Property in the Ötztal, the valley of superlatives

There is no disputing that the Ötztal is one of the most renowned and favourite regions for skiers and all-round winter sports, however, this idyllic and longest valley in Tyrol (65 km) also attracts large numbers of visitors during the summer.  With 45% coming in summer, Oetz is almost as busy as the winter and areas like Sölden and Obergurg welcome just over 2 million visitors every year, of which half a million come in the summer.  So why do they call it the valley of superlatives?  

The Ötztal has the second highest mountain in Austria, the Wildspitze (3.768 m), the highest glacier area in the Eastern alps, the highest parish Obergurgl/Hochgurgl (2.150m) not to mention the Stuibenfall, the highest waterfall and the Piburger See, one of the warmest mountain lakes in Tyrol! 

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Here, anyone (young and old) can find extensive possibilities to explore the unspoiled high mountain regions or the mystical deep gorges plus enjoy the famous Tyrolean cuisine.

The Ötztal valley, shaped by glaciers and being a first-class hiking region, has a lot more to offer than challenging mountain tours and idyllic family hikes.  One of many highlights is the Area 47 by Oetz, which will be open to action sports enthusiasts daily from 27th of April.  Rafting, canyoning, cave tours, indoor motorsports, one of the highest rope courses as well as a water arena with extreme water activities like wakeboarding, blobbing and a outdoor ski ramp into water leave no wishes unfulfilled.  More fun and thrills are guaranteed when rafting in the wild waters of Haiming, Oetz or Sautens.

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For those who prefer a more relaxed approach and like to immerse themselves into culture and the high alpine history of Tyrol, we recommend the archaeological open-air park “Ötzi-Dorf”. Let yourself be taken back 5.000 years into the Neolithic period of the famous Ötzi Iceman.  Visitors can experience the lives of hunting and and farming during that time first hand.  Next to the Ötzi-Dorf and situated on a 5.000 m2 area at the foot of the Stuibenfall, there is the birds of prey park.   The spectacular flying demonstrations of various raptors and birds of prey really makes for a unique and unforgettable experience.  In addition, one can learn more about Tyrolean falconry.

Worth a visit: between 18.04. and 21.10.2018, visitors can admire the lit waterfall (Stuibenfall) at night between 20:30 and midnight from observation platforms in Niederthai and Umhausen.

On rainy days, one can seek out the Aqua-Dome Thermal Spa in Längenfeld to unwind and totally relax in various open air pools (e.g. the river basin or sport pool) surrounded by views of the mountains.  Then there is “Noah’s Ark of the Alps” which guarantees endless fun for children.

More opportunities and activities await when one heads towards Sölden, Zwieselstein, Obergurgl and Vent.

Sölden offers a 700 km bike freeride and downhill paradise.  The Bike Republic Sölden provides the ultimate adrenaline kick for all mountain bike enthusiasts.  Shaped lines, nature trails, enduro trails and pump tracks attract bikers off all ages and levels. 

Wetter days can be spent at the “Freizeitarena” in Sölden.  Facilities include a swimming pool, a sauna, a gym and several tennis courts.

In Zwieselstein there are many wonderful walks, for example through the dramatic “Kühtrainschlucht” to Sölden or up to the “Brunnenberg” to the “Lenzenalm” and last but not least, and especially for those with a sweet tooth, the cosy 300 year-old “Sahnestüberl” (cream parlour) with it’s reputation for the best cakes.

Definitely worthwhile is also a trip to Italy from the convenient starting point in Zwieselstein.  The Timmelsjoch-Hochalpenstrasse takes travellers from Obergurgl to the pretty spa town Meran within one and a half hours, and takes in some of the best views in Südtirol. 

Highly promising is also the high alpine panoramic trail from the Tiefenbachferner (glacier) from an altitude of 2.800m to the village of Vent.  Hikers climb above 900m in altitude with spectacular views of the Ötztaler and Stubaier Alps.

