22% more Brits looking for property for sale in Austria (year on year)

Kristall Spaces’ data points to a significant rise in interest among UK buyers looking to buy property for sale in Austria, driven by Euro’s continual slide against the Pound.

The Pound is at a 7-year high and buying an Austrian property now for around €400,000 saves UK buyers circa £20,000, compared with January 2014.

Austria’s gain is neighbouring Switzerland’s loss meanwhile: online customer searches for Swiss property has dropped 15% according to Kristall Spaces research thanks mainly to Switzerland’s decision to unpeg its currency from the Euro.

A UK buyer wanting to acquire an apartment or chalet in Switzerland is going to get 13% less for their money now than they would have at the beginning of the year.

Liz Cass of Kristall Spaces says, “Our marketing experts analyse and compare data from different sources including Google’s real time search tools and we are seeing a healthy upsurge in online customer behaviour in the UK which mirrors the reaction to events in Europe such as quantitative easing to rescue flagging European economies.

property for sale in austria - Liz Cass - Kristall Spaces

“We’re also hearing from one or two savvy UK buyers wanting to secure an apartment at current rates with the uncertainty of an election coming closer. On the whole, they know they are getting a better return than buying in France or Switzerland and they particularly like the Austrian way of doing things.

“Our properties are typically managed by the original families who have been welcoming skiers to the area for generations. They really do understand the personal touch when it comes to service and looking after guests. You don’t always get that in ski resorts in other countries and for this reason customers like to come back to Austria time and again.”

Please contact Liz  today to find out about the different developments we are building in 2015 and selling directly to buyers without any sales agent fees.

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.

Swiss Franc good for business in the Austrian Alps

The Central Bank of Switzerland recently ended its 3-year plan to cap exchange rate gains of the Swiss Franc versus the Euro resulting in an almost instant switch of customer demand from Swiss property and Swiss ski resorts in favour of Austrian destinations, for both Austrian property buyers and holidaymakers.

In the run-up to 15 January 2015, the SNB had pegged the Swiss currency to adhere to patterns in Euro behaviour but after several falls in the Euro, the Bank lifted the enforced exchange rate and allowed investors to pile in sending the currency up by as much as 30%.

The move has created a sizeable impact on the Swiss ski industry and overseas ski property investors looking for their dream alpine ski property.

Many buyers have been put off by the dramatic rise in property prices and are finding much better deals in markets like Austria which has always offered better value for money than the French or Swiss Alp resorts (grounds costs are lower and rental yields higher).

Moreover, the traditional Austrian atmosphere is another factor cited even by French and Swiss visitors to Austria thanks to many of the original local families still running their hotels and Gasthofs offering a level of personal service and hospitality seldom found in other European resorts.

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Snowy view in Galtür today – the Türtschers will manage the Silva Peak Residences on behalf of owners.

A few other reasons for UK customers to choose Austria over France:

  • 73% of Austrians speak English versus 39% of French;
  • Average restaurant price in Austria – 40€ versus 50€ in France;
  • The average price of a beer in Austria – 4€ versus 8€ in France;
  • 1 minute of mobile phone usage costs 0.07€ in Austria versus 0.24€ in France.

Anybody can train in Channel 4’s The Jump winter disciplines

The new reality show, The Jump, sees celebs try a whole host of adrenalin-fuelled wintersports in Kühtai, Austria.

Taking inspiration from last year’s Winter Olympics, The Jump showcases eight disciplines including ski cross (see video below – most exciting FIS event), giant slalom, skeleton and ski jumping – all performed by 16 famous faces who are competing to be crowned snow king or queen.

Brave contestants include Made in Chelsea star Louise Thompson, former England cricketer Phil Tufnell and Joey Essex from TOWIE … or our favourite, Mike Tindall.

If you’re feeling inspired by the celeb efforts on the show, why don’t you give these challenging winter sports a go?

Here’s our summary of the most exciting and where you can try them for yourself on the slopes of Austria.

