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One to Watch – Hidden Gem of the French Alps

With France topping the charts in a recent survey of the top 10 winter ski resort destinations by budget airline easyJet, it seems that the French Alps remain in favour with British buyers.

As expected Chamonix, Avoriaz, Meribel and Les Arcs ranked highest but according to the French leaseback experts at Experience International, Sainte-Foy-en-Tarentaise, the hidden gem of the French Alps, is one to watch in 2010.

Occupying a prime location in the Tarentaise Valley, home to prestigious resorts including Val d’Isere, Tignes, Les Arcs and La Plagne, Sainte-Foy-en-Tarentaise has long been the preserve of experienced guides bringing their clients to enjoy the famous powder and off-piste skiing available. As Steven Worboys, MD of Experience International, comments:

“It is the ideal resort for experienced skiers and beginners alike. The traditional Savoyard architecture, stunning scenery and relaxed family atmosphere attract real mountain lovers. The popularity of Sainte Foy is only going to increase in 2010.”

Nnot only a popular ski destination Sainte-Foy is also the ideal second property location due to its ease of access from the UK (under the magic 2 hours drive from Geneva), year round appeal and property prices up to half that of surrounding areas.

With current concerns over the strength of the British Pound buyers are being cautious about committing to euro property purchases but as Steven Worboys explains, this should not be a concern as long as you select the right development:

“In order to minimise exposure to the current weakness of the Pound buyers should look for leaseback properties which require low deposits. The La Chapelle ski-in ski-out apartments in Sainte-Foy for example require only a 5% deposit to secure with 95% finance available.”

Leaseback properties in prime locations are attractive options as investors are able to secure guaranteed rental returns for 18 years plus, index-linked, as is the case with La Chapelle as well as enjoying flexible personal usage. Investment in these 4* luxury apartments is from as little as €12,000 including furniture, parking and purchase costs.

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Sun, Sea and Ski? Italy’s secret ski resort revealed

When you think of southern Italy, images of relaxing on a golden sandy beach with the warm waters of the Mediterranean lapping at your feet, indulging in the freshest Italian cuisine and strolling through character filled Romanesque towns springs to mind.

Whilst this is indeed true, it is not all that the southern region of Calabria offers. Drive just 90 minutes inland and you will be transported to the Sila Mountains, a rugged plateau in the heart of the region and home to Italy’s secret ski resort.

Popular for decades with Italians, the Sila National Park is filled with enchanting mountains and valleys, rich in flora and fauna it is the ideal location for nature lovers. Not only a summer destination, the Sila Mountains due to their altitude (the highest peak is almost 2000m) and reliable snowfall are fast becoming a popular European ski destination, proving it is possible to have sun, sea and ski all in one place.

In the quiet mountains of the Sila Massif you can take advantage of 35km of cross-country skiing trails, a number of pistes for beginners and intermediates alike and an impressive 1,748 feet of vertical descent, Hell Valley which is used for the Italian Ski National Cup. Stumble across hamlets where it is easy to believe that their origins are as old as the mountains themselves. Step back in time where women wear traditional black dress and elderly men sit quietly outside tavernas watching the world go by.

It is in this unspoiled setting that you will find the “pearl of Sila”, the little known but best organised ski resort of Lorica. Situated on the banks of Lake Arvo in a pleasant open valley facing south, warmed in winter by the sun of the south and cooled in summer by the height of the mountain, Lorica affords access to the top of the Botte Donato peak (1928m) from the Cavaliere station.

Steven Worboys, MD of overseas property experts, Experience International, comments,

“For those who love Italy, the Sila Mountains in Calabria are truly a hidden gem. The region offers the complete package from the sundrenched shores of the Calabrian coast to the spectacularly beautiful mountains of the Sila National Park only a short drive away. And with property prices remaining affordable, buyers can expect their euro to go a lot further compared to other more developed Italian ski resorts.”

One new development receiving considerable buyer interest is Porcino Silano, 6 luxury boutique 1 and 2 bedroom apartments in the village of Lorica starting from only €87,000. With private parking and private gardens, these eco friendly residences are just 300m from Lake Avro and a short distance from the ski lift enabling easy access to the Sila Massif peaks.

Please contact Experience International on +44 (0) 207 321 5858 or visit apartments in Italy for more information.

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