Alpine property prices on the slide

It's that time of year when daydreams turn from idyllic beaches to wood fires.

In alpine territory, properties at both ends of the market are being offered at dramatic discounts. The director at Snowy Mountains real estate agency Forbes Stynes, Steve Forbes, said ''properties down here are even cheaper than they were last year''.

A designer lodge on Little Thredbo Road, Crackenback, was seeking more than $1.2 million when it hit the market last year with a different agent. Now the price has dropped 21 per cent and agent Shannon Fergusson, of Fergusson Real Estate, is seeking about $950,000.

The four-bedroom home was designed by its architect owners, Kate and Henry Lance of Lance Workshop, and features in-slab hydronic heating, wood fires and dramatic views of Thredbo range.

In the middle range, Forbes Stynes has listed a double-storey two-bedroom apartment at Lake Crackenback. The property took a 13.3 per cent price cut from $525,000 and now sits at $455,000.

At the smaller end of the scale, owners are also feeling the squeeze. A one-bedroom apartment on the lake, also through Forbes Stynes, has had $50,000 taken off the asking price. It is now $299,000.

The same goes even for ski lodges. The Eiger chalet, consisting of 66 bedrooms and a 100-room restaurant, went under the hammer at The Sydney Morning Herald Auction Centre on Thursday. Owned by the Fischer family since it was built 51 years ago, it had expectations last year of more than $2.5 million.

However, the highest bid on Thursday was $2.05 million by a phone-bidder, who secured the property post-auction for $2.2 million.

The new owner is Lincoln Pike, a doctor who has spent considerable time working in Antarctica.

Buyers were given a taste of some of the opportunities in the snow at a ''no reserve'' auction last August of Melbourne property developer Morry Schwartz's Falls Creek resort, St Falls. Mr Schwartz and his business partner, Callum Fraser, spent $100 million developing three resorts (St Falls, Huski and Silverski) between 2005 and 2009. The 74 apartments and three retail spaces sold simultaneously for $12.8 million.

Sydney's clearance rate yesterday was 58.9 per cent compared with last week's 54 per cent. ''Rising clearance rates should improve seller confidence,'' said Dr Andrew Wilson of Australian Property Monitors.