From the Blog
Sölden BrochureOetz Brochure‏Kühtai Brochure‏St Anton Brochure‏

Your Chance to Invest in Premium Austrian Ski Property

The Austrian authorities are careful about granting permits to build ski property in their top resorts, and demand is high when there is an opportunity. But Kristall Spaces has achieved a rare coup by obtaining permits to build in several resorts, including Saalbach, Galtür/Ischgl and Kühtai.

New luxury apartments

These two and three bedroom luxury apartments are brand-new builds, and Kristall Spaces is offering them as excellent chances for investment, since the scarcity caused by planning restrictions ensures that capital growth is high. Our new units are always heavily subscribed even before we start building, and it’s unheard of for any to remain to be sold by the time the project is complete. There are few better investments — with the current exchange rate, even holding sterling is less attractive to UK investors.

Top properties in top Austrian resorts

The resorts earmarked for the new developments are among the most attractive in Austria, chosen for guaranteed long winter sports seasons, together with wonderful golf courses and great opportunities for walking and alpine sports in summer. We offer properties that are central with private parking, and many with ski-in, ski-out locations.

  • Kühtai — only 35 minutes from Innsbruck airport, we offer ski-in, ski-out apartments in this beautiful, high-altitude resort.
  • Galtür — quite apart from the family-friendly skiing in a beautiful, tranquil setting, it’s only 10 minutes on a free bus to the more glamorous Ischgl, from where you can ski over the border into Switzerland.
  • Saalbach — just an hour from Salzburg airport, our properties in Saalbach offer ski-in, ski-out in winter and excellent golf courses in summer, guaranteeing a 5-year rental return of 5%.

A great investment

Our properties in these resorts are built, designed and furnished to exacting standards, each with at least two bedrooms, a large bathroom and a balcony. Kristall Spaces makes all the arrangements through the best tour operators for year-round rental, and the facilities on offer ensure the apartments will be in high demand both summer and winter. And, as if the opportunities weren’t enough, you can even claim a VAT rebate on your property.

Kristall Spaces will soon be announcing new projects in other Austrian resorts. For now, though, you can check out more about our apartments, priced from €280,000 to €334,500, in Kühtai, Galtür/Ischgl and Saalbach.

Cross-Country Skiing in Austria

cross country Austria
It’s hardly surprising that most people who come to the Austrian Alps in winter head straight for the slopes with their skis or snowboard. Hurtling downhill is certainly the most thrilling and fulfilling of all winter sports, but those who like variety might want to try some of the other options on offer, such as cross-country (or Nordic) skiing.

Cross-country skiing is often overlooked, but it has a lot to commend it. A more measured discipline, it combines endurance training and sustained exposure to the clear mountain air with a chance to appreciate the stunning Alpine scenery at high levels. As an added bonus, you can ski across country even when there’s not enough snow for the slopes.

Cross-country trails can be accessed from most resorts, usually with transport available to and from the start and finish, if necessary. Here is a small selection.

Sölden

Sölden has five varied trails of between 1 and 7 km, two rated as easy and the others as intermediate. The routes across Alpine meadows and through picturesque hamlets give great views of the stunning Őtztal scenery. You’ll also find access easy to longer trails of up to 50 km.

St Anton

St Anton has been building up its cross-country network and now has over 40 km of local trails, with individual routes ranging between 1.5 and 22 km. Most are rated as easy, with the St Christoph and Verwall trails as intermediate. The resort also offers floodlit cross-country skiing on a 2 km route between dawn and 8.30 am.

Ischgl

Eight trails wind through the beautiful Tyrolean mountainscapes around Ischgl, ranging from 1 to 18 km and rising as high as 2036 metres. All abilities are catered for, with everything from easy routes to some that are much more demanding.

A_big_1tann_wi_106_langlaufenTirolZell am See

The mountains around Zell am See and Kaprun have 55 km of cross-country trails, some at high levels, catering for all abilities. A special offer here is the chance to ski the 6 km of the Tauern SPA Loipe at night, enjoying the snowscapes under starlight.

On all these routes, you can just turn up and ski them at your own time and pace, but most resorts will offer training courses in cross-country skiing. Some also offer taster sessions for the biathlon (skiing and shooting), whether you want to approach the discipline seriously or just enjoy being James Bond for the day.

You’ll want to spend most of your holiday on the slopes, of course. But perhaps it would be worth taking at least one day off to experience the pleasure of skiing across country.

Why Should I Invest in Austrian Ski Property?

kristall-spaces-austrian-property-zell-am-see-1024x677Investment in Austrian ski property has never been such a great deal. With a strong winter and summer tourism industry, rental yields are high and reliable, and ski property averages a 4% per annum capital growth.

