2015: the market is tense
TREND/In Monaco, property is not affected by the crisis. But according to professionals, the market – where supply is scarce despite the recent new projects – is tense.
The estate agents are smiling. 2015 is going to be a good year. The proof lies in the figures: at the end of September, 31 new apartments had been sold in Monaco, including in the Tour Odéon and the new Méridien (1), and 377 in the ‘old’segment i.e. the resale market (2). Overall, the sales volume is over 300 million euro in new-build and 1.3 billion euro in the old segment. So the total figures will certainly be less flashy than last year’s. But it has to be said that 2014 was considered a record vintage, with transactions of 350 million euro in new-build and over 2 billion in the ‘old’segment, and 555 sales. “The cumulative value of transactions had achieved ‘levels never seen in the past, which pushed all indicators strongly upwards, in new-build and in the resale market,” IMSEE analysed in February. Key to this was an average transaction value of 31.4 million euro in new-build and 3.7 million euro in the old segment.
Investing in bricks and mortar
With the momentum of 2014, Jean-Yves Le Graverend, manager of John Taylor Monaco agency for 4 years, believes results have logically been good this year. “Our transactions level has been strong and we have handled many requests. We have made several large sales at over 10 million euro,” highlights the professional for whom “Monaco remains very attractive for its security, taxation, location, climate, lifestyle and very high political and financial stability.” All these factors attract investors. “Monaco is also a market for investors who buy to rent or resell. They are prepared to pay more, without negotiating too much to get a good deal in luxury 1990s buildings with a sea view, cellar and car-parking,” explains Kate Dorfman, manager of Immocontact agency. Not surprisingly, investors choose in particular the Carré d’or, Saint Roman and Fontvieille when acquiring a property. But for Massimiliano Ibba, co-manager of Thomas Immobilier agency, people must look to the future, “If you want to invest in the future, Larvotto seems a good choice to me. The district is going to evolve more.” Especially with the Portier sea extension. Obviously, buyers need to be cautious, “When you lose the view, the selling price plummets as much as 30%” For the time being, the estate agent also recommends Boulevard du Jardin Exotique for acquiring property at more reasonable prices.
A niche market, Monaco is now suffering from a shortage of property to offer for sale (and rent). Gilles Graille also notes a slowdown in this second half of 2015. “We lack properties,” prompts Graille, who has managed Pacific Agency for 15 years. With the law of supply and demand operating in full, buyers struggle to knock down the advertised prices. Gilles Graille has recently seen a property in the Annonciade building sell without any dithering. “For this 30m2 studio apartment, we went for the crest of the wave and it worked. It forced one of the would-be buyers to come into line. One year ago, that apartment would have been sold for less, with significant differences, 5 – 10% cheaper.”
Supply is drying up and small properties on the market go very quickly. “Starting from even small (70m2) 3 room apartments, the battle begins.” This housing shortage is even more significant for rentals. “For a family whose budget is 8,000 – 10,000 euro, it is a little tense,” explains Gilles Graille. Alain Chantelot, negotiator with Roc Agency, agrees, “Since the beginning of the year, market supply has been nonexistent. This situation applies to all of Monaco as there has been practically no new-build for several years now.”
“We really need luxury new housing. Potential investors may leave Monaco if they can’t find that type of property,” adds Kate Dorfman of Immocontact agency, according to whom the ever-present wealthy Russians with a budget of over 10-12 million are seeking high-end properties.
The latest little damper for estate agents is the property dealers’game. “They push the market up. Some of them are painters. They buy, do skimpy work and then put the properties back on the market at very high prices. This is purely speculative and it indirectly distorts the market a little,” believes Alain Chantelot of Roc Agency. He is not alone. Although 2015 is going to be a good year, that does not stop the agents from demanding raw materials. While they are anxiously awaiting the Stella and Giroflées developments, and the sea extension luxury buildings, of course.
_Milena Radoman and Anne-Sophie Fontanet
(1) Private sector apartments finished since 2006: Millenium, Villa Les Pins, Villa l’Echauguette, Villa les Gaumates, Quai Kennedy, Résidence Kennedy, Résidence Saint-Georges, Hôtel de Genève, Le Monator, L’Oiseau bleu, Le Monte-Carlo View, Le Simona, Villa Roccabella, Villa Victoria, Villa Dryade, La Lestra, Villa Rignon, Villa La Belle Vie.
