Ski Property Report 2021 Knight Frank

Ski Property Report 2021 – What lies ahead?
Knight Frank highlight four trends and events that ski homeowners should have on their radar over the next 12 months


UK residents eligible for a dual nationality can still apply for a second passport solving questions about freedom of movement, pensions and healthcare. UK owners of Swiss ski homes should see less disruption given Switzerland remains outside the EU.
Brexit implications
From 1 January 2021, UK citizens travelling to the European Union (EU) are likely to require an ESTA style visa. It will be valid for a set period of time and should allow unlimited visits within that period. It’s also important to note that the EHIC card will no longer provide insurance when travelling in the EU.

For UK nationals with a ski home in France, employing UK nationals such as cleaning or chalet staff will become more complex as staff have to be employed by companies registered in the host country and both parties have to pay social security contributions locally at higher rates. In addition, Alex Ogario, a partner in Knight Frank Finance, points out: “UK buyers seeking finance for their alpine home may need to work harder to find the most suitable finance package, as some of the current options may disappear”.

Currency play

Currency movements can create substantial shifts in buying power for overseas purchasers. Add property price performance to the equation and the highs and low can be magnified further.

“2020 has already seen significant volatility but a US election, Brexit and the pandemic are only likely to lead to increased instability in the coming months.”

In times of global uncertainty, the Swiss franc is a go-to safe haven for investors and whilst it may be expensive, many consider exposure to the currency in the name of diversification a price worth paying. Analysts at Credit Suisse estimate the Swiss National Bank sold more than $98bn worth of Swiss francs in the first half of 2020 alone.

Design & technology

The pandemic is likely to hasten new design trends as developers look to adapt their homes to cater for a change in living and working patterns. Ski homes will be no different.

We expect new developments to incorporate a better and more flexible use of space as people spend longer and place more demands on their ski home. Apartments are likely to see larger terraces and balconies, whilst larger complexes will offer business amenities such as video conferencing and printing facilities.

As we highlighted in our Global Development Report, reliable broadband throughout the entire building will be a must to enable flexible working. The pandemic will also drive automation including facial or voice recognition and wave-sensor activation in communal areas such as lifts. Plus, the use of antibacterial materials and air filtration systems will increase.

The rise of the 50/50 home

Across all our ski markets, the last six months have seen second homes reclassified as semi-permanent homes and with this comes higher expectations. Whether a home office, outdoor space, faster broadband, a cinema room, smart technology – these homes now need to have as high a specification as the owner’s primary residence.

In Switzerland, the repercussions could be significant. With workers in Geneva, Lausanne or Montreux no longer officebound, a number are decamping to their ski homes. If these are recategorised as permanent residences, the proportion of second homes may fall below the 20% cap imposed by Lex Weber back in 2014, enabling new development to take place for the first time in over a decade.

Long term rentals as a precursor to future sales

As many parts of the world contemplate second or third waves of the pandemic and tighter lockdown restrictions this winter, we’re seeing demand for long-term lets strengthen as ‘The Great Working From Home Experiment’ has opened up new windows of opportunity.

It’s allowing people to test the waters before buying in parts of the world they may never have previously explored some with an ‘option to buy’ clause built into the rental agreement. Rents are competitive with major urban centres such as London, New York or Geneva and you can hit the slopes in your lunch break.


Original article can be found HERE.

Swiss residential property prices on the rise

Swiss residential property prices on the rise 

After falling by 0.8% in the first quarter of 2020, average Swiss residential property prices have rebounded, rising in every quarter since to deliver an annual 2020 increase of 2.5%.

Average residential property prices rose by 1.4% in Q2, by 0.2% in Q3 and by 2.3% in the final quarter of 2020. Across the year, the prices of single family dwellings (+2.8%) rose more than the price of apartments (+2.2%).

The biggest gainers were single family homes in large agglomerations (+4.4%) and rural locations (+3.0%). Properties gaining the least were apartments in small towns outside large agglomerations (+1.4%) and single family homes in mid-sized towns (+1.6%). A map produced by the Federal Statistical Office shows how much prices rose in every Swiss municipality in Q4 or 2020

Original article can be found HERE.


Commercial and Multifamily Lending Markets Set Up for Growth in 2021

New reports from MBA predict lending and mortgage maturities to increase this year.

Commercial and multifamily lending markets are poised for strong growth in 2021. According to a new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage maturity volumes are likely to increase 36% this year, while commercial and multifamily lending are forecasted to increase 11%.

Commercial and multifamily mortgage bankers are predicted to close $486 billion this year—an increase from the $440 billion in loan volumes closed in 2020—with multifamily lending driving the growth. The sector alone is set to increase 7% this year, up $323 billion in 2021. By comparison, multifamily lending activity totalled $302 billion in 2020.

