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17 January: update on Kristall Spaces projects

The Austrian Alps are nicely covered with snow and as much 229cm in Sölden.  We at Kristall Spaces are busy handling dozens of enquiries each day and managing site visits for prospective EU and non EU based buyers.

We have 4 key projects with pricing & availability

St Anton apartment for sale – construction is underway and one of the buildings containing half the apartments has all the floors in place and the roof on.  It is possible to enter the building with one of our representatives and get a feel for the floor spaces and different views.  Of the 28 upper luxury apartments in this project, 14 are still available.  Voted Best Apartment in Austria & Europe.

Kühtai 2020 Residences – construction was completed last month. There are 5 apartments (out of 17) left but we expect them to sell in the next few months.  There are quite a few buyers who have reserved or are about to reserve in this development, the highest in Austria.  Come and look round one these fully furnished luxury apartments which are ready to occupy now.

Sölden – we will start construction after this ski season. 3 of the 8 apartments have been sold or reserved and there is good interest for the last 5.  It is easy to set up appointments in the Gasthof Zwieselstein where you can meet the developer and the Gstrein family who will manage the rental business of your apartment.

Mountain Lake Resort Ötztal – we have just finalised floor plans and pricing for this exciting dual season location. 100 metres from the ski lift and in a prime location to make the most of the Ötztal’s strong summer season facilities.  State of the art spa and choice of swimming pools for summer. Restaurant and bar on-site.  We already have 7 reservations!

Coming soon – new projects

We will soon release floor plans for Galtür (Ischgl) and Fieberbrunn, so keep your powder dry if you want your own apartment in one of these locations!

Galtür (Ischgl) – floor plans for Mountain Spa Resort Paznaun coming in February 2017.  We will update all our prospects with a newsletter.

Fieberbrunn – floor plans coming in February 2017 also.  Again, all our previous enquiring customers will receive a newsletter.

Karwendel – 28 leisure residences with no rental obligation although we provide a rental service if owners would like to rent their apartments.  Swimming lake & on-site wellness.  On-site brasserie restaurant & bar. 1 hour from Munich & 40 minutes from Mittenwald.

Register your interest 

Contact us today if you are interested in any of these locations and we will keep you updated with progress.

Kristall Spaces wins Best Apartment in Europe

Kristall Spaces is delighted to receive the regional award for ‘Best Apartment in Europe’ for our Mountain Spa Residences, St Anton project.

Last night in London (12 December 2016) at the International Property Awards, it was confirmed we had achieved the highest score against 36 entrants from 15 countries for the Best Apartment category.

The international judging panel comprises industry experts from the world of real estate, interior design and architecture and is chaired by Lord Caithness.

On receiving the latest award, Branson Atterbury Marketing Director of Kristall Spaces commented: “Having already won ‘Best Apartment Austria’, we were obviously delighted to find out we had the top score from the judges in the whole of Europe. It’s a real testament to the expertise of our on-the-ground operations and management team.  It makes an important statement about our credentials.”

The Mountain Spa Residences St Anton is an upper luxury aparthotel comprising 28 fully-furnished ski-out apartments with an onsite bar, brasserie and a 600m² spa with two swimming pools.  Currently in construction, the completion date for the Mountain Spa Residences, St Anton is Autumn 2017.

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The International Property Awards are open to residential and commercial property professionals from around the globe.  They celebrate the highest levels of achievement by companies operating in all sectors of the property and real estate industry.  An International Property Award is a world-renowned mark of excellence.

New lift connections: St Anton and Lech make 350km of skiing

The Arlberg is already a world-class ski region, but it’s going to get even bigger and better.  Work has begun on 4 new lifts, due to be open by next winter, which will link up St Anton with Lech, creating Austria’s biggest interconnected ski area and one of the biggest in the world.