(2) In the same period in 2014, 8 new-build and 403 old segment sales were recorded. They accounted for a volume of over 150 million euro in new-build and 1.5 billion in the old segment.
“Big is fashionable”
PRICES/According to Michel Dotta, the average price per m2 is around 35000 euro and average transactions are around 3.5 million euro.
How is the sales market going?
Over the first 6 months it was in line with last year, maybe with a little fewer large transactions. The average price per m2 is still around 35 000 euro, with transactions of around 3.5 million euro on average.
How do you explain that there have been fewer large transactions?
Firstly, the Russian phenomenon has been replaced by CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan nationals. Hit by the rouble crisis, the Russians have more difficulty in providing the account opening documents, which are becoming increasingly complicated. It can take two or three months. The wealthiest Russians are still here as they have already bought or are renting in Monaco. But those who would like to move to Monaco have strategic choices to make – in order to take capital out of Russia massively and become resident in Monaco, they have to exit their business in Russia.
The money is visibly still here. The SBM villas in Larvotto are rented at 200,000 euro per month and SBM intends to rent the roofs of the future Sporting at the same rate. What is the economic rationale of such choices for tenants?
There is no economic rationale! For example, one tenant has rented a villa for 10 years because he likes it but cannot buy it as the villa is not for sale.
Are there more properties for sale with the projects of recent years?
There are properties at very high unit prices! At the Tour Odéon, for example, the prices are high and the apartments big. That does not help the market. Big is fashionable – the impressive size of the boats at the latest Yacht Show go together with the size of the houses and apartments.
Has the Tour Odéon roof fourplex been sold?
Not officially, in any case.
What sales operations are there for the coming years?
We will have Stella. It’s a lovely property. There are small apartments, two room apartments. It’s a product that is sought after today in an appealing district. After that, I don’t yet know whether the Michel Pastor group is going to sell or rent the Giroflées apartments.
Is that enough?
The fact that there are more properties makes the market more fluid. The market is tense today. It’s resales of resales, particularly in some districts such as Monaco-Ville. Most people in Monaco now have classic reasoning – they rent and they buy when they are sure of themselves. They need to be sure they will get residency in order to move to Monaco. Buying subject to residency no longer exists now. It has happened once or twice but is not the rule.
Do you fear a bubble?
If tomorrow there is a financial bubble problem like in 2008, it is highly likely that we will suffer in Monaco. I’m not sure we can keep up this sales rate. In the property business there are only property crises when there is overproduction. On the contrary, we may have a slowdown in sales rates.
_Interview by Milena Radoman
“The market is more wait-and-see”
EXPERTISE/According to Alexis Madier, manager of Gordon Blair, Monaco still conveys the image of a safe in which to deposit your money by buying an asset that is unlikely to lose value.
How would you describe the Monegasque market this year?
As a legal and tax advisor, I find the market is more wait-and-see than in the past two years. The Russian and former USSR customers seem more in the background. These very wealthy customers have lost a lot of money on the financial markets and suffered from depreciation of the rouble and the so-called ‘de-offshorisation’legislation that the Duma passed in winter 2014. The government encourages customers to repatriate their assets to Russia and new tax return requirements have emerged when Russian tax residents own more than 10% of a property located abroad. For all that, Monaco’s traditional customers are once again the Italians, English, Scandinavians and even the Swiss.
Given the international and fiscal environment, is it the right time to invest in property in Monaco?
For fortunes originating in the eastern countries, Monaco conveys the image of a safe in which to deposit your money by buying an asset that is unlikely to lose value. The only entry cost for the investment lies in ownership transfer taxes and notary fees. There is no taxation on ownership, rental, resale, or transfers in general, unless you buy targeting an offshore entity. So Monaco is perceived as a tax haven. Especially as many have had their fingers burnt with their property investments in France, whether on the Riviera or in the exclusive ski resorts, particularly due to the tax cost associated with these investments – ISF and capital gains tax on resale. I would add that the French tax authorities have shown a certain hostility to them, until recently.
What sort of hostility?
There is ISF, local taxes, capital gains tax (recently cut to 19%) and even social security contributions (15.5%). It was logical that this customer base – often Russian – that already owned second homes, would look to Monaco to protect their assets! Especially as property in Monaco is less subject to fluctuations than in France. The price per m2 is certainly higher in Monaco but the customer is sure to resell their investment, whereas the Riviera villas tend to stay in stock for a long time at the agencies. Though the French market has improved since early 2015. The Riviera market is recovering as taxation has been reduced and owners have had to make efforts on prices.