An absolute must for every mountaineer and anybody staying in Zwieselstein is the 3.100 m local peak known as the Nederkogl (3.163m).  The hike does not require any ropes nor a guide but it still represents an exciting challenge and offers unbeatable views.  Extremely popular among the locals, it  takes between 3 and 4 hours from the Lenzenalm and takes you past the crystal clear Nedersee.  From Zwieselstein to the Lenzenalm, the walk takes about an hour.  Good boots, spare clothing and sure-footedness are essential.  It is recommended to start early in the morning to avoid the hot midday sun and perhaps be able to admire the sunrise from over the mountain tops!  The whistling of the marmots accompanies on the way and once in a while you even catch a glimpse of them and then higher golden eagles and chamois are not uncommon as well as wonderful flora, including alpine roses, gentian and edelweiss.  Once you reach the summit, depending on temperature and wind speeds, there is time to relax and enjoy the view into the Ötztal valley and over to the Tiefenbachferner (glacier) and of course sign the visitor book.  During the descent, it’s tradition to stop at the Lenzenalm for a “Brettljausen” of Speck, cheese, homemade bread as well as an ice-cold Austrian beer.

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In Zwieselstein, the road forks into the Venter and Gurgl valleys, each on it’s own worth visiting for different reasons: Vent as a quiet and charming insider tip and Gurgl as the internationally known resorts of Obergurgl and Hochgurgl.

In Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, der Diamant der Alpen, the choice for walkers and climbers seems infinite with an astounding 21 glacier-topped mountain peaks higher than 3000 metres … but not to worry if this seems a little daunting as viewpoints like  “Top Mountain Star” (3.080 m) or the “Hohe Mut Alm” (2.670 m) can also be reached via cable car.

The true, rustic Tyrolean village character lies in Vent, where highly recommended is a family trip to the “Rofenhöfen” where one crosses a long suspension bridge with views down the “Rofenschlucht” gorge.

Those who want to be on top of the world, should try paragliding or tandem flying in Sölden starting from the “Mittelstation” on the “Gaislachkogelbahn”.  Further up, you get to the prestigious “Ice Cube” Restaurant where you can indulge in culinary highlights à la James Bond.

New this Summer (July 2018) will be the 007 Elements James Bond theme park, a cinematic installation, which will give exciting insights into the making of the films.

To plan as many activities at different venues as possible we recommend the great deal of the Ötztal Card which saves you money, time and hassle.  The Ötztal card can be purchased for 3, 7 or 10 days and helps you organise various local activities in a stress-free and cost-effective way.  They included free public transport offers and connections to most venues.

In 2018, Kristall Spaces will be building property for sale in Obergurgl and Sölden.  There are still 3 apartment left for sale. 

100cm of fresh snow in 48 hours

After one of the snowiest Januarys on record in the Alps with ski resorts in Tirol seeing 100cm of snow falling in just 48 hours, the outlook for February and the busiest skiing weeks of the year looks excellent.

Thanks to the snow storms of January which left road and rail access to St Anton, Ischgl and Kühtai cut off, there is a superb base in the ski resorts in Tirol.

The Lawinenwarndienst Tirol (Avalanche Warning Service for Tirol) cannot recall snowfall like this since 1999 and despite some blue skies in recent days, temperatures have dropped and there will be more wintry weather to come.

Current snow depth report in key Austrian resorts:

St Anton  140 / 415 cm
Hochoetz  40 / 220 cm
Fieberbrunn  100 / 200 cm
Sölden  20 / 325 cm
Ischgl  100 / 170 cm

Clearing snow in the Ötztal:

Bellevue Best Property Agents 2018

Kristall Spaces has been awarded the Bellevue magazine Best Property Agents 2018 seal of approval.  Only a select group of international real estate agents are awarded this title.

Branson Atterbury, Marketing Director at Kristall Spaces AG commented: “We had a compelling proposition for the Bellevue panel of judges.  We are the developer, agent and operator and thus provide a rare, end-to-end service: construction, marketing in German, Dutch and English, legal and financial advice to buyers and maintenance and a rental service on behalf of owners. Our key personnel are court sworn experts for the Bundesministerium für Justiz in planning, construction, engineering and property consultancy.”

It is this end-to-end proposition that allows us to understand all parts of the value chain and makes us even more effective at advising customers on acquiring their dream lifestyle investment.

