Overall Switzerland remains the most expensive resort area and the most exclusive. Austria, however, with its stable housing market and prices at half the levels of Swiss property has attracted the attention of investors looking for bargains in the Alpine property market.
Changes to provincial law facilitating purchases from non-EU buyers has resulted in a significant interest from Russian investors, now able to buy in the country through an EU-registered company.
Savills reports that the Austrian Alpine market saw transaction levels double in the first half of 2013 compared to the same period the previous year. This rise in demand has encouraged price growth with prices climbing to 10% more than in 2012.
Positive economic factors continue to underpin the Austrian property market with GDP growth expected to reach 2% and with the lowest unemployment rate in the EU at 4.8%.
The Savills report goes on to say that 72% of recent buyers have purchased for both lifestyle and investment reasons, seeking to let their property when not using it themselves.
This is in line with the government's commitment to continue supporting the tourism industry as it helps to “prevent ghost towns in second home areas”.
Roughly one fifth of Austrian Alpine home buyers are expatriates, living and working abroad.
Jessica Delaney, managing director for an alpine ski property agency in London, told The Local that the market has been doing very well for the past three years. "Austria has a lower entry level than other alpine countries, so the property is cheaper per square metre but the quality is just as good."
"Austria didn't have an overseas property market ten years ago, so it's still relatively new. We're seeing a lot of buyers from the UK, but also from the Benelux countries, Hong Kong, Sweden and the US," she added.
While the UK remains the chief source of demand for Austrian alpine property, buyers from other northern European countries are also active – although it is the Russians who spend the most on ski property.