Insights: Crans-Montana Property
Insights: Crans-Montana Property. Alpine Property intelligence recently caught up with our partners at LIVIN’CRANS in Crans-Montana to discuss the trends they are seeing and how they see the market this season.
• First of all, after the prodigious snowfall of the 2017-18 season, did you see a follow through of interest from buyers into the summer and autumn?
As in all alpine resorts, snowfall has a direct impact on the market. This “white gold” has therefore helped real estate transactions in the region. However, Crans-Montana has several golf courses and many events, the summer season is also very lively. As for the autumn, it is a favorable time for buyers to finalise a purchase to make use of of their property in the mountains by the end of the year holidays.
• Do you think it was only a positive effect from the fantastic ski conditions, or can you identify other factors that are supporting the interest?
The exceptional snowfall of last winter actually attracted more tourists. In addition to this important snow, the Magic Pass has increased the attendance of the ski area by new visitors. On the other hand, the Tourist Office of Crans-Montana and various local development companies organized a large number of events of various sizes throughout the winter.
• What sort of properties do you see most in demand?
The range of properties available in Crans-Montana is very diversified, which is why it is not easy to find the ‘right place’ the client has in mind. More often than not, buyers are looking for apartments rather than individual chalets. Buyers in the resort usually are with their family, so it is safe to say that apartments of two bedrooms and more are sought after by the average buyer.
• Is there enough for sale in the area?
Yes, there is plenty for sale but, contrary to what the press reports, it is not an over-supplied market. There are between 800 and 900 properties for sale in Crans-Montana. The figure may seem considerable but if we bear in mind the population living in the station at Christmas of about 50,000 people, the number of properties available is reasonable.
• Are there any ‘soft spots’ in the market in Crans currently, where might canny buyers find a good deal?
There are occasionally good real estate deals to be made but they do not arise from “weaknesses” of the market. The resort is large and the neighbourhoods well defined. The centre and the “upscale” neighbourhoods near golf courses or ski lifts are the most popular and, de facto, the most expensive. Moving away from these areas, properties are offered at lower prices based on quality and level of services. In general, here as elsewhere, it is the opportunity that defines the deal. For example, in the case of inheritance, the heirs sometimes wish to sell their property quickly and, consequently, lower their expectations. The good deal is therefore rather more down to certain factors (succession, divorce, change of life, illness, etc.) than real weaknesses in the market.
• How is the new development market in Crans? Which are the best new projects you would flag to our readers?
Lex Weber has significantly slowed down the market for new developments. However, some new residences are still available on the Haut Plateau. At the top of the list, the extraordinary hotel development of Six Senses Residences will offer a luxury hotel of 47 suites and a real estate extension of 17 exceptional apartments. The Barnes Suisse group, which has the exclusivity and coordination of sales for this project, has also entrusted the marketing to LIVIN’CRANS. The group of Mr. Radovan Vitek has also been approved by the municipal and local authorities to build a hotel with 50 rooms, 33 suites, 32 residences with hotel services and 22 second homes. The construction of this complex will be at the foot of the Crans Cry d’Er slopes and will be joined with a considerable development including a spa, a restaurant and several shops.
• Please tell us about significant new infrastructures, new hotels, events in Crans.
In terms of other new projects, the Alaïa Chalet Centre is nearly completed and will offer skateboarding, freeski, snowboard, mountain bike, BMX, rollerblading, scooter and some new generation programs for millennials and Generation Z. The Alaïa Chalet will be Switzerland’s first indoor and outdoor action sports centre, with more than 5,000m2. This high-quality facility will be available at affordable prices throughout the year. It is certain that this new type of offer will attract a younger client category in the region.
The resort has been lacking a communal aquatic center, local authorities are working on the Aqualoisirs project that will be situated at the edge of lake Moubra. The municipalities of the station voted for a CHF 67m budget. The redevelopment of the Moubra site will certainly give a boost to the real estate market in this area of Crans-Montana.
As for events, they come to life according to the season. In summer, the Omega European Masters, the Sublime Festival, folk festivals and other street entertainment (etc.) occur throughout the resort.
During the winter season Crans-Montana hosts Ski World Cup (FIS) events. The activities are numerous: between Icecross Downhill in the heart of Montana, next to the ice rink, skiing, cross-country skiing or hiking, downhill snowtubing on Ballesteros golf course, and the magnificent snow park of Cry d’Er visitors can enjoy the excellent facilities available to them in winter. Overlooking the snowpark, Cry d’Er’s restaurant is transformed into a clubbing venue for lovers of electro music during the weekends. The renowned Caprices Festival usually concludes the winter season by receiving the best DJs on the planet.
• In general, how would you describe price trends in Crans over the last 12 months?
As is the case elsewhere, the prices of second homes have dropped. However, not all properties are impacted in the same way. It would be inaccurate not to say that the decline is mainly in the luxury resale market. Because it must be admitted, the price inflation of luxury properties from 2000 to 2010 (even 2012) is over. During these bountiful years, the scarcity and the boom lit up the luxury market and some developments sold at a high prices. Unfortunately, as everywhere, this exuberance led to significant price falls (Dubai was a classic example). On the other hand, more modest but still luxury properties have not declined.
• What would be your best advice to current or potential sellers in terms of timing, how and when to list your property?
There is no set rule for the timing of sales however it can be considered that the interest of buyers often materialises just after peak periods. From experience, agents in the resort know that just after the Omega European Masters (first week of September), buyers are more prevalent and often hope to enjoy their new acquisitions during the holiday season.
• Finally, if you had to pick one chalet or apartment, of all the properties you have for sale, as your favourite, which one would it be?
The question is difficult but if I had to select just one right now, it would be this apartment in the Mountain Golf residence which covers the entire first floor of a luxury building and just a few minutes walk from the centre of Crans. The quality of the building, its proximity to the centre, its breathtaking view and its price make this apartment one of the most attractive in the current market at the luxury end.