300m Euro fund in new asset class in DACH region: serviced apartments & aparthotels 

Article in summary: 

  • AIF AlpenReal fund is investing in serviced apartments and aparthotels in the DACH region where there are 15 to 20 well-known operators 
  • Serviced apartments & aparthotels is a fast-growing asset class and increasingly popular choice for tourists 
  • They also benefit from the current work-from-home trend 
  • Flexibility / self-catering options (your own kitchen), digitisation and fewer communal areas have all been important factors during the pandemic for this type of tourist accommodation
  • Whilst the hotel asset class has suffered during the pandemic, serviced apartments have continued to perform
  • Larger operators who previously focused on business/city hotels are entering the market e.g. Accor and Dorint
  • Tourists in the DACH region feel safer taking vacations closer to home
  • Working part-time whilst on a skiing or mountain-biking holiday with the family is also an attractive option
  • The fund offers an opportunity for customer portfolios to invest in local and sustainable projects
  • The target distribution yield is an average of 6% over 10 years 

Source: Fundview.de (Tim Habicht 08/06/2022)

https://www.fundview.de/posts/2022/06/2022-06-08-assetklasse-aparthotels-in-der-dach-region-aif-will-300-millionen-euro-assets-einsammeln.html 

14 May opening of the Katzenkopf lift and bike trail in Leutasch

The Summer season starts on 14 May in with the opening of the Katzenkopf lift starting at 1130m taking you up to the Katzenkopfhütte at 1380m and Leutasch Bike park.

Alternatively, there is a cycle path which is 2.6km long to reach the top (it normally takes 50minutes on foot to walk).

There are 5 trails to explore from the top of the lift ranging from very easy to medium for advanced bikers who like jumps.

Bike park day tickets prices start at 19Euros per day for a child, 24Euros for teenagers and 29Euros for adults.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHHBKmt7-AY

https://www.katzenkopf-leutasch.at/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/KatzenkopfLeutasch-Trailmap-D.pdf

More blog updates on Leutasch to follow.

Jan 22: high demand for serviced apartments

Some recent articles from Gewinn and the Tiroler Tagezeitung on the Austrian property market in general, and news on the “Serviced Apartment” sector in Tirol specifically (to be clear, these are dual-season, buy-to-let, ski apartments which are rented to tourists throughout the year).  

          

Skiurlaub mit Rendite Dezember 2022

Summary overview: 

We are experiencing high demand from EU buyers, especially from the German-speaking and Benelux countries;

Austrians have become aware of the great opportunities to invest in their country’s tourism sector;

Thanks to strategic planning laws and restrictions on development, pent up demand for ski apartments is outweighing supply which in turn is supporting the current trend in strong capital growth – average house prices rose 12.9% year-on-year across Austria in 2021;

Experienced investors are seeking second and third properties in the Alps during the current inflation surge;

Real estate traditionally acts as a hedge during periods of high inflation, as the real asset holds its value, and rental income is indexed with inflation;

When rented out fully to the tourism market, our self-catering ski apartments can deliver an average 4% annual return over 10 years on rental performance alone and the general view is that this is the last Winter of disruption as major skiing markets in Europe exit the pandemic.

Kristall Spaces is currently offering 4 completed apartments in Fieberbrunn and 14 apartments in Ischgl which will be completed in October 2022. 

Further projects will be announced in Q2 2022.

New rules for Winter 2021/22: Ski lifts and Après-ski

22 September: new rules have been announced by Austrian Tourism Minister Elizabeth Köstinger.   

In summary, there will be very few restrictions for skiers who have been vaccinated. 

  • The 3G Rule applies refers to ‘Getestet, Geimpft, Genesen’ (Tested, Vaccinated, Recovered)
  • You must show evidence of vaccination, a negative test or having recovered from the virus in the last 6 months (applies for everyone over 12 years)
  • Antigen tests from an Apotheke are valid for 48 hours
  • PCR tests are valid for 72 hours
  • The EU Green Pass will make it easy to prove your status (NHS app for UK citizens)
  • FFP2 masks must be worn on ski lifts
  • 85% of lifts are open (chair lifts) with a lower risk of infection and a journey time of less than 15 minutes
  • The same rules apply to après-ski as to restaurants: guests must show a valid negative PCR test result, proof of vaccination or proof of recovery
  • If the ICU capacity in Tirol becomes limited then stricter measures will be needed (after 300 and 400 ICU beds are in use – currently at 60).

Glacier skiing in Sölden is already in full swing!