Kristall Spaces AG has a current pipeline of developments worth in excess of €100m and an impressive portfolio of projects including:

  • All-Suite Resort Fieberbrunn (Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang / Kitzbühel Alps) All-Suite Resort Karwendel
  • All-Suite Residence Kühtai
  • Silva Peak Residences, Ischgl
  • All-Suite Resort Paznaun, Ischgl
  • All-Suite Resort Ötztal
  • Residenzen Gasthof Zwieselstein, Sölden
  • Mountain Spa Residences, St Anton
  • Mountain Lake Resort, Zell am See
  • Residenz Zwieselstein, Sölden
  • Residenz Sölden

Buying new build property in Austria

Austria is already the first choice for affordable ski properties, higher rental yields and authentic hospitality when compared to France and Switzerland but how does one decide on the type of property to buy: new-build or resale?

Here are some options to consider:

New-build or off-plan property in Austria normally comes with a higher price tag per m² and will further increase in value as soon as you take ownership.  Typically, we see a 4 to 5% annual growth on our ski apartments and this can be higher in some locations in Tirol thanks to scarcity restrictions to avoid the “cold beds” trends found in France and Switzerland.  According to the UBS Alpine Property Focus 2017, St Anton delivers best growth in the Alps at 8.2%.

So, you might have to increase your budget for a new-build but here’s a few reasons why it’s worthwhile.

New developments present an opportunity to buy into the project early increasing your chances of securing one of the best units at the lowest price and improving capital appreciation.  Note that developers can increase their prices year-on-year and as the project gains interest demand starts to rise.

Importantly, smart new build projects are carefully chosen by a developer for their location and access to ski lifts / pistes and restaurants and can command a rental premium over resale properties.

New property buyers aren’t in a chain and there is less reliance on the current owner / vendor which means less chance of the sale falling through.

Buying off-plan offers attractive payment schemes which don’t exist with resale properties: you pay for your apartment in stages.  The trustee will notify you in good time when each stage payment is due so you have time to prepare the transfer of funds – no need to transfer all at once.  This can be particularly advantageous when using a currency service.

There is also flexibility when dealing with the developer over factors such as parking spaces and choice of furniture packs and when there is joint ownership of the operating company for your apartments, it is possible for the developer to guarantee rental returns for a period during the operating agreement e.g. guaranteed 4% return on net purchase price for first 5 years.

When you buy off-plan in Austria, you get a certain amount of control over the interior of the apartment.  There is range of interior themes and styles to choose from and because you are dealing with the developer it is possible to make minor changes to the floor plans in the early stages of the project.

All new properties built in Austria use state-of-the-art, energy efficient methods and materials that you will simply not find in resale buildings.  Greener energy solutions, more efficient heating systems and some of the highest recycling standards in Europe not only reduce your carbon footprint but lower bills.

All Kristall Spaces’ developments use automatic central heating systems with air or water sourced heat pumps.  Energy is also captured from the spa and bathrooms areas to generate warmth in the underfloor heating systems via heat exchangers and our ventilation systems use the same heat recovery principles to pump fresh air into the apartments at the correct room temperature.  All this results in monthly heating cost savings for owners when compared to oil or gas and delivers a greener, more sustainable solution.

New properties in prime Austrian ski resort locations that come with a rental obligation when owners are not staying there themselves are exempt from VAT.  You can save a whopping 20% on the sales price when you opt for one of these apartments.

New properties come with building guarantees.  For example, we negotiate with tradesmen and suppliers for the following:

  • 10 years for the roof covering
  • 5 years for the mechanical systems (heating, electrics, lifts)
  • 5 years for the remaining works including the shell of the building
  • 2 years for electrical goods

Furthermore, Austrian Building Law allows for a 30-year Statute of Limitations for all hidden defects.

Please see our generic FAQ about buying and owning property in Austria or why not Contact us for advice on your Austrian property search.

Kristall Spaces Projects Update – Ski Properties in Tirol Winter 2017/18

Please click the links below for more information on each project.

St Anton – completion date December 2017.  Ready to occupy.  Over 70% sold out.  Award-winning ski-out apartments.   Some of the best views in the valley.  St Anton delivers best growth (8.2%) in UBS Alpine Property Focus 2017.

Kühtai – 2 apartments left. Ready to occupy now. Highest customer satisfaction in Kühtai on Booking.com: 9.6 Exceptional.  Ski in and out.  Highest ski apartments in Austria – 2,020 metres.  35 minutes from Innsbruck airport.

