Christmas 2008 in one of France’s most popular ski resorts, namely Chamonix, was surprisingly quiet – Britons were conspicuous by their absence thanks to the weak pound, and even the French were staying away and saving their euros.

However, the fact of the matter is, France has some of the very best skiing and après ski entertainment on offer in Europe, and as a direct result, its ski resorts will remain open and ride out the recession and return to their former prosperity in good time.

In the meantime, you still need to be very affluent indeed to afford to buy a ski chalet in France, but if you want to have a home close to the slopes our article about affording to buy ski property in France should fuel your dream and hopefully give you some food for thought.

Anyone who has travelled to the likes of Chamonix in recent years will have seen something of a transformation as ever more luxurious chalets have been developed in and around the town, and in the ski resorts close to Chamonix such as in Argentière.  The value of homes in the region has risen substantially and this has priced many out of the market who would otherwise love to have a ski property in France.

If this sounds like you, there are two things to keep in mind at the moment that will hopefully make you more positive about the prospects of your getting your hands on a home close to the slopes where you can enjoy skiing or snowboarding in the winter, outdoor activities in the summer, and even a decent rental income when you’re not inhabiting your home yourself.  The two things to keep in mind are: 1) property prices in France are falling and 2), if you think a little outside of the box and instead of buying a ready to use property in one of the main resorts you look at properties needing renovation within reach of the resorts, you will get so much more for your money.

For example, through the agency 2savoie Immobilier and for less than quarter of a million pounds you can buy an entire farm complete with land and outbuildings that’s within reach of – a massive ski centre in France.  This property could be turned into a business with the farmhouse ready to renovate and transform into a ten-bedroom home for example.  Alternatively, if you went the traditional route and looked for a property for sale within the resort itself for this sort of money, you’d be lucky to find a 1-bedroom apartment even in today’s economic climate!

Properties within driving distance of the slopes are of course less favourable when it comes to renting the home out to those wanting a ski-in ski-out place to stay.  However, if you price competitively you will still have interest – and because you have bought your property for less, your rental yield will still be attractive.  What’s more, many of the traditional ski resorts are located on the northern side of mountains and in the shadow of the mountains so that they are in the best locations for the best snow coverage.  But – if you buy a home with a beautiful aspect, with space around it and in a location where it benefits from the sunshine, you’ll suddenly find you have a home that you can let out all year round far more easily than you could rent out your pokey sunless 2 bed apartment in a resort town that becomes fairly ugly in the summer months.

And is it realistic that you will let the home out all year round?  Yes, because the Alps are a year round attraction becoming popular with walkers, hikers and climbers from the spring.  In the summer you also attract those who want to ride horses, white water raft, mountain bike, cycle and play golf!

So, if you do want to buy a ski property in France and you want to do so on a relatively tight budget but get the very best chance of a return from your home, think about buying a property that can be used and enjoyed all year round, that requires work and which is located away from the centre of the main ski resorts, and all of a sudden you will discover you get so much more for your money.  What’s more, because prices are falling and interest is dwindling, you will be more likely to have a cheeky offer accepted now as vendors struggle to sell!