Property prices in southern Switzerland have risen by 40% in just four years, according to new research from Savills. The alpine property market has fuelled the rise, with ski chalets experiencing capital appreciation of more than double the national average. ‘People look at overseas properties as something to use and enjoy,’ said Jeremy Rollason from Savills. ‘And the primary driver in Southern Switzerland is affordability.’

The Valais canton, encompassing a large area of the Swiss Alpine mountain system with the Rhone Valley between, has the hottest property market in the area, says Savills. The French speaking valley, which includes the renowned resort of Verbier, has been popular with British skiers and investors for decades. But these days apartments in smaller resorts such as Nendaz and Veysonnaz are experiencing large capital gains.

Savills attributes the rise to low base values at the beginning of the noughties. ‘Prices in Geneva dropped and there was not much homegrown demand,’ explained Mr Rollason. ‘But now the Swiss Government is encouraging investment and prices are back to a reasonably strong level.’

But alpine property in Switzerland is still more affordable than in France. Although prices in Verbier are double that of less established Swiss resorts such as Nendaz, prices in Val d’Isere and Courchevel in France are double those of Verbier. ‘Its all relative ? if you want to play you’ve got to pay,’ said Mr Rollason, ‘But the beauty of Switzerland is if you want to play, prices are much cheaper.’

Southern Switzerland’s high rental income, lack of inheritance tax for residents low borrowing rates, currently at less than 3%, guarantees profits for investors. ‘It’s a good alternative to buy-to-let in the UK where yields are disappointing,’ said Mr Rollason.

Nendaz, situated in the fantastic Four Valley ski area, has an increasing number of new build apartments on the market. ‘From Nendaz you can be at the top of Mont Fort in the same time as it would take to get there from Verbier,’ said Mr Rollason. ‘And new build apartments are sought after by foreign investors as they are high quality, secure investments.’

Mer de Glace, for example, is a luxury apartment hamlet in the heart of Nendaz, linked to a luxury, boutique hotel. Prices start from £369,000 for a three-bedroom apartment built in traditional wood and natural stone with panoramic views over the Rhone Valley.

Meanwhile in nearby Veysonnaz four or five bedroom traditional design chalets cost from £482,000 and in Les Collons 1800, Swiss-style luxury apartments start at £275,000 (Savills International +44 (0)20 7016 3740).