The effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the Villars-Gryon property market

29 May 2020

| News

We have already felt the change for several years. You, our customers, have changed your lifestyles and reordered your priorities. Ecological issues became one of your main concerns. You questioned your personal and family values. Your relationship to work also changed, as well as the way you chose to spend your vacation and leisure time. Finally, the importance of connecting with nature became a more important part of your life.

A reorganization of priorities that is felt on real-estate demand

The generation that preceded us bet everything on professional success. Social status was of crucial importance. We admire their discipline and their drive for work. We also thank them because it gave us the opportunity to question everything and upset the established order. According to Fred Ernand, CEO of Gérance Service: “We have realized that the quest for professional success and material possessions, though important, should not happen at the expense of well-being and personal development. That the pursuit of materialistic goals can never equal the happiness of self-giving. That the preservation of the planet we live on cannot, can never, go hand in hand with mass consumption. New life models have been put in place. At Gérance Service, we have noticed this in our consumers’ requests.”

The COVID-19 health crisis appears to have been the tipping point. It gave the necessary impetus to implement the ambitions that we have long dreamed of, without really daring to take the plunge.

Two tracks of post-Covid-19 crisis development in Villars property market

We analyze that this awareness can become a great opportunity for mountain properties, and specifically for the Villars-Gryon resort. In particular, we identify two important repercussions:

  • For tourist accommodation: whether in a second home, in a holiday apartment or in a traditional hotel, the culture of vacationing abroad that generates a terrible carbon footprint is now giving way to a new vision based on proximity and strong ecological precepts.
    Access to the station by train / bus by Bex and Aigle is quick and easy. For large families, the “clean” car, in responsible use, allows Villars-Gryon to offer holiday stays in accordance with these new principles, thanks to the proximity of urban centers.
    This awareness gives us a glimpse of the possibility of a renewal of family vacations in Villars, in apartments and chalets, a foundation which brought happiness to generations of Swiss and Europeans during the 60s and 70s. We anticipate this as “the solution” to live happily and in tune with family, nature and ecological awareness.
  • For the main residence: the number of buyers who live in the resort all year round is constantly increasing. We attribute this to various factors. First, the quality and comfort of life on the Villars-Gryon plateau are among the highest in the world. An attractive prospect both for people in their sixties who wish to retire in the mountains, and for young singles who want to take advantage of their free time to enjoy outdoor sports. Young families settle there for a sense of security and to ensure a good education for their children. Access to 5 schools, both public and private, has a lot to do with it.

Work at home, for more time on your own

A reorganization in the world of work brings us to the application of various forms of remote, partially remote work, or to a reduction in working hours. Families who would have chosen to live near an urban center opt instead to purchase a chalet or apartment in our region as their main residence, because they can return to Vevey, Lausanne, Nyon and Geneva 3 days a week and enjoy 4 days spent fully with their children and close to the outdoor activities that make them happy.

In conclusion, interesting perspectives linked to environmental concerns and the strengthening of our link with nature

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the market gradually rebalanced, the volume of transactions rose, sellers and buyers found common ground, prices were low but stable for 24 months. We do not anticipate major changes in the market in the short term. In the medium term, the possibility of an economic crisis and the risk of a second wave of contamination does not allow us to make reliable forecasts. However, in the long term, we look to the future with the same optimism as our founder, Alfredo, when he arrived in Villars in 1960. Like him, every morning, we rediscover our Dents-du-Midi with wonder, against a sky that is cleaner and clearer than ever. We realize how lucky we are and will do our best to protect this heritage we share. Hopefully, the rest of humanity will also change their order of priorities and get back on track. If we do not do it for ourselves, we will do it for our children: so that they have the future they deserve.