Bobsleigh

Fear factor: 3/5

Crammed into a steel pod only 3.8m in length in teams of two or four, participants make timed runs down a 1.5km narrow, twisting, iced track in a gravity-powered sled – reaching speeds of more than 80mph. Tantalisingly terrifying, but extremely fun.

Try it: Based near Innsbruck, Austria, at the kilometre-long Olympic bobsleigh track, you can learn to navigate a two-man bobsleigh through the track’s 14 bends: Olympiaworld Innsbruck (+43 512 377160 from €95 / £71).

Ski jumping

Fear factor: 4/5

Definitely not one for the faint hearted. Beginners should start with jumps of 10m and reach 20m after a day’s tuition.

However, whatever the size of the hill, it takes an extraordinary amount of courage to race down the icy runway on extra-long 2.4m skis and take that leap of faith – especially with the near-vertical ramp to start you off.

Try it: Towering high above Innsbruck on the wooded Bergisel Hill, the Bergisel Ski Jump offers the perfect opportunity to give ski jumping a go.

Skeleton

Fear factor: 5/5

Face down on a small sled just inches from the ice, participants hurtle down a frozen track reaching speeds of more than 90mph – with no brakes. Of all the Olympic adrenalin-fuelled sports, this has to be the scariest.

Tri it: Momentum Ski (020 7371 9111) offers a two-day Skeleton Experience with Amy Williams in Innsbruck, Austria, including a full track day with Amy, a passenger bobsleigh ride, two nights b&b accommodation, transfers and two dinners with wine from £1,500 per person.

Downhill and giant slalom

Fear factor: 3/5

In giant slalom, brave participants negotiate a series of widely spaced gates on a rock-hard piste at high speed. Downhill takes the game to a whole new level. It has only a few control gates and is over a much longer and steeper course. Plus, the surface is injected with water to make it icier.

Both disciplines require varying combinations of technique and bottle. You won’t learn either overnight – and downhill training is extremely difficult to acquire because it involves a whole section of the mountain being fenced off and closed to the public.

Try it: Snoworks (0844 543 0503) runs racing courses in Austria under the direction of expert instructor Phil Smith and Emma Carrick-Anderson.

Kühtai need-to-know facts:

Kühtai is situated at an altitude of 2,020 metres making it the highest winter sports resort in Austria;

It’s 35 minutes from the region’s capital Innsbruck and its airport;

Due to its almost guaranteed snow record, this season Kühtai has already hosted the first event of the Luge World Cup (Natural Track), an International Paralympic Committee World Cup race as well as two women’s World Cup ski races in Giant Slalom and Slalom;

EU and non EU buyers can now own a property in Kühtai thanks to the new Kristall Spaces 2020 Residences right in the middle of the resort with doorstep skiing.

Snow-sure Kühtai: the choice of the FIS to host the World Cup

The World Cup tour came to Kühtai at the end of December after the Semmering races were cancelled due to a lack of snow.

The FIS took the decision to relocate the two Ladies World Cup technical events to Austria’s highest ski resort in Kühtai thanks to its unmatched record of early and late season snow and ideal temperatures to ensure the best racing conditions.

Kühtai-Anna-Fenninger

Another deciding factor was Kühtai’s proximity to Innsbruck the most important city in Tirol.

Kühtai is one of the first places the inhabitants of Innsbruck head towards when they want quality skiing and ideal snow conditions, all within a 35-minute drive.

Over 6,500 spectators made their way up to the resort at 2,020 metres to cheer on their favourites racers which included an all-star line-up of Sweden’s Sara Hector, home country favourite Anna Fenninger and USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin whose form had been on a slight downward trend in recent races.

The courses were set right in the middle of the resort facing the exact location where Kristall Spaces is developing the 2020 Kühtai Residences, a collection of 14 brand new apartments in Kühtai for next Winter.