© Ötztal Tourismus/Bergbahnen Sölden

Serviced apartments 20% higher occupancy than hotels

The serviced apartment segment proved its resilience during the pandemic according to a recently published market report “Serviced Apartments 2021” (Source: https://www.ahgz.de/).

The 2020 occupancy rates for serviced apartments were at least 19% higher than the hotel sector and 28% higher in April 2020.

According to the current planning status, the serviced apartment segment will grow by 48% by the end of 2023.

Other news:

Our operator all-suite.com is getting lots of bookings for July and August and even into September as the number of new infections has fallen in Germany (19.9 per 100,000) and Austria (24 per 100,000).

There has also been another lifting of restrictions in Austria:

  • The curfew has moved from 2200 to midnight
  • 8 adults can meet indoors and 16 outdoors
  • Social distancing is now 1 metre instead of 2 metres
  • Cultural venues can now allow 75% occupancy instead of 50%
  • You no longer have to wear a mask outdoors

Austria and the rest of the EU are working on producing a Digital Covid Certificate which will become valid from 1 July.

Tirol is one the least densely populated areas in Europe with 59 people per square kilometre versus Germany 232, Netherlands 521, England (UK) 424, Belgium 376, Czech Republic 135.

And our serviced apartment model provides extra safety during these times.

Come and stay in a well-spaced, self-contained apartment where you can arrive in your own car, you have the flexibility to cook for yourself and there are fewer communal areas compared to the old-fashioned 3 and 4-star family-run hotels.

Austria to vaccinate every adult in next 100 days

Austria is performing well in its vaccination programme when compared to other European states.

According to the Statista website https://www.statista.com/statistics/1196071/covid-19-vaccination-rate-in-europe-by-country/ , Austria is in 9th place in Europe with 19.5 percent of its population having been given at least one dose, just behind Denmark which is at 20 percent.

One reason is probably that it has not stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine for certain age groups.

Last week Chancellor Sebastian Kurz promised every adult in Austria who wants to be vaccinated against the coronavirus will be given the opportunity in the next 100 days.

Kurz also said sport, restaurants and hotels will be able to open again in May, after over 65s are vaccinated.

In May all over 50-year-olds should be jabbed, and in June vaccination is to be opened to all age groups. (source: thelocal.at).

Welcome news for the tourism industry and the forthcoming Summer season.

Our operator all-suite.com is expecting a very busy July, August and September.

June could also start to get busy and in October they are expecting good business from the hiking tourists in Oetz and Fieberbrunn where the lifts run from 13 May to 26 October.

More and more tourists now prefer to stay in a well-spaced, self-contained apartment where they have the flexibility to cook instead of the old-fashioned 3 and 4-star family-run hotels which run the standard half-board service model in a riskier environment with more communal areas.

At Kristall Spaces, we are arranging meetings next week with property buyers from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK who are travelling for business purposes right now to invest in a property that supports tourism.

Please contact us today to arrange your property viewing in person or remotely via video.

Construction resumes in Ischgl / Galtür – 46 apartments

Our Baumanagement team just got the go-ahead to resume construction on our All-Suite Resort Paznaun project.

We are building 46 apartments just 7 minutes outside Ischgl (on the free ski bus) and normally we are not allowed to build during the ski season.

Galtür is open for skiing until 5 April.

We have already sold 30% of the units in this project and so there is still a good choice of 1, 2 and 3-bedders available.

Most apartments have South-facing views.

 

Contact us today for more information or to request a personalised rental projection.

 

 

11 January: visiting Tirol to see apartments & sign contracts

There is currently a lockdown in place in Austria until 24 January and we are advising prospective apartment buyers to wait until after this date to travel to Tirol.

IMPORTANT: if you travelling to see an apartment or sign a contract (mortgage or Kaufvertrag) then your visit is categorsied as a business trip because you are considering an investment in a “gewerbliche Ferienwohnung” which supports tourism in Tirol.  

In other words, you are not travelling as a tourist and it is easier to enter Austria.  

Please contact us to discuss this and we will advise you on the best way to make a visit e.g. some visitors crossing the border from Germany will be arriving by car to see an apartment and returning home on the same day, without a stay in Tirol.  

The situation for tourists:    

Our operator, All-Suite Resorts GmbH, is currently planning to open on Monday 25 January and they are considering two scenarios for February which is typically a very busy month for tourism from all the key markets.

There might be no customers at all except for Austrians because the restrictions are in place entering Tirol and returning home or there could be a deluge of arrivals. 