The New Lifts

€45m (£35m) are being invested in the project, which will see four new lifts:

  • Flexenbahn, linking Stuben near St Anton with Zürs on the Lech side, will be a gondola with a 10-person cabin and a capacity of 2,400 people per hour. The 6-minute journey will offer breathtaking views of the Arlberg Pass through panoramic windows and the return route will be a 1.8km piste that descends 562m
  • Trittkopfbahn I will lead from Zürs to an intermediate station, linking with the Flexenbahn
  • Trittkopfbahn II will offer an alternative route further up to a new station
  • Albonabahn II links with the Flexenbahn at Alpe Rauz, near Stuben

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The Extended Area

The extended Arlberg ski area will have 350km of slopes and 87 lifts, with easy access to all parts of the region. Although it’s currently possible to ski from the St Anton side to the Lech side of the Arlberg, this is only open to expert skiers with a guide on challenging off-piste slopes. There’s also no easy return and so thankfully the number of daily bus trips between Zürs and Stuben/Alpe Rauz via the Flexengallery will be reduced by 120.

To celebrate, the Arlberg region has established a “Run of Fame” route from Warth, by way of Lech to St Anton, incorporating 65km of pistes with a total descent of 18,000m.  A “Hunt of Fame” race has been announced, though there are few details available at the moment.

World Class

The Arlberg is a major ski region, but this new series of connections makes it one of the largest in the world, overtaking the French regions of Val d’Isère/Tignes Espace Killy and Grand Massif. The new Arlberg’s exact size ranking is a little uncertain, since some of the claims of the larger ski areas around the world are disputed.

Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that the Arlberg will now be in the top 10 if not top 5 ski areas world-wide. The exact opening dates of the new lifts has been uncertain, but recently it was suggested that they’ll be open to the public in November this year.

The opening of the Ski Season in Tyrolean Resorts

As holiday resorts that rely on sun and sea wind down towards the end of the season, ski resorts are gearing up for opening, if the season hasn’t already started.  Here’s some information about the season openings in three of the top resorts in Austria’s stunning Tyrol region.

Sölden – 10 October

Some of Sölden’s glacier runs are already open subject to daily snow conditions, with the lifts going up from 8 am till 3.30 pm and the last downward journey at 4 pm.  On the 10th  and 11th  October, the iconic Rettenbach Glacier opens with a celebration including free tests of top-branded ski and snowboarding equipment, not to mention a big party throughout the resort.  The offical Winter season starts on the 14th of November when more lifts will open.

One of Austria’s leading ski resorts, Sölden gives access to 146km of slopes for all levels of skiers, though it particularly suits the adventurous intermediate skier.  The Rettenbach regularly hosts the first event of the World Cup, the Giant Slalom, from the spectacular stadium on the glacier, giving holiday-makers the opportunity to rub shoulders with the world’s top skiers, whether on the glacier or at the resort’s lively après-ski scene.

Kühtai – 27 November

Although Kühtai’s higher slopes have snow to allow year-round skiing for die-hards and photoshoots, the season properly gets underway on the 27th November when all slopes and lifts open for the winter.  From then on, the lifts and pistes open at 9 am, with the pistes closing at 4 pm and the lifts a quarter of an hour later.

From Kühtai, you have access to 41 km of pistes slopes (80 km when you link to Oetz), consisting of blue, red, black and freestyle parks, offering everything from a safe environment for children to learn to real challenges for the experts, whether skiing or snowboarding.  The resort’s height, at 2,200m, means that you can always rely on good snow even on the bottom slopes from November right through to May.

St Anton – 4 December

St Anton has a justified reputation as a party resort with spectacular après-ski, that’s secondary to the main business of skiing.  The season kicks off on the 4th December with a three-day festival of skiing and music, with its highlight a concert on the 5th featuring 80s pop star Kim Wilde.

Properties in Austria - Kristall Spaces St Anton - Kim Wilde concert

Once the season is underway, St Anton’s 97 lifts and cable cars give access to 350km of managed pistes and 200km of challenging off-piste slopes.  There’s something for everyone.  Although the area is especially known for its expert-level slopes, it also offers some of the best children’s lessons in the Alps. And there’s always that lively après-ski scene in the evening.

Kristall Spaces has ski apartments for sale in all three resorts.  Contact us today in case you are visiting the area and would like to visit on of our developments.