2020 Kühtai Apartments Now Available to Investors

Venture Plus AG and Kristall Spaces are proud to announce a stunning new build of holiday apartments in Kühtai, Austria’s highest ski resort. This is a unique opportunity to invest in ski property in one of the most snow-sure resorts in Austria.

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Austria’s highest resort

At 2020 metres above sea-level, Kühtai nestles among the peaks and mountain lakes above the Ötztal valley — yet it’s only 35 minutes from Innsbruck airport. With snow on the higher pistes for most of the year, the resort has invested heavily in tourism, including a planned installation of a 100MB WiFi system, and it was voted by ADAC as Europe’s best value for money ski destination, as well as winning the SkipassIndex for 2013/2014.

2020 Apartments

The new 2020 apartments (named after Kühtai’s altitude) are being designed by one of Austria’s leading architects, with construction due to start in April. Designed for the luxury market, they’ll be ski-in, ski-out properties located centrally in Kühtai, with current prices ranging from €286,000 for a two-bedroom ground floor unit to €641,500 for a large, three-bedroom penthouse apartment.

All the apartments will be luxuriously fitted out, with traditional furnishings and underfloor heating beneath the Swiss parquet floors. Kitchen and bathroom fittings will be by designers such as Hans Grohe, Miele and Siematic, while they’ll be completely up to date with smart TVs and wireless LAN. Triple-glazed, floor-to-ceiling windows will allow you a perfect vista of Kühtai’s breath-taking scenery.

A unique investment opportunity

It isn’t often that this kind of opportunity becomes available in one of Austria’s top resorts. The authorities keep very strict control over holiday homes, and Venture Plus AG and Kristall Spaces have carefully acquired permission for a new build in such a premier location.

Kühtai’s winter sports season starts earlier than most other resorts and lasts a long way into the year.  There’s no shortage of snow at 2020 metres!  Whilst the summer offers visitors the chance to enjoy the breathtaking Alpine scenery with a range of activities suited to all ages, so there’s demand for holiday apartments all year round. Kristall Spaces will not only manage the apartments, but also arrange rentals through renowned tour operators.

With VAT rebates available on the properties and strong annual capital growth rates, they not only guarantee a good return on investment through rentals, but are also almost certain to appreciate in value.

You can reserve an apartment by putting down a deposit, but several have been sold already, and the rest are likely to follow quickly. Check out the details for a wonderful investment opportunity!  Download Brochure.

Zell am See — What Does It Have to Offer?

Nestled on the shores of the Zeller See and dominated by stunning peaks, Zell am See and its neighbouring resort of Kaprun offer some of the most spectacular scenery in Salzburgerland. Not to mention some of the most varied skiing options, with a season lasting ten months of the year. Whether you’re an expert skier or on holiday with young children, whether you want to party at night or have a relaxing time — Zell am See has what you need.

Winter sports in Zell am See

The town is surrounded by three mountains, the Schmittenhöhe, the Kitzsteinhorn and the Maiskogel, which between them offer everything from freestyle slopes to child-friendly pistes. The Kitzsteinhorn has the most challenging slopes to suit the experts, while the Maiskogel is more suitable as a place to take the kids. The Schmittenhöhe has a full range, from expert to easy.

Each of the mountains has a snow park. The Snowpark Kitzsteinhorn, at 2900 metres, includes Austria’s biggest superpipe, 160 metres long and 6 metres high, while the Schmittenhöhe boasts the world’s longest Funslope, packed full of obstacles. The MPark on the Maiskogel mainly caters for children to have fun, but it includes areas to challenge advanced skiers, too.

There’s a ski shuttle to take you to whichever mountain you want, which is free with a ski pass, and the area has many ski schools, if you feel the need to improve your skills.

Après-ski

The night-life of a ski resort is important too, of course. Pubs and bars both down in the town and on the slopes offer drinks, live music and a party atmosphere. These include the Schnapps Hans Alm-Bar, the biggest après-ski in the Alps, but there are many other choices to suit every taste.

