Buying a luxury apartment in the Alps is widely perceived as the preserve of winter sport enthusiasts.
Of course, you can visit in summer – and the mountains are beautiful then too – but some resorts that thrive in winter can be a bit of a ghost town once the snow goes.
But if the purchase is in what is known as a dual-season season resort, buyers can get the benefits of using the property in both the winter and summer.
Les Gets in France is one such resort that caters as much for mountain bikers and hikers, as it does for skiers and snowboarders. MailOnline Property visited Les Gets to check out a new development of luxury freehold apartments and what summer sport facilities are on offer.
Annapurna is a new development of 38 apartments in the centre of Les Gets in the French Alps
The village of Les Gets is a dual-season resort open in both the winter and summer seasons
At 900 to 1,820 metres above sea level it may be fairly low altitude for the French Alps, but Les Gets is a favourite of British skiers. The key to that is that it is a pretty village with an abundance of classic ski chalets and a distinct absence of high-rise blocks.
Les Gets is between Geneva Lake and Mont Blanc, and belongs to the Portes du Soleil ski area, which includes a total of 12 resorts linked by 650km of ski runs – including its popular neighbour Morzine.
When the summer arrives, the ski runs in Les Gets turn into the ideal terrain for mountain bikers and hikers – particularly those who value a helping hand up the steep alpine slopes, as chairlifts are in operation with attachments to carry bikes to the top of the green hills.
Back in the village and the ski hire shops swap their stock in the summer to provide the bikes and all of the robust clothing required for the adrenaline-inducing two-wheeled sport. There are also plenty of certified instructors at hand to help mountain bikers master hitting the trails at speed.
Apartments at the new development can be rented out from £189 a night
The Annapurna apartments are 150 metres from the Mont Chery gondola
A six-bedroom penthouse costing £2.56million has already been sold at the development
The mountains in Les Gets are a haven for hikers, runners and cyclists during the summer
Furniture can be provided to buyers, including sofabeds from SITS and coffee tables from Notre Monde
In the centre of Les Gets is a new development of 38 luxury apartments called Annapurna.
It includes apartments starting at €295,000 – the equivalent of £260,000 – for a one-bedroom flat of 430 sq ft, through to a six-bedroom penthouse costing €2.9million – the equivalent of £2.56million – and covering 3,434 sq ft.
The penthouse has already been sold and a second phase of development has begun being constructed next door, with a further 34 apartments. It will also include a gym and beauty spa, in addition to the swimming pool and leisure suite that is already available at Annapurna.
Unlike leaseback apartments which are often found at French ski resorts, these apartments can be bought without having to rent them out.
However, buyers can sign up to what is called a flexi-lease if they want to rent out their properties and still benefit from reclaiming VAT. The flexi-lease is run by operator Alpine Residences, which oversees the rentals.
If buyers sign up for a minimum of nine years, it means buyers can then apply to claim back the VAT paid on the purchase.
They don’t have to rent out their property if they don’t want to and can pull out of the lease agreement at any time with the penalty of paying back the VAT benefits.
Les Gets attracts professional and amateur mountain bikers during the summer months
The apartments are bought on a freehold basis, but buyers can sign up to what is called a flexi-lease to get a rental income
Management of the rentals, including cleaning, can be arranged through Alpine Residences
Leaseback vs flexi-lease
Leaseback is a common way of buying a ski apartment in France, but has its limitations as it locks buyers into renting out their apartment, often at times when they might want to use them for themselves.
The apartments at Annapurna in Les Gets offer a flexi-lease, which has some key differences to leasebacks.
Morgan Bientz, of Alpine Lodges explains some of the main differences.
He says: ‘A leaseback is a nine-year commercial contract where the property is handed over to a management company. This management company is selected by the developer and future buyers do not have a say in the company that they want to use.
‘A leaseback contract also limits buyers to how much they can use their property, typically two to six weeks a year depending on rental return sought. Owners are not able to enjoy their property whenever they want as the access rules are strict and so an owner is considered to be more of an investor who rents out their property.’
Mr Bientz goes on to explain that a flexi-lease is a different proposition as owners are not obliged to rent out the property.
He said: ‘A flex-lease is a three-year lease contract and the owner can decide if they want to change the operator after this period of time.
‘There is no maximum or minimum occupation for owners, meaning they can use it when they want. However, if they use the property more, they will receive less rental income.’
There a range of finishes and accessories available for buyers wanting to use the interior design options provided at Annapurna (alternatively, buyers can use their own interior designers). They include sofabeds from SITS and coffee tables from Notre Monde.
The apartments can be rented out via Alpine Residences from €215 – the equivalent of £189 – a night on a self-catering basis for a two-bed apartment sleeping six people to €430 – or £379 – a night for a five-bed penthouse apartment.
There is a fantastic restaurant on site, with plenty of further eating out options in and around Les Gets.
For hungry hikers and trail runners, there is a hidden gem in terms of a place to eat called Les Chevrelles, about half an hour’s walk from the top of the Mont Chéry gondola, which is 150 metres from Annapurna.
Head along the trail towards Mont Caly and you will find it, along with breath-taking views of Mont Blanc on a clear day.
What would a three-bed flat return?
On a three-bedroom flat, example figures are:
Purchase price of costing €800,000 including VAT
Price excluding VAT is €666,666, meaning buyers could claim €133,333.
Typical rental would be 10 weeks in winter generating €35,000 and four weeks in the summer generating €6,000. It means a total annual gross rental of €41,000.
If managed by Alpine Residences, the fee would be 25 per cent, including 20 per cent to cover marketing on websites such as booking.com and a 5 per cent management fee.
25% of €41,000 is €30,750
Subtract the price of cleaning the apartments and linen at 5% or €2,050.
The net income is €30,750 minus €2,050, which is €28,700.
The net yield is around 4.3 per cent on the VAT-friendly option or 3.5 per cent on the full purchase price, but this is without using a mortgage.
Mortgage costs would eat into returns and mean it is lower.