Ötztal – dual season resort. 100 metres to the ski lift. Full pricing and availability. 8% return on capital invested when taking out a 55% mortgage or a guaranteed 4% return on net purchase price for first 5 years.  25 minutes from Innsbruck airport.   Prices from 215.000€.  19 apartments sold.

Sölden – revised pricing post tendering.  Adjacent to family-run Gasthof Zwieselstein.   Guaranteed 4% return for the first 5 years.   Sölden and Obergurgl-Hochgurgl now offer a joint lift pass for 3+ days. 4 apartments left.

Fieberbrunn – 270km of pistes – will soon connect with Zell am See. Prices from 225.000€. Up to 8% return on capital invested when taking out a 55% mortgage or a guaranteed 4% return on net purchase price for first 5 years.  Some of the highest snowfall in Tirol.  Excellent off-piste skiing.  10 apartments reserved.

Ischgl – prices start at 5,000EUR per sq metre.  Full pricing available in April 2018.  Contact us today for a preview of the plans.  Already taking unbinding reservations.

Karwendel – pricing available in April 2018.  Contact us today for plans.  No rental obligation.  One of the most beautiful places you will ever visit.

Kristall Spaces develops and sells ski property in Tirol and now we manage and rent apartments on behalf our owners through our operator business, All-Suite Resorts.

St. Anton tourist numbers up Winter (3%) & Summer (10%)

The St. Anton tourist office recently confirmed a 3% rise in last winter’s visitors year on year and a 10% rise in summer visitors in 2017.

This double digit growth is down to the Austrian’s success at marketing themselves more effectively as a year-round destination, in turn attracting a more diverse visitor base (the Millennials in particular).

With all the ongoing infrastructure investment and demand from a more international customer base, there is room for upward price movement: 8.2% in St. Anton according to UBS.

At Kristall Spaces, we have been conservative in our Mountain Spa Residences St Anton rental projections and do not include any summer rental income in the average 3.6% return calculated.

9 aug 7 key

We have just loaded new photos to our website from some of the unsold 2 and 3 double bedroom apartments.

Please see the link https://propertysaleaustria.co.uk/st-anton/st-anton-construction-news/

From these images, you can appreciate the 180 ͦ views from the apartments up and down the Rosanna valley: from the East and St Jakob, across the fields to the South and Rendl and finally to the West and the village.

The photos give a good sense of the position of Haus A and the unobstructed views over Haus B which is lower down the slope.  The photo below is taken from the old Haus A looking South West over Haus B towards Rendl (click to enlarge).

VIEW-TO-THE-SOUTH-TOWARDS-RENDL-FROM-2ND-FLOOR-HAUS-A-1024x657

We are on schedule for handover at the beginning of the ski season in December 2017 and there is some hope from the meteorologists’ predictions of a colder winter this year!

Time will tell.

Kühtai apartments get highest customer reviews: 9.6 Exceptional

We are delighted to report that the Kühtai 2020 Residences built and sold by Kristall Spaces and operated by our sister company All-Suite Resorts all-suite.com have received the highest customer review scores in Kühtai in only their first 7 months of operation.

Kühtai 2020 Residences have scored 9.6 and been classified as Exceptional. 

An impressive result considering that the aparthotel is still in its first year establishing itself in the market.  All the customer comments have been 100% verified by Booking.com as real customers and can be reviewed on this link

booking uk

A summary of the customer comments about the apartments is provided below:

  • The location of the apartments often scores 10 out of 10 (ski in and out, opposite ski shop and ski school and next to one of the best restaurants in the village)
  • Customers love the south-facing views and balconies
  • The quality of the interiors, the comfort and cosiness
  • Parquet floors and high-end finishes and equipment e.g. Miele kitchens, Hans Grohe bathrooms
  • Sound proofing and privacy – no noise from neighbours
  • Lift and free parking right outside

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Summary of customer comments about the operator All-Suite Resorts and its service:

  • The professionalism and friendliness of the All-Suite Resorts staff
  • Cleanliness of the apartments
  • The quality of the free WIFI service
  • Large sauna and steam bath running from 17h00 to 20h00

There are 5 apartments still available which have not been rented out and are in pristine condition waiting for new owners to occupy them.