In addition to the annual 1% VAT rebate, recent changes in Austria’s coalition government, especially the appointment of Hans Jörg Schelling as finance minister, look set to favour property investment with tax breaks and other incentives.

Austrian banks have shown considerable interest in foreign investment in property over the past year, and now they’re regularly offering finance of up to 55% for such investments. Their position has been strengthened by last month’s cut in interest rates by the European Central Bank, along with an energetic stimulus programme.

Are there any disadvantages?

One law does appear to go against the trend and discourage investment in buy-to-let holiday apartments. This is a recent court ruling which specifies that an apartment can only be let as a holiday home if all other residents in the building give written agreement. If even one objects, you may not be able to let.

This law hasn’t been properly tested, but it does make random investment in holiday apartments risky. On the other hand, the risk doesn’t apply to purpose-built buy-to-let ski apartments, since all units in the building will be specifically sold with the purpose of holiday rental. The answer is simply to make sure you’re investing in the right kind of property.

Suppose I can’t afford an apartment? Are there other options?

If you can’t raise the full cost of an apartment on your own, you might want to consider joining a property investment crowdfunding scheme such as the one offered by Kristall Spaces. Crowdfunding platforms are becoming popular across the buy-to-let property market, allowing individuals with modest sums to invest in a share of a property, receiving regular dividends from the income.

This model is being applied to ski property in Austrian resorts, too. Even a small participation in a ski property project in a resort like Sölden or Saalbach is likely to yield a good income, and may offer a way to have enough within a few years to buy a property outright.

As with all investments, it’s important to ensure you choose the right scheme. If you invest your money wisely, though, this offers one more route to benefit from the growing market of Austrian ski property.

Tax Breaks and Financial Benefits of Investing in Austrian Ski Resorts

Tax-BreaksThe traditional target for property investment in Austria, Switzerland and Germany has always been student accommodation or buy-to-let residential units. High prices, high management costs and recent tax changes have made this market less attractive, and Austrian investors are showing interest in a different target — ski holiday properties.

In recent years, planning restrictions have created a backlog of building projects in ski resorts, with the result that those which are built attract high demand and strong capital growth. And, at the same time, foreign investment in Austria has never been easier.

So what has happened in Austria to create this boom?

  • Recent governmental changes promise financial stability. In particular, the new finance minister, Hans Jörg Schelling, is likely to favour policies such as tax breaks for investors.
  • The European Central Bank has recently reduced the headline rate of interest, keeping the Euro Libor low.
  • The government is offering a savings loophole with a 1% per annum VAT rebate.
  • A court recently ruled that Austrian property could be bought by an SPV owned by non-EU citizens, which opens up the possibility of a future flight to safety.
  • In the past year, Austrian banks have changed their stance and are showing considerable interest in financing foreign buyers.
  • Austria’s bank secrecy act is stronger than Switzerland’s, giving investors peace of mind.

In spite of this, the price in Val d’Isère, on the other hand, the bottom end of the market for a similar unit would be around €380,000, while most are over €800,000. Switzerland is even more expensive, with few 2-bedroom apartments in Zermatt below €500,000, and Davos even more expensive. Prices of Austrian ski properties are still remarkably low. A 2-bedroom apartment in Sölden, for instance, can currently be bought for as little as €334,995, and similar apartments in Ischgl go as low as €323,400. This rises to only a little over €600,000 for penthouse apartments.

Austrian resorts can match or exceed these for quality, and investors have a unique opportunity to snap up valuable property at such low prices. It won’t be long before everyone else wakes up to this and the prices rise, offering a substantial return on your investment.

European Central Bank reduces rate of interest making Austrian property investment all the more attractive

In an effort to keep low inflation from derailing the Eurozone’s economy, the European Central Bank has surprised financial markets this September with a cut in interest rates and new stimulus plans.

Speaking at a press conference after the announcement of the rate cut, ECB president Mario Draghi said the Bank expected to see “a prolonged period of low inflation” and reiterated a pledge to keep rates low for the foreseeable future.  After the rate cut was announced, the Euro fell against the Dollar and Sterling making a purchase of property in Europe even more attractive.

kristall-spaces-Autrian-property-boost
The European Central Bank cut interest rates and announced a program to pump money into the economy and stimulate lending by buying bundles of bank loans.

It may not be a coincidence that we have seen a change in stance in the last 12 months by Austrian banks which have shown a high interest in financing up to 60% of the purchase price of ski property investments by foreign buyers.

If a potential investor is shrewd, they could secure a property now with Kristall Spaces at Spring 2014 prices with only a 1% fully-refundable reservation fee (no buyer’s commission fee) with the first 15% stage payment not due before the spring of 2015.

Furthermore, we have seen an apartment bought for €300k in our recently completed project in Zell am See be remarketed for €350k within 12 months and the buyer only paid 60% of the price before making the decision to sell.

