New investment in infrastructure, a broader pool of demand and the realisation that a ski chalet is able to offer a competitive investment return are combining to reinvigorate the market for property in the French Alps, says a new report from Knight Frank.

Buyers in the region are not happy to buy simply for the sake of buying – increasingly they want to rent their property so it provides an income all year round, it says. Knight Frank’s Alpine enquiries for the year to the end of June 2014 came mostly from prospective European buyers (61% of all applicants), followed by Asian and Middle Eastern buyers at 12% each, then Russians, CIS and North American nationals at 5% each.

The consultancy also says that sales enquiries are now less seasonal than they were as purchasers begin to recognise the year-round appeal of the Alps and that it has seen increasing interest in off-plan new build homes.

“Buyers today are comfortable with the concept of buying off-plan through CGI imagery, floor plans, site plans and stage payments,” says Knight Frank’s Roddy Aris, adding that over a period of four months the firm has sold nearly half of the Carré Blanc development in Courchevel Village, due for completion in late 2016.