Arriving tourists would probably have to show a negative test to avoid quarantine or if they do not have a test then this could be arranged on arrival and the guest would have to stay in their apartment for up to 24 hours until they get the result.  

Tourists would have to comply with their home country rules and some of these might require a quarantine for 5 days followed by a test to release them. 

This might be an acceptable given the various holidays in key markets like Germany, the Benelux, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.  

The new “work from home” means the impact of quarantine is less disruptive on working lives.   

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. 

27 November: visiting Tirol & site visits

There is currently a lockdown in place in Tirol until 6 December.  Hotels are closed to leisure travellers/tourists; only business travellers are allowed to stay in hotels.

Some of our buyers have legitimate excuses to travel for business or for the purpose of making an investment in a “gewerbliche Ferienwohnung” which supports Austria’s tourism industry.

The Federal Government has ordered over 7 million tests to try and screen the entire population at 100 testing stations across the country before Christmas.

SITE VISITS – REAL & VIRTUAL

  • Kristall Spaces is still planning site visits in-person for buyers who are able to travel – observing all safety protocols
  • It is easier for buyers based in Austria to do site visits right now but some buyers are able to cross from Germany for 24hours to do the site visit and then they go home
  • Buyers from further afield can even fly into Munich airport to make a quick visit over the border before returning
  • Virtual visits: we are also doing visits over video with our customers – we can make a video call from the finished apartments or the shell of the apartments in Fieberbrunn for example
  • 3D tours: for finished apartments in Oetz, Sölden and St. Anton customers can walk around the last few apartments for sale (we have sold several apartments this way) e.g. https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=CnyP9pwmAEi

TESTING & SAFETY

  • The total number of infections in Tirol is falling
  • Most of the infections are in densely populated areas like Innsbruck – the valleys and ski resorts are not affected and, for example, there are 164 infections in the Bezirk of Landeck, the district which covers Ischgl and St. Anton
  • Our hotel operating company can arrange COVID tests with local doctors and have the cost charged to the bill for the stay in our apartments https://www.apartments-oetztal.com/en/latest/
  • The national testing programme will enable all the authorities to isolate infected people before Christmas
  • Andreas Steibl, the Director of Tourism in Ischgl says more than €700,000 had been invested in their hygiene and protection plan which “goes far beyond the government’s measures”
  • The Tirol state government and University of Innsbruck are monitoring Ischgl’s sewage works to identify any presence of the virus
  • Disinfection of all cable cars takes place several times a day using special cold fogging devices: within 1 minute 99.99% of viruses, bacteria and spores are eliminated (the active ingredient does not leave behind residue and is 100% biodegradable, non-toxic, pH-neutral as well as skin- and eye-friendly)
  • And a multifunctional scarf with a filtering face-piece comes free with the lift pass

WHERE TO SKI

  • The ski slopes in Austria will not be closing
  • Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) makes the point that the virus does not spread on the ski slopes but mainly in closed indoor areas: “Das Virus verbreitet sich nicht auf den Skipisten, sondern vor allem auch in geschlossenen Innenräumen”
  • Ski lift openings: Oetz (11 Dec), Fieberbrunn (7 Dec), Ischgl (17 Dec), Leutasch cross-country started 20 November,  Sölden (11 Dec) and St Anton (18 Dec)

Please contact us today to discuss your visit to Tirol.

Google travel trends: closer to home, arrive by car and the outdoors

Recent Google data from the US has verified what we assumed was happening for a while: consumers have been cooped up since the pandemic started in March when travel searches fell sharply and now they want to get away, safely.

The source is Google Trends and Search Data U.S. but the parallels with key European markets are obvious e.g. Germany, Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Czech Republic.

This Summer has been a great success in Tirol for our operator with our owners’ apartments reporting rental income results >20% above expectation with September also looking positive.

German customers in particular feel comfortable travelling over the border into Austria by car: they can leave anytime, they want self-catering and they know that Tirol has only 395 confirmed infections and 108 deaths caused by the virus.

They can also find lots of nature and very few people: Tirol has a population density of 59 people per square kilometre versus Germany 232, Netherlands 521, England (UK) 424, Belgium 376, Czech Republic 135.

Here is a summary of the Google Trends and Search Data findings:

  • Searches for ski apartment (condo) rentals increased +40%
  • Tourists want outdoor destinations and travel options with more control
  • Hiking in national parks and wilderness areas are topping their lists
  • Searches in the category “winter travel destinations” grew by 30% year on year and “ski lodges and resorts” by 30% month over month
  • “The near outdoors” is 2020’s most popular destination

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/trending-data-shorts/travel-in-2020-trends