That equates to a €50k uplift on a €180k capital investment in just 12 months.

Please get in contact with us today and find out how you could earn up to 15% IRR on one of our Austrian ski properties.

Five Unmissable Events in Austria This Winter

FIS Ski World Cup Opening

From the 24th to the 26th October, the Rettenbach Glacier above the resort of Sölden hosts the opening event of the FSI Ski World Cup, the Giant Slalom. Featuring the world’s top skiers, including reigning world champion Ted Ligety, the runs will be held in the Rettenbach’s state-of-the-art stadium. In between, there’ll be a full programme of processions, presentations and parties for everyone, both on the glacier and down in Sölden.

FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Opening, 25. - 26.10.2014, RETTENBACH GLACIER.

Top of the Mountain Opening Concert with James Blunt

On Saturday 29th November, the annual Top of the Mountain opening concert welcomes singer-songwriter James Blunt. The free gigs marking the start and finish of the season at Ischgl have traditionally attracted stars such as Elton John, Robbie Williams and Mariah Carey, to be enjoyed by the winter sports enthusiasts who flock to the resort. This year Blunt, who is himself an enthusiastic skier, is including the date in his Moon Landing tour.

James-Blunt-web_3024353b

International Hot Air Balloon Week

The “balloon village” of Filzmoos, in the shadow of the mighty mountain Bischofsmütze, is hosting the 36th International BP-Gas Balloon Trophy from the 10th to the 17th January. About forty balloon teams from all over the world will be taking part, flying over the high ranges and picturesque valleys of the district. In addition to the more formal races, the Sunday features a musical display of glowing, colourful balloons, while Wednesday is dedicated to the children.

hot-air-baloon

Valartis Bank Snow Polo World Cup

The 15th to the 18th January sees snow polo come to Kitzbühel for the 13th Valartis Bank Snow Polo World Cup. A modern variant of polo, this is an exciting, skilful game played across level, compacted snow, and its premier event sees top players and high society gather in the Tyrol in January. Matches are played on the Münichauer Wieser, with the striking Kitzbühler Horn in the background.

polo

International Hahnenkamm Race

From the 21st to the 25th January, Kitzbühel in Tyrol hosts the Hahnenkamm Race, a series of skiing races held since 1931 and for decades forming part of the World Cup. The event consists of the Super-G, the Slalom, and the Downhill on the Streif, widely considered the most demanding course on the World Cup circuit, including the 80m Mausefalle (mousetrap) jump near the top. The event will feature breathtaking speed and skills from the world’s top skiers.

2013-10-09_plakat2014

The Perfect Spring Attraction – ALPINARIUM GALTÜR

alpinarium_01

Alpinarium Galtur is much more than just a museum! It is the perfect place to visit this spring, and summer. While it is called a museum, visitors may be surprised to learn the Alpinarium Galtur also offers visitors the chance to dine in its panorama café, an opportunity to experience their climbing wall, and more!

Alpinarium Galtür is simply put, a versatile, adventure-filled museum that has been given the museum seal of approval. When a museum is given the ‘museum seal of approval, it means that it must “assume the responsibility of preserving cultural heritage, and a visitor can expect high-quality exhibits and a high-level of service provisions.“ (as stated in the guidelines of the ICOM Austria and the Austrian Museums Association). And Alpinarium Galtur does all of this, and so much more!

galtur6

The museum is aesthetically pleasing, with its natural settings and its one of a kind barrier wall. Inside, you will find a contemporary design that is very artistic. There are a number of permanent exhibits inside, such as ‘The Wall’ and ‘The fascination of snow; the legend of the avalanche’.

As mentioned before, visitors must check out the panorama in the “Frozen Water” café. The café offers visitors the chance to sit on the sun terrace whilst taking in the amazing views. Visitors will also love the convenience of the Internet lounge with free WiFi. Additionally, the museum has a number of rotating exhibits that are always changing and a memorial room that remembers the victims of the 23rd February 1999 disaster.

There is plenty to see in Galtur and the Alpinarium is an attraction not to be missed.

Looking to invest in this area? Check out properties for sale in Galtur, you won’t be disappointed!

galtur

galtur5

Best Austrian Resort for Cross-Border Skiing

For those looking for the best Austrian resort for skiing across borders, then duty-free Samnaun is the place to start.  Being part of one of the biggest ski areas in Austria, the 238km Silvretta Ski Arena, which boasts stunning scenery from mountainous views combined with a magnitude of ski runs. Making this all year-round tourist destination the perfect place to ski!

Samnaun is perfect for intermediate skiers and boarders. It is also linked to Ischgl which offers plenty of runs for intermediate skiers. In fact, it also has a new, very modern lift system and an après-ski scene which rivals that of St. Anton.