This is likely the beginning of recovery for the lending markets after a paltry performance in 2020 due to the pandemic. “The steep declines in mortgage borrowing and lending seen in 2020 should partially reverse in 2021. The economic rebound MBA anticipates in the second half of the year should bring greater stability to the markets, but with continued differentiation by property type,” Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s VP for commercial real estate research, said in the firm’s forecast report.

Maturities will also increase this year. This year, 10% or $223 billion of the total $2.3 trillion of commercial mortgage debt is scheduled to mature this year. This is a 36% increase in loan maturities compared to 2020, when maturities totaled $163.2 billion.

There is no clear trend in which capital segments will see the bulk of these maturities. Multifamily and health care mortgages held by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and Ginnie Mae represent 1% of the total maturities; life insurance companies hold a total of 6% of maturities or $39.8 billion; and 16% of CMBS loans are coming due. “Commercial and multifamily mortgage maturities among non-banks lenders are the highest since at least 2009,” said Woodwell. “Many life company, GSE and FHA loans that would have been coming due this year were instead refinanced or prepaid early. Those declines have been more than made up for by shorter-term loans with 2021 maturity dates made by CMBS and investor-driven lenders.”

This is a bright outlook considering the low bar the market set last year. In December, CMBS delinquencies were still on the rise, according to an end-of-the-year report from MBA, with 5.7% of commercial mortgages delinquent in November, increasing from 5.4% in October.

Original article can be found HERE.

Top 10 Multifamily Financing Trends for 2021

Capital continues to flow to multifamily sponsors and commercial real estate in general. Here are the 10 key factors that will drive liquidity this year.

mid the ongoing pandemic and economic sluggishness, skeptical lenders and equity investors are expected to continue looking favorably on multifamily as one of the more durable property types. 

As more vaccines are administered, the mountains of cash sitting on the sidelines should begin to flow, and multifamily will be one of the main recipients of that capital, followed by industrial. But, for at least part of the year, multifamily will be beset by some of the challenges impacting commercial real estate in general. Here are the major trends likely to influence the capital markets in 2021:


While vaccinations have started, distribution will take at least several months, and the pandemic’s effects are expected to continue through that time.

The Mortgage Bankers Association estimated in July that 2020 lending will be down by almost 60 percent from a record $601 million in 2019 and forecast only a partial rebound in 2021. The release of the vaccine has not really impacted that prognosis.

The pandemic is still very active and will continue to affect different property types, according to Jamie Woodwell, vice president of commercial real estate research at the Mortgage Bankers Association.


Construction loans in the multifamily space have gained popularity during the pandemic and will likely continue to attract lenders from all points of the capital universe. Along with industrial, multifamily has been a top-performing property type for rent collections and investment volume.

CBRE forecasts multifamily investment volume will reach $148 billion in 2021, for a 33 percent increase over the 2020 estimate of $111 billion. Brian Stoffers, global president of debt & structured finance for CBRE, predicted that 2021 will see more multifamily lending from non-government-sponsored enterprise lenders. “Life companies should see higher multifamily volumes in coastal cities and in higher-end product,” Stoffers said.

Banks have typically capped around 50 percent of cost during the pandemic, leaving opportunities for other capital providers. Madison Realty Capital, the New York City-based private equity firm that launched a $1 billion-plus investment fund during the pandemic, has been active in the space providing whole construction loans of up to 75 percent or so of cost.

“We’ve done a ton of deals in New Jersey,” said Madison Realty Capital Co-Founder Josh Zegen. “Generally, there’s been a trend towards people pushing out into (not only) transit-oriented locations in New Jersey but places that were a little more suburban, like Woodbridge and North Bergen, N.J.”

In the fourth quarter, Madison closed a $165 million construction loan for a Boston apartment building next to Fenway Park and a $173 million construction loan for an apartment building in Chelsea.


Commercial mortgage-backed securities have been very stressed in 2020 but will do better in 2021 as investor demand continues to return. “With high investor demand and lower spreads, CMBS should pick up market share on product that is desired by investors, such as industrial, multifamily, long-term leased office, grocery or low-leveraged leased retail and conservative hotels,” said Stoffers.

Moody’s director of CMBS/CRE Research Kevin Fagan said Moody’s concurs. “Investors in commercial real estate and CMBS are closer to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s clearer that the economic stress is likely to remain hyper-focused within businesses that are reliant on travel and group congregation (mainly lodging and regional malls in commercial real estate),” Fagan said.

There is growing opportunity, then, for collateral in multifamily, industrial, office, self storage and some lockdown-resistant retail that could be comfortably underwritten into CMBS deals.

Source: Mortgage Bankers Association


How developers and property owners get to the other side of the pandemic will depend on their ability to stay afloat, and many will rely on the rescue capital being raised to profit from the disruption in the hotel and retail markets.