Are there other trends in 2015?
It is significant that the economic expansion directorate has reopened the profession of estate agent since the beginning of the year. For around six months now, the Monegasque authorities have once again been issuing permits to carry out the profession of estate agent in Monaco. This can be seen in the Official Journal of Monaco every week.
Why is that?
Apart from the new-build projects, the stock is ageing. There are some opportunities to take advantage of with run-down apartments in the old segment. Estate agents buy with favourable tax treatment, paying reduced registration fees and undertaking to resell the property within 4 years from renovation. This market had been closed as there was abuse and the off-market was favoured with word of mouth.
Do you fear a speculative bubble likely to burst?
Certainly, once the profession of estate agent – which is speculative by nature – is reopened, there is a risk that a situation will be created artificially. At the same time the Monegasque market is so very reserved for an elite, that by nature the real potential buyers in Monaco can afford to buy. We will have to check the number of purchases in 2015.
Is it better to invest in one’s own name or through a trust or an SCI?
The magic word is transparency today. For a future resident, it is better to buy in one’s own name or through a Monegasque civil company. Then there are successional devolution rules that need to be known and adapted to the investor’s particular circumstances.
What are they?
If these Monegasque residents buy in their own name and live in Monaco until their death, the inheritance will be launched in Monaco. Anglo-Saxons are used to leaving their assets to whom they wish without being subject to reserved portion of estate rules. The only way they can escape the law on property location is to go through Law 214, passed in 1936 – thus citizens of Common Law countries (English, Australians etc.) can make provision for a testamentary trust to import their national law. The future deceased is free to include the assets they wish in the trust, including property located outside Monaco. This allows them to favour, for example, a third person not initially destined to inherit (editor’s note: mistress or secret child). The use of Law 214 has a cost as it involves the appointment of a corporate trustee, which is usually a fiduciary (CSP), as well as a tax of up to 1.7% of the value of the property held in trust.
The bill on private international law, which is still awaiting adoption by the Conseil National, generalises this principle and thus transposes the European inheritance regulations, enabling one’s national law to be chosen.
What is the benefit of a Monegasque civil company for French property investors?
For French property investors, a Monegasque civil company is of significant benefit. On the one hand it gives investors the utmost privacy, as there is no public register of Monegasque law SCIs. Furthermore, the Court of Cassation confirmed this on 2 October – there is even an incentive for the establishment of Monegasque SCIs for French citizens or foreigners who are moving to Monaco, as the letter of the 1950 Franco-Monegasque Convention on inheritance tax applies. This means that holdings of Monegasque SCIs for which over 50% of the assets consist of property located in France are considered intangible personal property rather than real property. In other words, holdings of a Monegasque SCI are not subject to French tax if the shareholder has lived in Monaco for over 5 years at the date of their death. The shield formed by a Monegasque SCI has considerable fiscal leverage.
In your opinion, what is the impact of the transfer tax reform today?
Firstly it is a good deal for the state coffers. Transfers of holdings of foreign companies were not taxed in Monaco and thus escaped ownership transfer taxes. All non-transparent companies – whether Monegasque law public limited companies or foreign companies, based in Jersey for example, which were widely used by prospective buyers of property in Monaco – must appoint an approved representative registered on a list maintained by the tax authorities. They are obliged to file an annual return to notify a change (or otherwise) of beneficial owner and in that case to pay a 4.5% tax. This is a general trend. All jurisdictions are under OECD pressure and wish to maintain a serious reputation. Now the beneficial owners of Panama law companies will also have to deposit their unit holder units with an approved custodian or convert them to registered shares. The deadline has been set as 1 January 2016.
_INTERVIEW BY MILENA RADOMAN
ECONOMICS/In Monte-Carlo as in the Carré d’or, everything sells… to whom can afford it. The district is evolving and long-term is a good investment for professionals.
