Country houses for sale

Bonuses fund £500,000 ski chalets

International property is the city workers’ first choice when it comes to spending their bonus money. At least 51% of city bonuses will be invested in ski chalets, beachside villas and rural retreats, a survey commissioned by PURE International has revealed. And with average salaries of £331,000 and expected bonuses of £294,000 these investors can budget up to £500,000 a year for overseas property, believing it to be a safer investment than a pension.

‘We sell two thirds of property at values of over £500,000 between December and March, a clear indication it is funded by bonus money,’ said managing director of PURE International Sean Collins.

‘Many buyers are City based and will complete in February when their bonus monies are paid out, having reserved speculatively without even visiting.’

Established markets are still a firm favourite with city investors according to the survey – 41% opt for beach properties while 31% would rather a ski chalet. Although France is the top destination for an overseas home with city buyers, 23% aim to purchase in the US and a further 21% in Italy.

Restored farmhouses on a Tuscan olive oil estate near Sienna, each with up to 50 acres of land and a Bizazza tiled swimming pool are on the market for £3,035,020 (or £321,277 for a 1/10th share). The properties are renovated using Tuscan reclaimed stones and barrel roof tiles with thick stone walls, grand fireplaces and state-of-the-art kitchens. Local antiques including hand-painted chests and marble kitchen sinks have been used to furnish the houses, which also have the use of a 5-star boutique hotel with spa and private chef (

Campeche Playa Golf Marina and Spa Resort in Mexico has proved popular with city investors. Situated within 400 miles of stunning unspoilt coastline, the resort features an unrivalled range of things to see and do including water sports, golf and two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Two to three bedroom apartments cost from £135,000 – £340,000 including a 10 year golf and a 5 year marina membership (Pure International +44 (0)20 7331 4500).

For ski and golf lovers the The Club at Spanish Peaks in Big Sky, Montana offers a private Tom Weiskopf golf course, private access to the Big Sky ski resort plus all the amenities of a 5-star resort. Attractive wooden ski in/ ski out chalets situated within one acre of garden with golf frontage cost from $1,375,000 to $4,775,500 (Spanish Peaks call + 01 877 995-3104). Alternatively fully furnished three or four bedroom residences at the Deer Valley resort in Park City, Utah, recently named the #1 ski resort in North America by Ski Magazine, start at $2,034,000 (Residences at The Chateaux +01 866 6588555).

The more traditional buyer will favour Balcons de Megève, an exclusive ski-in, ski-out chalet development situated in the chic French ski resort of Megeve. “To find a site of this quality in the heart of Megève is like gold-dust,’ said Jeremy Rollason, from Savills. Founded by Baroness de Rothschild after World War I, Megeve features over 450 km of ski slopes, one of the best spas in the world and Michelin starred cuisine, and is under an hour’s drive from Geneva. Designed in Savoyard style, the 17 three-four bedroom apartments cost from £1,100,000 to £1.600, 000 (Savills Alpine Homes +44 (0)20 7016 3740).