Or maybe that isn’t your thing. If you’re more interested in a romantic evening — or just a quiet one — than partying until you drop, there are plenty of Gasthofs and mountain huts that offer local specialities like Kasnocken and Gluhwein while you can look down at the lights in the valley or across the lake.

And, if you’re looking for something completely different, there’s always the Ice Camp Kitzsteinhorn, an igloo complex high on the mountain that offers an Ice Bar and Ice Lounges for social events.

Salzburgerland

In the unlikely event that you can tear yourself away from the slopes for a day, there’s still plenty to do in the area, ranging from the museum of vintage cars in Kaprun to the sights of Salzburg itself — whether you’re more a fan of Mozart or of The Sound of Music.

Whatever you’re looking for in a winter holiday, Zell am See has everything you could want.

Top 5 Events in Ischgl this Winter

Ischgl is as well known for its party spirit as for its fantastic slopes and winter sports facilities. Every day’s an event in Ischgl, but there are highlights through the winter. Here are five of the top events.

New Year’s Eve

The party of the year, as always, the New Year will be seen in here with music and fireworks. The countdown will start at ten to midnight, and the stroke of twelve will be welcomed by the pealing of the Pummerin bells, followed by the Blue Danube. The end of Austria’s national waltz signals in the fireworks with a spectacular musical soundtrack, and the party will carry on through the night.

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Shapes in White

This January will see the 22nd annual snow sculpture contest in Ischgl. Between the 12th and the 16th, international artists will compete to produce the finest creation of snow. Each year has a theme, and this year it’s “talent shows” — whatever the artists choose to make of that. The top ten designs submitted to the jury will be created on the slopes above Ischgl over the four days of the contest, culminating in the awards ceremony on the 16th. The sculptures will then remain for skiers to enjoy, until they finally succumb to summer.

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Top of the Mountain Easter Concert

The second Top of the Mountain concert of the season will be held on the 5th April in the Silvretta Arena, high on the mountain above Ischgl. The artist hasn’t yet been announced, but the concerts always attract top international acts. Last Easter’s artist was Robbie Williams, while the opening concert in November featured James Blunt. The concert that closes the season will follow on the 2nd May.

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World Rookie Finals

The culmination of the Rookie Tour for the snowboarders of the future, this is the chance for up-and-coming performers to show their most spectacular moves from the 9th to the 11th April. Although there are no money prizes, there’s plenty at stake. The best snowboarders at the event can expect sponsorship deals, video shoots and a starting place on the TTR tour.

World Rookie Finals

Silvretta Trophäe

On the 18th April, the International Silvretta Trophy will take place on the slopes above Ischgl. A giant slalom from the Flimjochbahn mountain station to the Idalp, the course drops by 450 metres from top to bottom. If you feel brave enough, you can register to take part. Otherwise, you can watch the skiers negotiating the course, finishing at the Top of the Mountain concert stage. And, of course, you can enjoy the après-ski celebrations afterwards, which promise to be spectacular — as they always are at Ischgl.

Silvretta Trophäe

Channel 4’s The Jump Is Confirmed for Kühtai

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Channel 4’s hit celebrity skiing show, The Jump, will be back on the screens in the new year, and, like the first series last winter, it will be filmed in Kühtai.

This year’s line-up

heather mills 270610The line-up for the new series has now been announced in full. The competitors are:

• Mike Tindall, former England rugby captain and husband of Zara Phillips
• Sally Bercow, wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons
• JB Gill, singer with JLS
• Heather Mills, ex-model, formerly married to Paul McCartney
• Phil Tufnell, former England test cricketer
• Louise Hazel, Commonwealth gold medallist for the heptathlon
• Jon-Allan Butterworth, Paralympian cyclist
• Ola Jordan, from Strictly Come Dancing
• Dom Parker, from the TV show Gogglebox
• Ashley Roberts, former member of the Pussycat Dolls
• Joey Essex, from the reality show The Only Way Is Essex
• Stacey Solomon, contestant on The X Factor
• Steve-O, from Jackass
• Louise Thompson, from Made in Chelsea
• Louie Spence, dancer
• Lady Victoria Hervey, socialite

showbiz-joey-essexDavina McCall, who hosted the first series, will return for the second.