It’s the showcase of Monaco. Monte-Carlo and its famous Carré d’or continue to attract many buyers. In a year the prices have evolved little but they are still very high. “Demand well in excess of supply with mostly European customers and Russians with a higher budget,” analyses Jean-Yves le Graverend, manager of John Taylor agency in Monaco. In any case it is Monaco’s most expensive district and covets high demand throughout the year. Mainly from Belgians, Swiss or Anglo-Saxons, but also from Russian speakers. “There are few offerings with a sea view, which may block the Russians,” moderates Kate Dorfman, manager of Immocontact agency. In the last few months the district has changed appearance with the construction of new buildings. While the annoyance caused by the building site noise puts off some players, others see a long-term opportunity there “The wheeler-dealers took advantage of selling quickly as soon as they knew about these new projects. But some look far ahead and foresee this future landscape,” believes Corinne Courrieu, co-manager of Thomas Immobilier agency.
“Sellers have realised that all buildings nearby, such as the Palais de la Scala or the Sun Tower, could take advantage of the construction of the new Sporting,” backs her partner Massimiliano Ibba. Even if that means exceeding market prices? “There are some districts where exaggeration is accepted more,” comments Gilles Graille, manager of Pacific Agency. Of the same view, the negotiators of Thomas Immobilier see some sellers overvaluing their properties. “For buildings like the Saint James or the Boulingrins the starting prices have risen 20 to 25%,” Ibba emphasises. “At the Boulingrins, sellers market their properties at 50,000 euro/m2 whereas they are worth 35,000,” claims Corinne Courrieu. Sellers who likely want to take advantage of the dizzying prices a few metres away from their property. For example, Gilles Graille puts forward the apartment sales in the La Petite Afrique new building under construction, located just beside the casino. “The apartments started at extremely high prices. Some have been sold at 100,000 euro per m2,” he emphasises. This is the area with the highest prices. The upper floors of the Mirabeau, the Métropole or the Monte-Carlo Star offer high quality services with a sea view. The finest apartments go on the market from 80,000 or even 100,000 euro per m2 exceptionally.
“Time to invest”
“If buyers can afford it, the Carré d’or is sure value,” explains Massimiliano Ibba of Thomas Immobilier. His colleague from Dotta Immobilier agency, Brigitte Bermond, agrees. “I recommend investing in the Carré d’or. It is hugely attractive as it is the nerve centre of Monaco. It’s a district with full development underway, where there will be new buildings,” the managing director explains. “It’s truly the right time to invest to take advantage of the evolution in 4 or 5 years. Even if we are going to be disturbed a little by the noise in these years, it is only going to make things move again afterwards.” Specialised in this district of Monaco, Brigitte Bermond nevertheless expresses reservations on the range of goods for sale in terms of small apartments. “Studio and two room apartments are no longer to be found in the Carré d’or,” she says. Before adding, “All districts of Monaco have been impacted regarding the availability of small properties for sale, however.”
ECONOMICS/In this district undergoing transformation, prices have held steady this year due to strong demand.
This is the district with the highest number of urban development projects in Monaco – Tour Odéon nearing completion, the sea extension in view for 2025, Testimonio II and Giroflées tower etc. This jumble of building sites does not worry the many potential buyers seeking a property in this area. “It’s a lively shopping district with many shops. And the only district that also has beach access,” emphasises Jean-Yves le Graverend, manager of John Taylor. “A green district, buildings with a pool, offering comfort,” adds Brigitte Bermond of Dotta Immobilier. This location where it is good to live attracts primarily foreign customers. “The Russians love this district but there are very few properties to sell,” explains Kate Dorfman, Immocontact manager. And only large surface areas, 350 to 600 m2. 21, Princesse Grace and La Réserve are currently the district’s two most luxurious buildings, with high-end services such as concierge service, 24h/24 caretaker and pool. And also where the prices are highest. “We can achieve 90,000 euro/m2 for a top floor apartment in La Réserve,” says Kate Dorfman.
In full bloom
Within the areas (orange part of our map) transactions are going well. “We reach peaks with some buildings. For example, a renovated apartment with sea view, above the 20th floor and south-facing in block B or C of the Château Périgord, marketed at 40,000 euro/m2, will sell immediately,” confirms Massimiliano Ibba of Thomas Immobilier agency. “The Saint-Roman district is really growing,” Kate Dorfman goes on. “With the Testimonio II project, the international school and completion of the Tour Odéon, it is much sought after at the moment.” Apartments located in the bourgeois buildings near Collège Saint-Charles are on the market at 25,000 euro/m2. At Roc Fleuri and Château Périgord you have to target at least 40,000 euro/m2. At the Annonciade a studio apartment was sold recently at 30,000 euro/m2. “If you want to invest in the future, Larvotto seems a good choice to me as the district is going to evolve more,” Massimiliano Ibba predicts. A large Italian community has settled here.
