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New 2nd Homes attracting a record number of ‘sNOwMADS’

miodrag.spahic

Miodrag Spahić - Feb 26, 2024

The investment in ski centres in the region has been phenomenal over the last 5 years resulting in the firm creation of a new and exciting destination for ski enthusiasts from all over the world. And this is just the beginning! Over the next 5 years, our region will boast over 500km of ski trails overtaking Italy, and closely trailing Switzerland and France to become the 3rd largest ski region in Europe.

In unison with the ski infrastructure underway, the arrival of hotels and 2nd homes to cater for the expected unprecedented increase in visitors is equally impressive. Our region is building thousands of branded residences and homes for ‘sNOwMADS’, looking for semi-permanent bases during the winter months.

In the next 2 years, the ski centres will herald the arrival of global brands including Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts (opening this winter in Kolasin, Montenegro), Crowne Plaza, Pullman, Viceroy Hotel Kapaonik, Kempinski and many more.

Equally important, is that the costs for your winter holiday or 2nd home in the regions ski areas are a fraction of the prices in established eyewatering prices destinations such as France where a coffee can be 15 Euro for instance compared to 2 Euro in our region in places.

Second homes in ski centres in the region is the new investment insight for savvy buyers. Entering the market at this early stage for real estate is expected to bring significant yields and price growth from what today are very competitive price bases. In this exclusive feature, we explore the regional and global markets and the opportunities for unique winter holidays and exceptional real estate investments which appear very clear.

Several segments of the report are extracted with permissions and thanks to Savills ski research team and their latest ski report which can be found on www.savills.com

JEREMY ROLLASON, HEAD OF SAVILLS SKI

2022 was another extraordinary year in the ski property market. The winter season of 2021/22 allowed many of the world’s ski resorts to reopen fully, bringing tourists back to the mountains – after, for some, a two-year gap. While the Western hemisphere’s season commenced largely unhindered, the Eastern hemisphere suffered at the hands of Covid-19. A shortened season did not deter buyers, however, even if they were unable to physically travel to resorts. Long-held ambitions to acquire a ski property were realised by many during the latter half of 2021 and the first half of 2022, with keen competition emerging among buyers chasing limited stock.

This added fuel to a trend that began in 2021, with asking prices being driven higher by opportunistic vendors seeking what, in normal times, would be considered a price premium. The last two years have, however, been far from the norm in this specialist market, with prices rising on average by an unprecedented rate since 2020. In Aspen, the same two-year period, average prime asking prices have risen by an astonishing 78%. And among traditionally more ‘affordable’ resorts, Chamonix and Morzine both experienced price growth of 41% during the same period, with Saas-Fee and Wengen in Switzerland increasing by 34% and 38% respectively.

The European Alps are the birthplace of skiing, with the highest participating population in the sport, and remains the world’s leading ski destination. Attracting the highest number of skiers on average and maintaining the top spot as the most internationally visited ski destination, other regions are yet to compete on the same scale.

The ability to work from home is a concept that the Alps are quickly adapting to. Tourism and leisure companies are offering guests out of season deals for stays ranging from four weeks to three months and local businesses are adjusting to second homeowners occupying their residences for longer periods. 90% of Savills Ski agents said that property owners are staying for longer periods of time, and 60% said that owners are working remotely from their alpine residences.

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SAVILLS PRIME RESORTS INDEX

Savills prime price league compares more than 40 of the world’s leading ski resorts to determine which has the highest asking price per square metre.

TOP 20 PRIME SKI RESORTS (asking price per square metre)

Prime residential ski property demand has remained undeterred despite the impact of the pandemic on international travel. The economic headwinds of rising inflation and subsequent tightening of monetary policy, as central banks across the world increase interest rates, are yet to be felt within this specialist market segment. Compared with wider property market trends, ski property buyers are generally more reliant upon equity than debt to fund their purchases.

The price growth seen in the ultra- prime market during the last year has filtered through to the prime market. The unwavering appeal of the mountains, lifestyle and open spaces, attracts those seeking to retreat from urban life.

Prime ski residential property is an attractive store for accumulated wealth, as well as a sentimental, life-aspiration purchase for many. Across the 46 resorts that we track in our index, prime residential asking prices grew by more than 20% in the last year on average and over 30% since 2020. This is more than double the average national house price growth over the same period for skiing nations. Increasing prices were driven by pent-up demand and a lack of stock, with average prime listings falling 28% year on year and by 25% since 2020.

SAVILLS ULTRA-PRIME SKI RESORTS INDEX.