Ischgl or St. Anton?

The snowy paradise that is St Anton has long been a favourite destination among avid skiers. With its exceptional off-psite and second-to-none après ski, St Anton gaurantees a great ski break. However, despite being a skiing hotspot, St Anton does face stiff competition. Just 40 minutes down the road is the up-and-coming Ischgl, which offers a similar blend of a large ski area, great skiing and epic après ski. But can this new contender steal St Anton’s crown?  Let’s take a look…

Choice of Accommodation

St Anton steals an easy win here. The town offers a huge range of accommodation options, from small and basic guesthouses (which can be great value) to apartments, catered chalets and seriously impressive hotels, such as the new Mooser hotel.

By contrast, Ischgl’s hotel scene is much more focused on traditional hotels – there are a few self-catered apartments around, but almost nothing in the way of affordable guesthouses. This can mean that it ends up costing significantly more to stay in Ischgl.

Buying a property

Both places are difficult to buy an apartment in. Property in Ischgl is very expensive and rarely comes on the market, so if you are looking to buy it’s best to opt for an apartment in Galtür with its picturesque setting and family oriented ski area with over 40km of pistes. For a start, the prices are much more reasonable and you are only 10 minutes away on the free ski bus.

The same goes if you want to buy an apartment in St Anton – they are hard to come by and the demand is very high, plus there are additional land prices.

Snow quality

It’s a draw here – the two resorts are geographically near enough that if one gets hit with snow the other shouldn’t be too far behind.

It’s also worth noting that the village of Lech (part of the St Anton ski area) is routinely listed as the snowiest in the Alps.

Skiing – on piste

Ischgl just pips St Anton to the post here. The resort has an abundance of predominantly red runs, and if you’re a fan of skiing smooth motorways you can have an epic time just dashing around the mountain.

But that’s not to say St Anton is at all shabby on-piste though, especially when you consider the sheer scale of the ski area. It’s also fair to say that both St Anton and Ischgl suffer from a similar problem – the main runs back to the town centre can become horribly busy and cut up late in the afternoon.

Skiing – off piste

St Anton wins by a mile here. This resort is considered to be among the world’s greatest off piste destinations, which is one of the reasons why many serious skiers choose to base themselves there. Despite St Anton’s win, Ischgl also has some excellent off piste available when the conditions are right.

Après ski

Both Ischgl and St Anton are renowned for their lively après skis, but the two approach it in slightly different ways.

In St Anton, the focus is really on the ski-boots-on après ski scene, and in particular on two bars that are perched on the Galzig run back into St Anton – the Krazy Kangaruh and the Mooserwirt. Past 3.30pm things really get going, with 4 hours or so of stomping on the tables, guzzling down beers and singing along to cheesy Germanic pop anthems.

In Ischgl, the party is more focused in the town rather than up on the slopes. People ski down and head straight on to Niko’s Hexenkücke or the Hotel Elisabeth (complete with dancing girls in short Dirndls), but while the party is fun, it doesn’t quite have the same atmosphere as that at the Mooserwirt.

However Ischgl’s real strength lies in its nightlife. For those who have the energy to go out after the afternoon/early evening fun in the Mooserwirt or Krazy Kangaruh, the St Anton late night après ski can feel a little bit tame, and perhaps a bit of a disappointment.

Ischgl, on the other hand, boasts an exceptional nightlife. There is a branch of Pacha, the Ibizan superclub, replete with podium dancers and VIP lounge. There is are also a number of other locations (Posthorndl, Fire and Ice) that are substantially more sophisticated than anything in St Anton, plus two strip clubs – if you’re into that sort of thing.

So which is better?

Of course it is down to personal preference and what your priorities are in a ski trip. If you’re looking for sheer quality for skiing (especially off piste) St Anton is heaven for all those who live and breathe skiing.

Whereas, Ischgl’s greatest strength lies in its epic late night party scene. But this means that a lot of people at this resort are there for the clubs and so it tends to attract less serious skiers.

Go to both and decide for yourself – don’t be surprised if you end going back to each one again.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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