However, uncertainties do remain about some buildings impacted by future building projects. “Testimonio 2 could obstruct the view from two buildings – the Villa Del Sole and the west side of the Monte-Carlo Sun,” Ibba says. “At La Réserve, we fear a somewhat obstructed view. There’s the same problem at 21, Princesse Grace,” emphasises Kate Dorfman. The arrival of the Tour Odéon seems an interesting point for the professionals. “This construction has been beneficial for the district, even though it caused bother at the beginning,” analyses Massimiliano Ibba. An opinion not shared by everyone, like Marc Burini, the Horizon Monaco president of the local finance and economy commission at the Conseil National, who is concerned about the sales confirmed in this 155metre high monumental project. “This district is a no man’s land! There’s nothing around it! Do people of a certain income, who are offered a high purchase price, want to invest there?” he asks in an interview he gave Monaco Hebdo on 11 September. Nonetheless, demand remains strong and keeps this district one of the most sought after in Monaco.
A limited market
ECONOMICS/Le Rocher still has many enthusiasts but few properties for sale. As a result, no opportunities are to be had under 25,000 euro/m2.
It’s so limited here that we have to tell potential buyers to be very patient.” Alain Chantelot, negotiator with Roc Agency, has been working on the Rocher area for 5 years. After 35 years’experience in the Monegasque property market, this professional considers himself very satisfied with the past year. “Sales have gone well. We had some lovely properties such as private mansions, which have gone. We now work only on resales of small apartments of around sixty square metres,” he explains. The problem is his family customers are often Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians or Italians seeking large apartments. “When the English come to Monaco they tell me “find me a 200m2 property”. That is not easy in Monaco but in Monaco-Ville it’s impossible. They have to revise their copy a little and agree to cut it by half. But no less – meaning 120 to 150 m2. We don’t have a huge number of such apartments in Monaco-Ville,” he says. So these potential buyers no longer consider the outlay. Last year the negotiator had the chance of a 110 m2 3 room apartment at 59,000 euro/m2. So 6,490,000 euro. The prices sky rocket for these bourgeois and prestigious apartments located at the edge (red ring on our map) with a view. “The oceanographic museum side is preferred as it has the view and gets the sun. It’s a place with very few properties – a few untouchable villas and 2 or 3 buildings where there are no sellers.” The rarity of a property has its price too.
In this niche market within Monaco it is the living environment that the enthusiasts seek. “It’s the most secure district of Monaco, with old-style charm. It’s also the place where you can still find private mansions,” claims Jean-Yves Le Graverend, manager of John Taylor Monaco agency. “The English like its village atmosphere,” adds Massimiliano Ibba, co-manager of Thomas Immobilier agency. If prices in the heart of Monaco-Ville do not scare the Monegasque counters, that is also because the same services are not to be found there. These old buildings have no lift, no car-park and no view. “There are few transactions, generally small surface areas under 80 m2,” emphasises Jean-Yves Le Graverend. “Although they are rarer, we can get large manor houses,” maintains Massimiliano Ibba. And negotiator Alain Chantelot points out the sale in the heart of the town of three private mansions in late 2014 to early 2015. “They were in perfect condition, very fine properties of around 250 m2. These properties were sold at practically the asking price.”
Subject to law apartments
The gap between supply and demand favours sellers more. “The owners realise there are fewer and fewer properties. So they consider that their apartment on the market should sell easily and at the best price. They set the bar a bit higher. And it sells anyway, because anyone who really wants to find something is really obliged to accept that,” Chantelot emphasises. Customers need to persevere in order to get these apartments. Sometimes they also need to agree to buy a subject to law property, as 70-80% of the Monaco-Ville market consists of these. “It blocks the potential customers a little, as you can’t deal with investors wanting to buy to let in order to make a profit,” the negotiator explains.
“We sell more easily”
ECONOMICS/As it is quiet and due to its residential side, Fontvieille attracts family customers wishing to settle permanently.
