British take top ranking in foreign buyers market.
Engel & Völkers Cannes – Antibes – Cap Ferrat CEO, Beatrix Eikel, writes for Riviera RT Magazine about the property market on the Côte d’Azur.
The French Riviera is one of the most exclusive and highly sought-after locations in the world, with international prestige and a well-established reputation. It is the home of the global elite, who choose to invest in residential properties here either as a second home or as an investment.
It is in the biggest firms in major cities such as London, Paris and Moscow that their money is earned, so it can be spent accordingly in places such as the small enclaves along the coastline or tucked away amongst the peaceful countryside. The French Riviera embodies the epitome of this trend – its timeless allure attracts the rich and famous of the world. Wealthy home buyers who already own property elsewhere choose to buy either additional real estate or property investments in the region, or both.
Outstanding events such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Monaco Grand Prix and numerous musical events and cultural highlights offer an incomparable lifestyle; combined with the pleasant climate, superb beaches, plentiful marinas, golf courses and other sporting activities. In addition, there are vibrant cities with high-quality shops and varied and lively nightlife.
Younger members of the ultra-rich demographic in particular are attracted to the authenticity of the French Riviera, which emerging resorts elsewhere fail to offer.
The lifestyle is also attractive to families. International schools, a safe environment and the international airport in Nice - offering regular flights to destinations worldwide creates a steady demand from wealthy families.
The affluent clientele focuses on the French Riviera’s premier locations, such as Cap Ferrat, Monaco, Antibes and Saint Tropez, which are by far the priciest areas, followed by Cannes, Mougins, Cap d’Ail and Beausoleil.
The villas on the French Riviera are the most expensive in France; the apartments are the second costliest after Paris. But due to the global ‑financial crisis, even prices on the French Riviera have fallen somewhat since their last peak in 2011 at an average of 9.5%. Political rhetoric, media headlines about taxes on wealth and a faltering domestic economy have slowed down and scaled back the market in prime locations.
In Cap Ferrat and Saint Tropez, the sharpest decrease (69% and 54%) has been observed, and is, undeniably, largely due to the severely depleted number of Russian buyers. Despite the decline in sales, prices have remained relatively stable, especially at the top end of the sector. Typically when a property is considered to be a long-term investment, sales constraints are scarce.
Although the market remains somewhat despondent, a new tax framework for resident taxpayers, extremely low interest rates and a more favourable Euro is offering ideal conditions for buyers. Recently the number of buyers purchasing properties in Pounds Sterling on the French Riviera has risen to 34%, thus forming the largest share, followed by Russians, whose share has declined to 30%. Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East have also triggered wealthy clients with a second home in Paris or London to also search for a property on the French Riviera, which offers a ‘safe harbour’.