Both of these resorts are well integrated and 90 percent of the lift users ski across the border. The scenery is beautiful and most of the runs are based over 2,000m, offering wonderful views from the mountains. The Silvretta Ski Pass also takes visitors skiing in Galtur, Kappl and See.

Visitors can take what is known as the ‘duty-free run’, which leads down to Samnaun. It is great for elegant carving but is not as great for boarders, because it has a number of flat sections. Additionally, here skiers will find the Zeblas Waterfalls–but the less experienced skiers may want to bypass the falls as they can be quite tricky to pass.

The run is called the ‘duty-free run’ because Samnaun is the only duty-free area in Switzerland, so visitors will want to take note!
To rejoin the main ski area in Ischgl, take the

Double Decker Gondola

(this double decker gondola was the first one of its kind in the world!). From here, visitors can visit popular, and not too difficult, Alp Trida area. The runs from here back to Ischgl are all red and advised to be tackled by a more seasoned skier.

Finally, lunch on the border! Visitors will want to head to Paznauner Taya, A-6561 Ischgl. Simply ski down from the Palinkopf into Austria, and that is where the Paznauner Taya is found, right by the bottom station of the Hollspitzbahn. Everyone will enjoy taking a long lunch in this popular, lively area– and enjoy the people watching before hitting the slopes again!

Zeblas Waterfalls

 

The snow settles in Ischgl for Easter

A blast of icy, wet air travelled up and over the central Alps in the last week of March, proving that winter still has plenty of potential to breathe new life into the Austrian ski slopes. With some resorts reporting over 100 centimetres of snowfall, it’s a perfect time to get out and traverse your favourite slopes all over again. Indeed, many slopes have better runs, softer powder, and superior conditions compared to their status only a few months back. In fact, with less-crowded slopes, it’s even easier to find good ski resorts, ski apartments, and routes without needing to wait on reservations or the next lift.

All across the central Alps, the conditions have been quite favourable. This comes as welcome news for Austrian ski fanatics, who had to endure a disappointing winter for many resorts that struggled to accumulate large quantities of snow. But the snow finally came, transforming green and grey mountainsides into white wonderlands. It’s good quality powder snow all over Austria, furthermore: not so wet that it clumps together and makes skiing difficult.

The advent of quality snow may be enough to recoup many of the declining Austrian figures. While British tourists maintained a steady stream into Austria, holding down the number one spot for foreign skiers, Germans numbered fewer the past years than the historical average. New tours and resorts are offering excellent last-minute deals in order to capitalise on the new snowfall, as only three percent of UK ski tourists visit Austria during the month or April. One tour operator noted that if this snowfall had taken place two months earlier, there would be no room for travellers, but the courses remain open and in excellent condition.

Everything You Should Know About Ischgl Off The Slopes

ischgl nightlife and events

Although this gem of a skiing town on the Pardatschgratbahn ropeways is better known for its runs than anything else, there’s plenty to do once you’ve put up your skis and want to get a bite to eat. Most of the restaurants in town are part of the hotel, though some stand on their own, and the superb cuisine of the city is, along with the ski slopes, an ample incentive to consider purchasing apartments for sale in Ischgl. Perhaps the best-known and highest-rated is the Grillalm within the Gramaser Hotel, offering five course Salnerhof and Jägerhof. Those who want a faster bite can sink their teeth into the pizza and Tirolean appetisers available at Bära Falla and the hamburger joint Allegra. Due to the proximity to the Italian border (less than 20km away), there’s plenty of great cucinas, including the Toscana.

Of the highly-rated restaurants in the town, the Alpenhaus features beautiful design and self-service (as well as table service) with tart pastries considered some of the best in town. Live bands and even disco music are mainstays at Paznauner Thaya, known throughout town for their pizza, chicken salads, and spicy prawns. The Pardatschgrat has a massive, ornate glass-walled interior that often has fewer crowds than the competition. Finally, the Swiss side of Ischgl features the Alp Bella, a restaurant built in the style of traditional ski huts and lodges, featuring classic Austrian and Swiss dishes like rösti.

Once the meal is done, it’s time to go into “après” mode and go out on the town (which can start as early as the afternoon, depending on your ski schedule). The two most popular bars in town, the Trofana Alm and the Schatzi, both feature lively atmosphere and plenty of good drinks. The Schatzi is as well known for their drinks as for the dancing girls who wear only the minimum amount of clothing. Cross the river, and you’ll find the Kitzloch, a rowdier place where you’re more than welcome to dance on the table tops, even if you’re still in ski boots. Those who want a higher-tempo evening can check out Niki’s Stadl and the Feuer and Eis watering holes; a quieter joint is the Kiwi or the higher-price Guxa.