The opinions of the professionals Obs interviewed on the Fontvieille property market are unanimous. “Some years ago, Fontvieille had lost value compared with the rest of the Monegasque market. Now it’s a district in high demand, particularly due to its view of the Rocher,” sums up Jean-Yves Le Graverend, manager of John Taylor agency. The benefits buyers speak highly of are its quietness or proximity to shops, restaurants and bars, the shopping centre and Marquet beach at Cap d’Ail on the border of France and Monaco. Another point of satisfaction for residents is fast connections to the centre of Monaco. “Some Russians compare the district with the Italian seaside resort Forte dei Marmi. They feel on holiday here. What attracts them is the view and the beauty of this small harbour,” insists Kate Dorfman, manager of Immocontact agency. The Russian-speaking community appreciate some highly prestigious buildings located here and their very high-end services with pool, spa, gym and 24h/24 security. “The Russians particularly like the Terrasses du Port and the Sea Side Plaza. It’s even becoming very difficult to find an apartment there. At times a property remains ‘off market’as potential buyers are interested without any advertising,” the manager confirms.
For over 5 years now, the district has experienced a resurgence of interest from buyers. “The district shed its council housing image with the arrival of the Terrasses du Port and the Sea Side Plaza. Fontvieille therefore gained prestige. People who live here even find it hard to leave,” says Corinne Courrieu of Thomas Immobilier agency. While selling prices have stabilised this year, we can note the market’s spectacular rise with a sale made by her agency. “A Belgian customer bought his Fontvieille apartment 25 years ago for 3 million francs. This year he sold it for 3.4 million euro,” explains her partner Massimiliano Ibba. He has observed a simplification of sales. “There are many offerings but mainly properties that could be described as ordinary. As soon as we get good properties we sell more easily.” This quality is often to be found on the side with the view of Cap d’Ail – a stunning view of the Mediterranean, unobstructed by other buildings. An open space that has its price. A 385 m2 apartment for sale, including a 100 m2 terrace, on the third floor of the Terrasses du Port building is on the market at 24 million euro, i.e. over 62,000 euro/m2. Just next door, several properties are for sale in the equally luxurious Sea Side Plaza. Quality services but also proximity to the heliport, which can affect the price slightly. Therefore a 297 m2 5 room apartment including a 67 m2 terrace is being marketed at 17.5 million euro, i.e. almost 59,000 euro/m2.
“A little town in the city”
Fontvieille is also a district where large properties ranging from 200 to 300 m2 are to be found. So it is ideal for family customers. “The families want Fontvieille. It’s a little town in the city, a much-liked district with sea views that is sunny and quiet,” explains Brigitte Bermond, managing director at Dotta Immobilier. For the Rocher view side she works mainly with resident customers or first-time buyers. “In Fontvieille we have the so-called Italian group with the Raphaël and the Giotto. Many have settled in particular in buildings like the Eden Star or the Grand Large. These are well-maintained buildings but have small surface areas of 150 m2 at the most for 2 or 3 room apartments. While on the other side we have more investors and foreign family customers,” she clarifies. Finally, for budgets starting from 30,000 euro/m2 you need to look at the centre of the district. “In the heart of the district you can still buy at decent prices if you stay with basic properties,” explains Massimiliano Ibba.
“The market is holding up”
ECONOMICS/At its heart, this historic district benefits from interesting offerings at attractive prices. The noisier seafront will attract exclusive customers favouring the higher floors.
La Condamine remains one of Monaco’s ‘cheapest’districts, although the excellent condition of the Monegasque property market is driving prices upwards. An increase that the professionals have particularly noticed in the attractive small streets in its historic heart. “The renovation of Place d’Armes and all adjoining streets has been instrumental in promoting the district’s development. Our customers often ask us for rues de Millo, Saige or des Acores,” says Massimiliano Ibba of Thomas Immobilier agency. “The people from here, the Monegasques or their sons and daughters, love it because it’s typical, central and vibrant,” Gilles Graille continues. The manager of Pacific Agency notes a surge in the prices of subject to law apartments.” In January 2014, we sold one at 16,000 euro/m2 which was already a very high range. Today the same property would start at 17,000 – 20,000 euro/m2, or much higher, even providing for renovation.”
The village side of La Condamine is popular with families and people seeking a pied-à-terre. “You can’t find apartments at 18,000 euro/m2 any more, you have to count on 20,000 to 22,000 euro/m2,” confirms Brigitte Bermond, managing director at Dotta Immobilier. “22,000 euro/m2 for exceptional properties but no more,” advises in turn Corinne Courrieu, negotiator with Thomas Immobilier. The seafront will be more sought after by the Anglo-Saxons or Formula 1 enthusiasts. It is an area where transactions have increased over the course of the year. “Owners have taken advantage of finding investors who have bought at the price they wanted,” says Corinne Courrieu. “The market is holding up,” confirms Jean-Yves Le Graverend of John Taylor Monaco for his part. The agency manager still regrets the shortage of offerings in fine buildings. “At the Shangri-La, one of the loveliest buildings at Port Hercule, a 120m2 3 room apartment on the front was put on the market at 6.2 million euro i.e. 51,000 euro/m2.” According to him, quality properties in the Porto-Bello building can reach 60-70,000 euro per m2.