“Certainly, there’s been an awful lot of money raised to invest in distressed properties,” said Woodwell, “and that can be invested through purchasing distressed loans or buying foreclosed properties by putting preferred equity in place if the current property owner just needs a slug of cash to sort of get through the pandemic.”

Distressed buying and lending is expected to pick up in the first and second quarters of 2021 when banks and funds finally throw in the towel on forbearance agreements with borrowers and sell the loans. Some of that activity has already begun.

“We’ve seen that trend in terms of note-purchasing opportunities,” said Zegen, whose firm has lent to others buying distressed notes and acted as a partner in rescue financing as a preferred equity investor.

Bridge lending will account for a lot of the distress and rescue investing, said Matt Stearns, a senior managing director at Black Bear Capital Partners. “There’s going to be a massive amount of bridge lending for distressed assets about to come online,” Stearns said. “This will be across most asset classes, however, retail and hotel will see the largest amount of distressed opportunities.”


Unlike the Great Recession, which was devoid of capital, this market is awash in both equity and debt seeking yield.

“If you have a stable property, this is the time to get long on the yield curve like I’ve never seen,” said Raymond Zanca, a senior managing director at Black Bear Capital.

Not only are multifamily rates in historically low territory but lenders are also seeking industrial opportunities, though spec development is more conservative and will have a greater equity requirement. Refinancing stabilized industrial is “as attractive as it’s ever been,” Zanca noted.

Just behind multifamily and industrial, lenders have shown a new appreciation for suburban office. Locations that may have been on the chopping block are now keepers.

Many tenants with leases up for renewal are rotating into their suburban locations. 


The crisis has taught us that many jobs can be done remotely. Suburban office is expected to recover faster than urban office following the mass exodus from some of the major cities to the suburbs.

But the younger workforce, many of who moved out of their apartments to live with their families in the suburbs to save money, should head back to these cities as offices begin to reopen, according to Al Brooks, head of commercial real estate for JPMorgan Chase.

“They will want to get back to the live-work-play environments that attracted them there to begin with,” Brooks said. “Major companies are betting on that, too, as they have continued to locate and expand their presence in these cities to be able to attract top talent.”


Based on a more conservative analysis of rent growth and lease-up periods, the amount of time borrowers need to sock away carry costs until their properties are cash-flowing will generally be higher than before the pandemic.

“It’s very specific to each asset; it’s hard to paint the brush over all of them because every asset has got its own story,” said Joseph Iacono, CEO & managing partner of Crescit Capital Strategies.

The increase, however, can be substantial—a reserve that might have been 18 months before the pandemic could now be 20 months, 24 months or even 30 months, depending on the situation.


There will be greater price discovery in 2021, but it will be uneven. Multifamily, industrial and some of the more specialized property types—like self storage and data centers—have gotten a lift from the pandemic. Retail and hotel assets, on the other hand, are in for a bumpy ride.

Retail rents will see long-term changes, and in places like New York City are likely to be completely repriced. Hotels, another casualty of lockdowns, are being repurposed to multifamily in states like Texas and Florida but won’t be rescued so easily in instances where zoning and/or unions prevent such conversions.

“In some cases, we may not like that price discovery,” said Iacono. “Today we suspect they’re worth less because of what’s happening, but we haven’t seen many trades to verify how much less.”

Even if the prices come in low initially, he said, those prices will likely recover pretty quickly because there’s a lot of equity on the sidelines to buy.


The shortage of affordable housing in the United States—estimated to be 7 million rental homes short by the National Low Income Housing Coalition—has only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn that followed have brought renewed attention to the affordable housing crisis,” said Brooks. “We need to put everything on the table, from rethinking how we build and finance affordable housing to how the public and private sectors collaborate.”

Going forward, Brooks believes it will be important for government, business, and nonprofit industry players to come together to find creative solutions to invest resources and equity into solving this complex issue. JPMorgan Chase recently announced a $30 billion business commitment—which includes loans, equity and direct funding over the next five years—to provide economic opportunities to Black and Latinx communities.


Given the extreme uncertainty and exposure to nonperforming property types like hotel and retail, many banks pulled back on their warehouse lending—credit lines that are extended to borrowers and then sold on the secondary market either directly or via securitization. But lenders are expected to reinvigorate their warehouse businesses.

“Because of where they play loan-to-value-wise, by the time they’re done with their haircuts, it’s a safe risk and a good return on equity for those banks,” according to Iacono.

He believes that while banks will come through the pandemic seeing a good performance “to their last dollar” in their warehouse lending, borrowers may not see a full recovery.

Original article can be found HERE

Most Multifamily Investors Are Targeting Smaller Metros Now

Investors are following renter migration patterns outside of the big cities with non-major metros receiving the highest investment activity on record last year.