Our sister company All-Suite Resorts is offering a guaranteed 4% net return for first 3 years and with the winter and summer visits to Kühtai growing each year and future lift expansions planned, buyers can be assured of a low-risk and hassle free investment.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you have an interest in one of our last 5 apartments.

Key facts about Kühtai 2020 Residences:

  • 5 apartments left for sale and ready to be occupied
  • Completed December 2016
  • Luxury apartments in Austria’s highest ski village
  • Ski-in, ski-out
  • On-site wellness: sauna, steam room and relaxation area
  • Managed rental service to cover running costs
  • Prices start at € 379,890.00
  • Guaranteed 4% net return for first 3 years

Fieberbrunn to invest 7million Euros in snow making technology

In 2018, the Fieberbrunn lift company will expand the capacity of the Streuböden-Alm reservoir ten fold to enhance the early season snow making operations.

From Spring 2018, the reservoir will extended to capture more melt water than ever before and provide a more efficient and greener solution to snow-making in the run-up to Christmas.

fiebers s alm

The plan involves being able to store melt water in the reservoir at a rate of 60 litres per second and then recycle it for snow-making via higher capacity pipes and 35 propeller snow-makers which will result in the entire ski area being covered and ready for skiing in 1 week.

Full story here in the Tiroler Tagezeitung (11 July 2017) http://www.tt.com/wirtschaft/standorttirol/13198041-91/bergbahnen-fieberbrunn-planen-gr%C3%B6%C3%9Feren-speichersee.csp

Der Standard (Wien): Buy to let property in Austria is a “win-win”

A good analysis of the current buy-to-let model in the Austrian Alps and how many British, Germans, Austrians, Dutch and Belgian buyers are investing in Tourism Residences in Austria encouraged by returns of 4 to 4.5% and freedom to use their apartment and sell it in a market offering price growth.  (Knight Frank says property prices grew 4.6% in Q1 in Austria and Immodex is reporting a 34% increase in prices since 2010).

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy Leisure Residences in dual season resorts in Tirol and the buy to let model favours investors in these locations (Oetz and Fieberbrunn receive 45% of all their visitors in Summer) as well as the local councils.

Der Standard - 27 Juni 2017

Der Standard – 27 Juni 2017

According to the author, it is crucial that apartment owners and the Gemeinde (council) have an operator in place for at least 5 years to ensure year-round visitor numbers continue to grow and support continual investment in infrastructure and amenities.

According to Statistik Austria, professionally rented apartments are also the fastest growing category of accommodation sought by tourists at 9.4% growth year on year.

The management of Kristall Spaces has launched its own operator All Suite Resorts all-suite.com to provide an end-to-end management and rental service for buyers of our apartments.

All Suite Resorts is planning to offer guaranteed returns across all its project locations going forward.

Please contact us today for more information.

News: soft Brexit & Austrian property price growth (4.6%)  

Europe woke up to a surprise this morning.

The UK Conservative Party failed to gain a bigger majority in the UK General Election meaning its position and authority is automatically weakened in its plans to negotiate a hard Brexit (where the UK gives up full access to the single market and takes control of its borders).

This election was basically a public referendum on how the UK conducts its negotiations with the EU and now a softer Brexit deal is more likely.

A soft Brexit is preferred by many ‘Remainers’ in the UK (remember that the referendum to leave the EU resulted in a very narrow margin of 52% leave to 48% remain).

It increases the likelihood that the UK will continue to access the single market without tariffs and will remove many doubts over London’s financial hub status.

The status of EU nationals moving across boarders will probably remain unchanged, although this has never been a factor preventing buyers outside the EU buying and owning property in Austria.

We have many buyers from countries outside the EU e.g. Australia, South Africa, Norway and the US.

Economically, the UK and Europe are looking at a period of greater economic stability compared to the disruption of a hard Brexit.  The Pound will benefit and so will those buying Austrian property in Sterling.

Meanwhile, Austrian property’s reputation as a safe-haven investment has further been enhanced as it continues to record growth of 4.6% in Q1 2017.  It outperformed France (2.9%) and Switzerland (2.4%), according to the Knight Frank Global House Price Index.

knight frank