Lucas Fox will soon be opening a brand new Property Lounge in the centre of Andorra. Located in Calle de la Unión 9, its aim is to meet the growing demand for homes from both locals and international residents. We spoke to Lucas Fox Andorra Director Jordi Tàpies Ibern about the appeal of living in this beautiful principality as well as some tips for skiers and property investors.
LF: Why have you decided to open an office in Andorra?
JTI: We decided to open a Property Lounge due to the increasing demand for properties by new residents. Locally we know almost everyone but we wanted to create a comfortable, welcoming space for those recently arrived in Andorra to help and advise them in the relocation process.
LF: What is the current demand like for properties in Andorra?
JTI: We have different types of demand both for second ski residences which tend to be smaller apartments mostly located near the ski slopes. There is also strong demand for primary residences, either modern city centre apartments and larger family-size villas for familes in quieter residential areas such as La Massana and Ordino.
LF: What kind of homes can you buy in Andorra? What is the approximate price range?
JTI: You can buy any type of property in Andorra from small cosy apartments to spacious luxury villas, We offer properties from €150,000 for a ski apartment up to €10 million for a large luxury villa.
LF: Is Andorra property worth considering from an investment viewpoint?
JTI: Yes it is when we are talking about ski properties and city centre apartments where you can rent them with good returns. With regards to high end properties in terms of re-selling, the market is quite stable at the moment but rentals are have a lower yield compared to other properties.
LF: Where are the hotspots right now?
JTI: City centre Andorra la Vella and Escaldes, el Tarter, Ordino, and residential areas of Can Diumenge in Escaldes and Oriosos in Anyós.
LF: You were born in Andorra and brought up on the Andorran border in Spain. What was your childhood like?
JTI: It was fantastic! To grow up in peaceful surroundings is ideal for children. I have always liked nature and the mountains, and there was always outdoor activities at the weekends. But for parents the best thing is the feeling of safety that Andorra and the Pyrenees offer. Most children go to school on their own from 5 or 6 years old without any worries and go to their after school activities without needing an adult to go with them.
LF: You have two young children yourself. How do you think they benefit from being brought up in Andorra?
JTI: I am very happy educating my children in Andorra. Andorra is one of the countries with the lowest crime rates and there are few places that enjoy that sense of security. For the majority of our clients the safety of their families is one of the main reasons they choose Andorra, along with the financial benefits. The public education system is very good, with a bilingual Catalan-French education until 7 years old when English and Spanish are introduced. There is also a French system as well as private schools. During the months from January to March, all the children go skiing one day a week with school, which is something that they love.
LF: How would you describe Andorra for those who are unfamiliar with it?
JTI: It is a welcoming country with a tourist-based economy. Although many people visit, they generally only get to know the commercial areas, which means that much of the country – in particular the mountains and the countryside – remains largely undiscovered. It is easy to adapt to life here if you like the cold. Andorran winters are pretty cold, but also bearable since the humidity is low. The dry climate is very healthy. If not, Andorra wouldn’t be fifth on the list of countries with top life expectancy!
CF: How does skiing in Andorra compare to other ski regions in Europe?
JTI: The ski resorts are making great investments to improve the infrastructure and access each year. The ski slopes in Andorra and above all the services that they offer are comparable to any ski slope in the Alps. Perhaps the snow isn’t of the same quality all season but for many skiers almost 300 days of sun a year is a great attraction.
CF: Andorra is currently trying to attract more families to its slopes. What are the key family-friendly attractions of the principality and which of the resorts do you think are most appealing for families?
JTI: It is very difficult to say which is best as all the resorts have made large investments for younger skiers, with areas to learn to ski with themed mascots from well known animated characters, ski lifts designed for children etc. Perhaps the area of Grau Roig in Grandvalira is the best suited.
CF: What do you think are the common misconceptions about Andorra?
JTI: The main misconception is that it is cold all year round. Andorra has four well-defined seasons and is very hot in the summer!
CF: How has Andorra’s image changed in say, the last 10 years?
JTI: Andorra has improved a lot. I don’t know all the ski resorts in Europe but I am sure that there is no other that offers an après-ski like Andorra, with nearly 3km of shops and the best brands. There has also been an improvement in the entertainment facilities and an excellent programme of cultural events, such as concerts and themed shopping nights.
CF: For those unfamiliar with Andorra skiing, in your opinion where are the best ski slopes for experts? For beginners? For kids? For boarders? For cross-country? For off piste?
JTI: All the resorts have areas for expert skiers but Arcalís (the smallest) in Vallnord is my favourite for off piste skiing. Pal is a good resort for beginners and also where you can enjoy the best weather. The area of Grau Roig in Grandvalira has the best services for children. For snow boarders there is a great freestyle area in Arinsal and also in Grau Roig and Soldeu. For cross-country skiing Naturlandia is without doubt the best place. For off piste skiing all the resorts have their areas although they all advise against it due to the risk of avalanches and I always recommend that you go with well equipped guides.
CF: What about the best resort for eating out? For good accommodation? And the best resort to party?
JTI: The centre of Andorra is within a few minutes of all the resorts and offers excellent gastronomy. In the area of Soldeu you will find probably the best hotel in all of the Pyrenees – the Hermitage Sport. If you are looking to party, Arinsal and el Pas de la Casa are without doubt the best places.
View properties for sale in Andorra on the Lucas Fox website