The contest

The Jump consists of a series of challenges between the contestants, using winter sports including ski cross, giant slalom, skeleton, bobsleigh and speed skating, with new events rumoured for this year. The two competitors with the slowest times or speeds on each event must go head-to-head on a ski jump, with the loser eliminated.

The contestants train hard, but the challenges are by no means safe. On the last series, Henry Conway, Melinda Messenger, Sir Steve Redgrave and Marcus Brigstocke were all forced to withdraw with injury — though, thankfully, none of them serious. The overall winner was singer Joe McElderry, who had joined the line-up as a replacement for Conway.

The venue

The various challenges are held in different locations around Austria, but the show’s home is Kühtai, the highest resort in Austria and arguably the most spectacular. Only 35 minutes from Innsbruck, Kühtai lies in a huge snow bowl in the middle of spectacular alpine scenery, with an impressive range of pistes on offer. The mixture of convenience, the quality of the slopes, the scenery — and, of course, the kind of après-ski that only Austria can offer — make it a favourite with everyone from families to professional skiers.

You never know. If you’re holidaying in Kühtai this winter, you might bump into one of The Jump’s celebrities, whether on the slopes or in après-ski. That would be something to make a great holiday even more memorable.

Galtür for Investment in Ski Apartments

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This is a perfect time to invest in ski property in Austria, and the new build by Venture Plus AG and Kristall Spaces in Galtür, just a few miles from Ischgl, offers the perfect location. Galtür is a lovely village, notable for being especially family friendly, but a free ten-minute bus-ride will take you into the heart of Ischgl, with its huge choice of slopes and lively night-life.

Galtür

Once described by Ernest Hemingway as “an alpine idyll”, Galtür is in the heart of the Silvretta group of mountains, many of which look down on the village from over three thousand metres. Its pistes are mostly intermediate level, though with state-of-the-art lifts and facilities, but it’s just a few minutes’ bus-ride from both Ischgl and Voralberg, where you can find two of the most challenging black pistes in Austria.

Galtür prides itself on being family friendly, and among its facilities is a guest kindergarten where you can safely leave your younger children while you ski.

In the summer, Galtür offers a wide range of activities, from hiking to white-water rafting, in its beautiful Alpine scenery.

Silvapark Galtür

In 2007, Galtür’s Silvapark was redesigned, and is now the only park of its kind in Europe. It has six distinct areas, geared for different levels of skill and ambition, ranging from children’s sectors where they can learn by having fun in the snow to a sector designed for expert freestylers and freeriders. In addition, the “High and Nordic” sector offers cross-country slopes and tours into the high mountains.

Food & drink

The mountains around Galtür are dotted with lovely Alpine lodges and mountain restaurants, such as Fluchthorn Alm, Weiberhimml and Panorama Tenne, which offer traditional décor and traditional food from Tirol. You have the choice of staying cosy inside or enjoying the majestic views from terraces.

But you don’t have to go into the mountains. There are plenty of restaurants, cafés and bars in and around the village, offering a staggering range of styles and cuisine, as well as entertainment for your après-ski. And, if even this choice isn’t enough, it’s only ten minutes up the road to get to Ischgl and all its facilities.

Silva Peak Residences

Construction is due to start in April on our Silva Park Residences, and they’ll be complete by next Christmas. Located in the middle of the village, the charming Galtür hotel Marangun will make way for the luxury apartments each with dedicated underground parking, lifts and intercom access, as well as furnishings and fittings by top designers. Servicing and marketing will be managed by the local Türtscher family, who have more than twenty-five years’ experience of managing hotels and guest houses.

With ski property like this in such a wonderful setting as Galtür, all investors need to do is sit back to watch the income rolling in and the value increase.

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