High floor sales
But it is services and quality that affect the sales price. “At Beau Rivage, believing you can sell at 70,000 euro/m2 is unreal,” says Brigitte Bermond. Around Port Hercule, several buildings are fifty years old. “People either love them for their position overlooking the harbour or detest them because the building is noisy and fairly ‘old fashioned’with a bad orientation. When well renovated, some apartments can start at 50,000 to 55,000 euro/m2,” she adds. At Thomas Immobilier we readily admit that it is easier to rent than sell on the seafront and up to the 4th or 5th floors “due to the noise from all the events.” “On the other hand, as soon as we get something on a high floor, or better still a rooftop or penthouse, there are plenty of customers. It’s mainly the foreigners who like the atmosphere of a historic district of Monaco and can enjoy the all-round view. So we come across substantial prices of over 20 million euro. But for a rare property, customers are willing to argue over it,” emphasises Massimiliano Ibba.
The most affordable prices
ECONOMICS/Although the district has large surface areas and a view over Monaco from some buildings, it is primarily the prices that attract customers.
This is the district where you can find lower prices than elsewhere in Monaco. Knowing the average purchase prices per m2, it is easier to understand why some people choose to settle in Moneghetti and the Exotic Garden. “This is a district with high opportunity for negotiation, as there are many buildings without a concierge and to be completely refurbished,” analyses Kate Dorfman, manager of Immocontact. According to this professional, it is possible to find good opportunities reflected by these 200 m2 3 to 4 room apartments negotiable from 5 to 6 million euro. The only condition is adding the budget of fully renovating the property. “They are usually buildings with a nice view, like the Ligures or the Bermuda. The latter building is not necessarily popular as it dates from the 1950s. But it has been renovated and benefits from a position overlooking Monaco which can be appealing. It is above all the prices that attract customers,” stresses Brigitte Bermond, managing director of Dotta Immobilier.
Boulevard de Belgique is popular
“This district has regained its appeal. For example, we sold a large apartment at the Beverly Palace with car-parking, cellar and view, for over 35,000 euro/m2,” explains Jean-Yves Le Graverend, manager of John Taylor Monaco. A price far from the 100,000 euro achieved for the luxurious Petite Afrique apartments in the heart of the Carré d’or (see our article). “When you ask around, there could be many people who would like to buy in the Carré d’or, at the harbour, or on the east side of Monaco. But when they begin to look at the prices there is a great difference. Between the Exotic Garden and the Carré d’or it can triple,” agrees Brigitte Bermond. Though prices have become relatively stable they are pushed up by some buildings, particularly those located on Boulevard de Belgique. Here, customers speak highly of peace and quiet, a certain service level and convenient access to Monaco’s station and hospital. “Boulevard de Belgique benefits from a really beautiful view with easy access to the harbour, plus a small drop in value compared with other districts of Monaco,” Jean-Yves Le Graverend explains.
“Opportunities at reasonable prices”
In this district, overall the broadest range of prices is to be found in buildings such as 23 boulevard de Belgique, the Beverly Palace or the Eden Tower. Like his colleague, Massimiliano Ibba of Thomas Immobilier agency highlights the Ligures. “The prices there are higher still. There is a sea view and prestige with a pool, tennis court and gym. For the upper south-facing floors you can even exceed 35,000 euro/m2.” Conversely, those with a mountain view will lose value substantially and be more difficult to sell.
At the Exotic Garden, Pacific Agency has sold a 75 m2 apartment for 1,550,000 euro i.e. 21,000 euro/m2. “It’s not in a high demand district but rather one where there are opportunities. Those who choose the Moneghetti district do so partly for its convenient access to the way out of Monaco,” explains Gilles Graille, manager of the agency. In buildings like the Bel Horizon, the Bermuda or the Rotonde prices are close to 27,000 euro/m2. “If I were an investor I would choose Boulevard du Jardin Exotique. You can acquire properties there at reasonable prices,” Massimiliano Ibba believes.