 Investors are following the recent renter migration patterns, with 75.8% of multifamily investment happening outside of major metros last year, according to new research from Newmark. This is the highest investment allocation outside of big cities on record.

While the pandemic certainly encouraged renters to migrate to new markets, it wasn’t the impetus for the trend. According to Newmark, investment capital has slowly been increasing investment allocation to smaller markets. Over the last five years, investment into non-major markets has increased 13.9%. Overall, non-major metros typically capture more investment attention—because there are more smaller markets than larger markets—and the share of investment is also trending in favor of non-major markets.

Although there was an overarching trend of renters leaving big cities during the pandemic, not all metros experienced the same challenges. Big cities with a strong urban concentration, like New York and Philadelphia, had better occupancy through the pandemic. Many renters moved to adjacent suburbs, helping the greater market areas to retain stability. On the other hand, markets with less of an urban concentration, like Seattle, San Francisco and San Antonio, had occupancy rates that trended below the national average.

Sunbelt markets continued to be a favorite for outbound renters with the Southeast and Southwest leading in population growth. In 2020, nearly 70,000 people left the state of California for low-cost neighboring markets, including Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and Utah. The northeast was also a top region for population growth with states like Maine and New Hampshire attracting new residents.

This trend produced outsized gains in suburban metros. Phoenix, Philadelphia and Kansas City all had significant rent growth during the pandemic of 5.5%, 3.2% and 2.8% respectively. This is impressive considering that many markets, including the nation, saw average rents decline during the pandemic. Major metros felt the impact. New York, San Francisco and Chicago all saw the biggest spread between suburban and urban rents.

While renters have fled major metros, office users have stayed put in big cities. This has created a dichotomy in the investment market with multifamily buyers flowing demand outside of cities and office investors strongly committed to urban markets, at least in the near-term as office changes are continuing to unfold.

Original article can be found HERE. 

Top 10 Markets for Multifamily Sales Volume in 2020

  • Dallas finished as the top destination for multifamily capital in 2020, for the fifth consecutive year.
  • Sun Belt markets such as Atlanta and Phoenix continued to attract investors.
  • U.S. multifamily sales overall fell 28% in 2020, compared to 2019’s record total.

The U.S. multifamily market weathered the COVID-19 pandemic better than most sectors of the economy during 2020, boosted by stimulus packages that allowed tenants to generally keep up with rent payments. According to Real Capital Analytics (RCA), sales activity was down 28% in 2020, compared to 2019’s record total. However, the year finished strong. After moderating in the third quarter, the market posted $56.7 billion in sales in the fourth quarter, which was higher than the volume seen in the entire first half of the year.

Sun Belt markets led the recovery, as investors sought out affordable markets with positive migration trends, strong economies and good job growth.

Dallas Remains Strong

For the fifth year in a row, Dallas led the nation in multifamily investment activity, with $10.3 billion in sales volume. This was only an 8.0% drop from the $11.2 billion in sales recorded during 2019. Dallas was a strong performer during the recent expansion, finishing as the No. 2 sales market for the 2010s, behind only Manhattan.

The Dallas economy fared relatively well during the downturn, with employment declines well below the national average. The ability to work from home buffered job losses among the area’s high concentration of corporate headquarters, while the increased demand for housing boosted the construction industry. These factors, along with positive migration trends and a growing technology sector, make Dallas an attractive market for multifamily investment coming out of the recovery.

Sun Belt Markets Shine

Atlanta finished second in the nation for 2020, with $9.5 billion in multifamily sales volume, a 17.4% drop as compared with 2019. The area’s diverse economy lessened the effects of the recession, although the recovery has been slow as the level of COVID-19 cases remains high.

After posting a historical market record in multifamily sales volume in 2019, Phoenix finished 2020 with $8.2 billion in sales. This was the third highest total in the nation, although it was down 22.1% year-over-year. The area’s economy fared better than most markets during the pandemic. Tremendous population growth and business relocations have driven the market’s recovery, but an extremely high level of positive COVID-19 cases have hindered this progress.

Additional Sun Belt markets filled out 2020’s top 10 multifamily sales volume leaders, including Denver, Austin and Charlotte, with Houston, Tampa and Orlando finishing as runners up.

Original article can be found HERE. 

Vontsira signs land deal on the best location in Leysin, Switzerland.

Vontsira signs the land deal on the best location in Leysin, Switzerland.

I want to extend special thanks to our local partner Andre Hefti (on the left) and our contractor partner HRS Real Estate for their work and efforts in making this project a reality.

Vontsira will now design and develop a 5-star hotel comprising 50 core hotel suites, 100 branded residences, luxury SPA, restaurants and conference facilities. An EOI has been signed with a globally recognised luxury hotel brand (to be revealed) with the site location offering the only ski in/ski out opportunity in Leysin.

Gross development value is CHF254m and represents the first of three projects for Vontsira in Leysin.

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