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European ski chalets draw wealthy Russians: investment hedge as economy chills

January 21, 2015, 16:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Buying a mountain retreat has become a tool to diversify wealthy Russian skiers’ investment portfolio in an unstable economic environment, the analysts say
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© EPA/ALESSANDRO DELLA BELLA

MOSCOW, January 21. /TASS/. Wealthy Russians were among the top five buyers of ski chalets in European resorts at the end of 2014, joining elite ranks of investors from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, an international survey reveals.

The well-to-do from Russia have made their first appearance among purchasers on the piste, putting their names to five percent of desirable high-altitude homes.

Making their mark, they've a trudge ahead, though, to catch up in the league table, lagging buyers from Europe staking their claim to 61% of available properties up aloft and the 12% going both to money from the Middle East and Asia, says the Knight Frank Prime Ski Property Index.

Buying a mountain retreat has become a tool to diversify wealthy Russian skiers’ investment portfolio in an unstable economic environment, the analysts say. Average purchase price is put at between €1 million and €5 million.

Sales consultant Marina Kuzmina said Russians were mostly eyeing real estate at Courchevel, Meribel, St Moritz, Zermatt and Verbier in the French and Swiss Alps.

Andermatt, in Uri, Switzerland, was also making the Russians' hit list, she added — unlike most Swiss cantons, this offered an opportunity for non-residents to become owners. Popularity of this resort had climbed recently, Kuzmina said, priced at attractive levels below other Swiss locations.

Cluster communities grouping five to 10 apartments appear to the taste of Russian clients, the survey says — a preference it says looks set to stay in the year ahead.

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