Compared with last year, the top-ten most expensive resorts for ultra-prime (top tier of prime properties in each resort) remain largely unchanged. North American resorts retain first and second place: Aspen Snowmass offers 5,500 acres of skiing and following closely behind is Vail, the nation’s most-visited ski resort. Average asking prices grew year-on-year to above €50,000 per square metre for both resorts, fuelled by domestic market clientele comprising of both families and corporate visitors. Despite some restrictions during the 2021/22 winter season, French resorts still comprise half of the top-ten super-prime resorts. Courchevel* and Chamonix have retained their positions. Courchevel’s asking price increased by 3% and Chamonix held constant at just under €30,000 per square metre.

TOP 10 ULTRA PRIME SKI RESORTS (asking price per square metre)

Source: Savills Research

Note: Based on the top tier of prime properties in each resort with exchange rates as of September 2022. *Includes Courchevel Le Praz, 1550 & 1650. Resort location represents position in the top 10 not geographical position.

HOTELS & BRANDED RESIDENCES – UNIQUE. BESPOKE. LUXURY.

Hotels have historically been un- branded in many global ski markets; however as land, building, operational and labour costs continue to rise, competitive international brands are entering and expanding in the ski resort sphere. Of the 42 prime global resorts we analysed, the market share for branded hotels is growing through the pipeline forecast period. Branded properties comprise half of the hotels opened in ski locations since 2015, and account for 85% of the future pipeline, demonstrating a trend towards larger hotel group brands.

High-end hotels offer luxury, tailored and experiential stays to their clientele. One way in which hotels are strengthening their brand and enhancing their customer experience is through branded residences.

Having experienced significant price appreciation over the past two years, resorts with high quality stock, infrastructure investment and dual-seasonality appeal, are likely to continue to be the beneficiaries of further growth.

With the global return to some form of normality, skiers have the opportunity to return to the slopes, and the prime residential market looks set to benefit for the foreseeable future. Having experienced significant price appreciation over the past two years, resorts with high quality stock, infrastructure investment and dual-seasonality appeal, are likely to continue to be the beneficiaries of further growth, especially given the flexibility that agile working has provided.

FROM GLOBAL TO REGIONAL

When we look at the prices and price growth increments in international resorts, 2nd home properties in the region are priced very appealingly. Even compared to the lowest priced prime properties in Villars, the new branded and non branded residences coming onto the market are up to 75% less expensive meaning that the properties in ski areas in the region represent tremendous value and are consistently attracting savvy early investors.

This is obvious in Kolasin, Montenegro for instance. We asked Ivan Filipovic from Kolasin Valley’s to outline their plans.

Ivan Filipović, Sales Manager Kolašin Valleys

Nestled in the heart of the Balkans, Kolašin emerges as the region’s up-and-coming destination for ski enthusiasts, capturing the attention of adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. Situated in the picturesque mountains of Montenegro, Kolašin offers a unique blend of pristine natural beauty and exciting winter sports opportunities.

Vicinity of the airport in Capital of Podgorica (80km) and ease of access from the coast via newly built highway bring Kolašin very near to all Points of Interest in Montenegro and region, a true rarity amongst Ski Resorts.

Touristic and residential facilities have been in rapid development, bringing globally recognized hotel franchises to Kolašin. The ski infrastructure in Kolašin is also under continuous expansion, with modern facilities and well-groomed slopes, catering to skiers of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner hitting the slopes for the first time, Kolašin has something to offer. At this moment it offers roughly 45km of ski slopes, with already contracted extensions to 89km in two years, and up to 141km plan before the end of this decade.

This is precisely the key thing that separates Kolašin from the competition – the renowned Canadian company in Mountain Resort & Slopes planning “Ecosign”, has designed a plan that includes 4 villages and 241 km of trails. The first phase/village of the plan is under construction (Kolašin Valleys). With over 700 units and 18 Chalets under construction, it aims to become the biggest and most luxurious mountain resort in the region.

Naturally, all of this has caused real estate investors to turn their eye North and take advantage of the opportunity for early-bird, offplan investments. Prices per square meter start from 2,500 EUR in newly built Private residential buildings in the town of Kolašin, to 7,000 EUR in Swissotel Resort Kolašin, opening this Winter season, part of “Kolašin Valleys” ski-in & ski-out resort. Next ski season (2024/2025), the opening of at least 6 new hotels, both in the city and on the ski slopes, has been announced, after which, according to projections, significant increases in Real Estate prices is expected, especially within branded residences. At this moment, average price for a property with ski-in and ski-out option is 5,500 EUR per square meter.

As word spreads about this hidden gem in the Balkans, Kolašin is poised to become a premier winter sports destination, where adventure and relaxation blend seamlessly amidst the snow-covered peaks. With its growing popularity, now is the ideal time to discover the magic of Kolašin before it becomes a household name in the world of skiing.

Dejan Ćika, Director of the Public Enterprise “Ski Resorts of Serbia”

“I am proud to announce the beginning of the new ski season in Serbia. Public Enterprise Ski Resorts of Serbia continuously works on improving our ski resorts and infrastructure to provide ski-snowboard enthusiasts with an unforgettable experience in the mountains. For the 2023/2024 season, we have several projects planned that will contribute to the quality of skiing and enjoying natural beauty.

At our Kopaonik Ski Centre, expect the completion of artificial snow making projects on the ski slopes Krčmar, Karaman greben 1 and 2, as well as the construction of the new Bela Reka 3 ski slope. We also have a new panoramic plateau on Pančićevo Brdo that will provide you with a spectacular view of the surroundings.

On Mali Karaman, we have also built a panoramic plateau that will provide you with unique views, and on Zlatibor we have improved the amenities by adding a toboggan run and by building a sightseeing platform on Tornik. The viewpoint will allow you to enjoy the natural beauty of Zlatibor and neighbouring Montenegro.

We expect that these projects will improve your experience at our ski resorts and that people will enjoy the charms of the winter season. Thank you for your support, and we look forward to welcoming you on the slopes.”

Alen Udovič, Director – Ski Resort Platak, Croatia

The Croatian ski resort Platak, located in the Gorski Kotar region, opens its season in mid-December with new investment, the new fourseater worth 4.8 million euros (HRK 33 million), and this is the largest investment in the history of Platak. The investment was fully financed and carried out by the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County through the Goran Sports Center. This is one of the largest capital projects in this county, which has invested nearly 10 million euros over ten years in Platak.

The new cable car is 800 meters long, has 114 chairs, some of which are equipped with bike racks. The total height difference to be overcome from the lower to the upper station is 244 meters, while the length of the cable car route is about 870 meters.

Platak is unique because it is only ten kilometers away from the sea, and there is a mix of mountain and Mediterranean climate. This can be challenging, says Alen Udovič, director of the Goran sports center, especially with climate changes and global warming. That is why they had invested in the snowmaking syste two years ago.

“That investment extended our season, and the new investment will improve the quality of service and increase user satisfaction, which can also increase our results. Last winter, Platak had 75,000 visitors in 74 days of skiing, while in the summer months we had 55,000 guests. If the conditions are like last year, in 2023. we expect the same or even better results,” said Udovič.

Jani Janša, Director and Owner of “Ski Resorts Krvavec”, Slovenia

Dear valued guests,                                                                                                                                                                                                                         We are pleased to announce that the winter season on Krvavec is fast approaching. Our team is constantly working to improve our lifts, slopes, and supporting infrastructure which reflects in the fact that Krvavec is an eight times award winner for the best Slovenian ski resort. For the 2023/2024 season, we have prepared several new features that will make skiing even more enjoyable.The biggest novelty is the new six-seater chairlift Zvoh. You can ride to the highest point of the ski area with a covered and heated Leitner lift. We have also taken care of snowmaking on the Zvoh slope, so we will not be dependent on nature alone. The slopes will be groomed with new snow groomers operated by experienced drivers with excellent knowledge of the Krvavec terrain. Of course, a warm lunch or snack on the still new Plaža terrrace is a must during skiing, and there is always something to quench your thirst. We are continuing the tradition of the exceptionally affordable price of a half liter beer. Additionally every Friday and Saturday you will enjoy an Apres Ski party with live music on Plaža terrace. The news will also spill over into the 2024 summer season. You have already had the opportunity to try the completely renovated adventure park, you will be able to stretch your muscles on the trim trail, try your hand at disc golf, and recharge your batteries at the energy points ontop of Zvoh. We hope that you will enjoy Krvavec even more with all the new features and improvements.

Dejan Ljevnaić, Executive Director OC Jahorina

 

This season is particularly important because it marks the 40th anniversary of the Olympic Winter Games that will live forever in our hearts. We plan to rekindle the old flame of passion for winter sports in everyone who remembers that unforgettable period and pass that passion on to new generations.

Many novelties, promotions and exciting events await us throughout the season.  The season will be opened in a spectacular way with a concert of our friend Zdravko Čolić, who will make you feel the spirit of community and celebration that connects us even stronger.

In addition to marking this great jubilee, we also have a special plan for the future – the organization of a ski camp on beautiful Jahorina. This step is part of our broader vision and commitment to enriching the experience of children, so that they feel the same passion for winter sports as we do. I want to emphasize that I, myself learned to ski at one of these camps, and I remember it as one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. That is why I am deeply aware of how such experiences can shape the future and create unforgettable memories.

By Kieran Kelleher, Managing Director Savills Croatia and Montenegro.

 

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