strengths Weaknesses


    Chamonix is a renowned ski resort town, attracting tourists and outdoor enthusiasts all year round. It offers stunning views of Mont Blanc and a vibrant atmosphere with various recreational activities.

    High demand from tourists and skiers, picturesque location, excellent rental income potential.

    High property prices, potential seasonality in tourism, limited land for development.


    Annecy is a charming lakeside town with a historic old town and pristine lake, making it a popular destination for both summer and winter travelers.

    Strong tourism market, attractive lakeside properties, good transportation links.

    Competition for prime properties, limited space for expansion, high demand fluctuations.


    Grenoble is a dynamic city with a large student population and a diverse economy, making it an interesting location for long-term rental investments.

    Steady rental demand, strong educational and research institutions, diverse property options.

    Less of a traditional ski resort area, potential economic fluctuations, some neighborhoods may have lower rental demand.

    Les Deux Alpes

    Les Deux Alpes is a popular ski resort with extensive slopes and a lively après-ski scene, attracting ski enthusiasts and partygoers.

    Consistent winter tourism, diverse property investment opportunities, strong rental income potential.

    Seasonal market, reliance on winter sports, potential impact of climate change on snow conditions.


    Albertville is a historic town and a previous Winter Olympics host, which gives it a unique appeal to tourists and sports enthusiasts.

    Winter sports legacy, growing tourism industry, potential for Olympic-related developments.

    Smaller real estate market, seasonal nature of tourism, limited international appeal.


    Megève is a picturesque alpine village known for its luxury chalets, high-end shops, and gourmet restaurants, attracting affluent travelers.

    High-end luxury market, international appeal, strong demand for upscale rentals.

    Exclusive and expensive property prices, limited land availability, potential off-season lulls.


    Evian-les-Bains is a spa town on the shores of Lake Geneva, known for its mineral water and wellness tourism.

    Wellness tourism market, lakeside properties, proximity to Lake Geneva and Swiss border.

    Relatively small market, seasonal tourism, limited scope for ski-related investments.

    Life in the French Alps

    The French Alps have a diverse and vibrant economy, with a range of industries including tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing. The region is also home to a number of small businesses, and has seen a recent surge in investment in renewable energy and technology.

    What expats usually like the most in the French Alps are the stunning views of snow-capped mountains, the abundance of outdoor activities, and the laid-back atmosphere of the towns and villages.

    Access to healthcare in the French Alps is generally good, with a variety of public and private options available.

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    invest real estate in the French Alps

    Renting out in the French Alps

    This section is for you if your goal is to buy a property and rent it out to generate income.


    According to the data reported by Wikipedia, the home ownership rate in France is 65%, which is average.

    When people buy in the French Alps it's usually to live there, and not to rent out (or at least not to long-term tenants).

    If you decide to rent out long-term, you might want to target people who are looking for a winter ski holiday in the French Alps, as well as those who are looking for a summer retreat in the mountains. Many people who are interested in long-term rentals in the French Alps are looking for a peaceful and relaxing getaway in a beautiful, natural environment.

    Here is a little summary table we've made for you.

    Property type and area Profiles of potential tenants What they are looking for Expected monthly rent in $

    Chalet in Chamonix

    Ski enthusiasts, tourists

    Mountain views, proximity to ski resorts

    $1500 - $3000

    Apartment in Annecy

    Professionals, families

    Lake views, outdoor activities

    $1200 - $2500

    Studio in Grenoble

    Students, young professionals

    University proximity, city life

    $500 - $1000

    Mountain Cabin in Megève

    Luxury travelers, nature lovers

    Prestigious location, outdoor recreation

    $2000 - $5000

    Now, you will probably ask us about the yields. Unlike other places, giving you an average rental yield for the French Alps is tough. The region is quite varied. For instance, rental yields in popular ski resorts differ significantly from those in secluded mountain villages.

    Finally, if you want to rent long-term in the French Alps, be aware that the rental income tax stands at 45-50%, which is quite high.


    You could also decide to rent short-term to ski enthusiasts looking for a holiday in the French Alps, or to hikers who want to explore the region's mountain trails.

    If you decide to go with that option, look for properties in Chamonix, Morzine, Courchevel, and Les Arcs. These areas are popular ski resorts with many short-term rental opportunities.

Is it worth buying real estate in the French Alps then?

Buying property in the French Alps can be a fantastic idea for those who are truly passionate about the region's breathtaking natural beauty and are willing to invest not just financially but also emotionally. If you're someone who dreams of waking up to snow-capped mountains or lush alpine landscapes, owning a piece of the French Alps could be immensely rewarding.

If you plan to use the property for your own enjoyment, it's an excellent choice. You'll have the freedom to immerse yourself in the region's outdoor activities, whether it's skiing in the winter or hiking in the summer.

Moreover, the potential for long-term appreciation in property values and the opportunity to generate rental income, especially during peak tourist seasons, can make buying property in the French Alps a sound financial investment. The stable real estate market, positive economic forecasts, and the allure of the region for tourists all contribute to its attractiveness.

However, it's essential to recognize that the French Alps come with a higher cost of living, particularly in popular ski resorts. Additionally, navigating the buying process, understanding local regulations, and dealing with potential challenges like mountainous terrain and property taxes can be complex, especially for foreigners.

While buying property in the French Alps can be a dream come true for some, it may not be the right fit for everyone, especially those seeking short-term flexibility or a more budget-friendly destination. Therefore, it's a choice that should align with your personal aspirations, financial situation, and commitment to enjoying all that this remarkable region has to offer.

Make sure you understand the real estate market in the French Alps

Don't rush into buying the wrong property in France. Sit, relax and read our guide to avoid costly mistakes and make the best investment possible.

real estate market the French Alps

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement or advice. While we strive for accuracy, we do not guarantee the completeness or reliability of the information, including text, images, links, or other elements in this material. Following the content and analyses presented here does not assure specific outcomes. For guidance tailored to your individual circumstances, it is recommended to consult with a professional, such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor.