PL39 – 30th April 2004.

Posted by admin in Property Letters | April 30th 2004

Before I even start:

1. Anyone not wishing to receive these letters can de-subscribe from the ‘yahoo group’ we use, and equally anyone wishing to subscribe can do so.

2. If you want to scroll past the letter, and get straight to the properties on offer, they are at the end.

Dear All,

Looking back I see that I bombarded you with a lot of information in Property Letters 37 and 38. (Anyone needing a copy of either please let me know)

Vicky and I had a wonderful few weeks in the Cape with the family, culminating in the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon on Easter Saturday. 18 000 runners from all over the world took part in the full 56km or the half and it was a fantastic day, with cool conditions this year which was a real bonus.

We returned to Cannes on Easter Monday, (a little stiff but) ready to commit ourselves totally for the next few months. There is so much to do and we are positively excited at the prospect.

Bookings.

To all intents and purposes this will be our first real season.
Last year we started renting at about this time with six or eight apartments to work with and all from Lao and Katherine’s home. Our systems were new, and so were we.

This year we have an office and a support structure in Azur Eden the French agency we have bought into. We have some experience, an office and a shop front, and the start of a track record. Lao has worked hard and closely with web marketing professionals to change and upgrade our website to increase its effectiveness and it is working increasingly well for us – it is an eye-opener to watch it day by day. Those of you who visited the site months ago and revisit it now will not recognize it. It is not prettier – just a lot, lot better.
There are ‘hits’, for which we pay the search engines like yahoo, google and overture a certain amount per hit. And a percentage of those hits turn into bookings. That ‘yield’ of ‘bookings from hits’ has gone from 2% to 40% (very high in the industry) in the last 6 months, and that has everything to do with how the website is designed, positioned, and how easy it is to use.

The truth is that the vast majority of the bookings are business bookings, which means that they are focused on the conferences that take place here. That is wonderful and we have had a fantastic response and a full house for the two main conferences so far this year, being GSM in February and MIPIM in March. The smaller MIPTV conference in March was only half full, but the bookings and enquiries for the Film Festival and the International Advertising Festival in May and June are frantic. We will certainly be full to overflowing for those.
Summer (which is July and August) follows and we anticipate being virtually full throughout that period.
September and October are also good conference months.

We need to increase our bookings out of conference weeks. We are and will continue to work on that, but the market is an entirely different one. Mostly one is dealing with families or couples who are more budget conscious than businesses. They are also far more apt to decide that “France is too expensive – we’ll go to Turkey”. They shop around far more. It has been suggested to us by one owner that they actively avoid contacting commercial website advertisers like us, and seek out private solutions instead, and the web has plenty of those. We are developing various schemes to improve our ‘out of conference’ yield. (We would still really appreciate any help you can give us by spreading the word far and wide. Thank you.)

Our overall occupancy continues to creep upwards as our service to guests improves, as our network expands, as happy customers come back or tell their friends about us, and as the advertising that we employ becomes more effective.
We have our targets always in mind, and we get closer and closer to achieving them.

Facts and Principles.

o Cannes is a huge, international, very fashionable and popular business and tourist destination – in the long term.
o Investment in France and notably in Cannes is growing in popularity with increasing investment here by the Brits and northern Europeans.
o Prices are increasing but have not reached the levels of UK property by a long way.
o Capital appreciation is running at 15 to 20% p.a. in Cannes. Possibly more.
o Rental prospects in Cannes are better than anywhere else on the Riviera because of the huge business traffic to this small city.
o It is a friendly investment environment with loans available at a very attractive 3.25% for those wishing to avail themselves of them.
o The Euro is an attractive currency to be in.

In short there are many reasons why we and many others have decided to invest here. We make no promises, but Vicky and I and our family are committed to Cannes in the long term, (we have bought four apartments ourselves so far) and will do what we can to ensure that we and all who have joined us in investment here will do better than they would have done elsewhere.

o We strive to find the best value investment properties we can. We look at many and select only the best.
o We help buyers with every step from obtaining finance to signing of the final transfer if they need us to.
o We advise on, organize and oversee all aspects of renovation, furnishing and decoration, if required.
o We conscientiously and energetically market and let the apartments, and manage them to the best of our ability.
o After transfer however the property belongs wholly to the investor to do with what he or she likes. Ownership is “pleine propriete”, or what we would call ‘freehold’.

We believe that in order for us to prosper it is absolutely necessary that every investor, family member, friend or business partner involved with us must prosper too.

There is no other way.

We are in Cannes now for most of the rest of the year, and Lao and Katherine all the time, so please stay in touch.

With kind regards,

Guy and Vicky

PROPERTY REVIEW.

Please remember that all the prices that I quote below are asking prices. If a property catches your attention, ask me and I can provide you with a lot more information, photos, and financial analysis. And often we can achieve some reduction in the price once we begin negotiations.
There are some great apartments here, and none that Vicky and I would not buy ourselves if we could.

Le Suquet.
This ground floor studio apartment is situated in the heart of the quaint and charming Old Town known as Le Suquet. Much of this area has been very tastefully renovated, and the old town is generally beautifully preserved. Its little winding cobblestone streets are largely pedestrian and too narrow and too steep for vehicles. The ancient church at the top of the hill dominates Le Suquet.
The apartment is on an ancient stepped and cobbled walkway, some 20 meters off Rue St Antoine which is the gastronomic heart of Cannes, and home to some of the oldest and nicest restaurants in the region.
It is in a recently renovated block with only 5 apartments in it, and the exterior has just been repainted in the Provencale rusty pink.
From the ‘street’ one enters the main room directly. It is more spacious than one expects easily making a sitting/dining room and is divided by a wall with an open doorway from a second section which is big enough for a big double bed or two singles. The bathroom (shower only) is complete and adequate, but I would like to replace some of the old stainless steel fixtures, and the same applies to the kitchen area which needs some thought and improvement. The apartment itself is clean, white and has still got the original old tiled floors throughout. This shouldn’t be touched – those old tiles are great.
The view is of a little garden below (down the hill) which is being rejuvenated by the new Swiss owner of the apartment below, recently renovated to a high standard. I am sure that his garden will be completed to the same high standard. Beyond his garden are the higgledy piggledy red rooftops of the old town.
There is no balcony or terrace, but the owners traditionally open their door and put their table and chairs on the (pedestrian) street and watch the world go bye as they eat. The apartment faces full south and therefore gets plenty of sun into the big main windows.
It is a few hundred meters from the Palais des Festivals and therefore in terms of position and rentability for congresses and holidays it couldn’t be better.
It is empty and needs furnishing from scratch.
It is 23 sq.m.
Asking price – 105 000€
Price per sq.m. – 4565€

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Pomme d’Or.
This first floor apartment is in the Rue Jean Cresp in the Palm Beach suburb at the Eastern end of the Croisette. We have other apartments in this very quiet street which is gated for residents at both ends, and it is well placed between the beaches and the centre. A 15 minute walk to the Palais des festivals and on a reliable bus route, Palm Beach is very popular with both holiday makers and businessmen. The lively Place de l’Etang with its restaurants and village life is a couple of hundred meters away, and it is one block from the Croisette itself.
The one bedroom apartment is in perfect condition and carpeted in light green throughout. It is the much loved home of an elderly couple who are moving closer to family.
The balcony faces west and looks over the loveliest gardens with palms, ornamental cherries, flower gardens and lawns. It is absolutely quiet and peaceful.
The bedroom and living room open through wide sliding doors onto the balcony and both rooms are well equipped with cupboards, and are spacious enough, especially the living room.
The bathroom in a cream patterned tile is immaculate, and the small kitchen is the only area of the apartment that is ‘functional’ and could do with uplifting. It would not be an expensive improvement to make, as it is small.
Parking right outside is not a problem in this street.
The apartment is 40 sq.m. with 15 sq.m. of balcony.
Asking price – 198 000€
Price per sq.m. – 4 950€

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La Brise.
This is a studio apartment on the 3rd floor with a separate small room created to facilitate a second sleeping area. It has been cleverly created with excellent use of space throughout.
Our group of investors already own three apartments in this building.
La Brise is one of our favorite little buildings in Palm Beach. It has five floors, the ground floor being entirely taken up by La Brasserie, a very popular restaurant much favored by locals.
The first apartment we ever bought in Cannes was on the fifth floor and that belongs to Vicky and me. It is little but it is the apartment that Vicky and I choose to live in when we are in Cannes. It is not the smartest building, and we lost our concierge late last year and she has not been replaced yet. However it is small and the communal areas like the lift and staircase are cleaned weekly. The charges are pretty low, and we have never had any problems, nor have we had any complaints from guests.
It’s appeal is that each apartment looks out westwards through large sliding glass doors as wide as the apartment, over the Place de l’Etang just below. The Place is the most wonderful kaleidoscope of traditional village life day and night. It is THE world home of Boules which is played enthusiastically there all day and every day. There are a few lovely restaurants around it and a market on Fridays. It is so charmingly traditional and yet just tucked away a block from the famous and glitzy Croisette. We are having specific requests from people who have stayed in La Brise before to return there.
Palm Beach is a peninsula so to walk to the bathing beaches is only one block eastwards (200m) or two blocks westwards (300m). To walk to the Palais des Festivals, home to all the business conferences and festivals, takes 15 to 20 minutes along the lovely gardens and beachfront of the Croisette. Alternatively the No.8 bus passes under La Brise every 15 minutes and takes 8 minutes to the Palais, costing 1.30€.

The apartment itself is immaculate and comes largely unfurnished, so it will be necessary to budget 4 to 5 000€ to furnish it. The Western balcony overlooking the Place de l’Etang has the open plan kitchen and little table and 4 chairs. From there one moves into the living room which has the double sofa bed, chairs and TV. Then there is a small passage with the front door to the apartment on the right and the bathroom on the left – very clever use of space – most attractively done in tasteful tiles and polished dark wood. One has the impression of being on a boat, especially with the sliding wooden doors, also designed to maximize every square meter. From there one moves into a tiny room with a fold out three quarter sofa bed, and beyond that the back balcony which looks out across the sea to Gulf Juan and Antibes the other side of the bay. Attractive sea view. The balcony has a desk and chairs, and was used as a working area. The desk is built in and is once again custom made in quality dark wood.
It is 30 sq.m.
Asking Price – 123 000€
Price per sq.m. – 4 100€

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Villa Lerins.
This is an east facing studio apartment on the ground floor of a good block in Palm Beach just off Place de l’Etang. It is very close to La Brise (above) so I won’t describe the character of Palm Beach and the Place de l’Etang again. It opens onto a pleasant balcony which leads directly onto the lawns and gardens which are communal to the building.
We already have two apartments in the block and it is well maintained and popular with guests.
The apartment comes fully and well furnished with good cupboards, a pull down single bed and a double sofa bed, a table and 4 chairs. The bathroom is light and modern with a washing machine, and the little kitchen is also light and bright and fully equipped.
It is double glazed and the blinds are electric.
The whole apartment is very pleasant and highly rentable.
It is 25 sq.m. with 12 sq.m. of balcony.
Asking price – 115 700€
Price per sq.m. – 4628€

Rue de Canada.
Totally redone one bedroom apartment (but not quite finished), on the first floor of an old but well maintained building without a lift.
It is well positioned in the centre of Cannes, just off Rue d’Antibes and is a 7 or 8 minute walk to the Palais des Festivals.
It has new wooden floors throughout, double glazing and electric shutters, faces south and so is bright and sunny. It has no balcony. Its view is of the Rue de Canada below, and across low buildings towards the bigger buildings on the Croisette. It has a brand new modern bathroom, air conditioning and modern lighting.
There is no kitchen and no cupboarding – these would have to be put in, but that is not a big problem as all the plumbing and very attractive tiling is already in place for it.
It is 33 sq.m.
Asking price – 162 000€
Price per sq.m. – 4909€

The Office.
This is something different, and I include it because it has potential for someone who is not afraid of a ‘project’. Would we be able to take it on for you? Yes, we can.
Part of the ground floor of an apartment building was taken over and converted to offices.
Interior walls have been erected and basically the space needs stripping and refashioning into an apartment again.
It has the potential to be a very spacious one bedroom apartment, or even a good two bedroom apartment.
It is already double glazed, with electric shutters and air conditioning throughout. The bathroom and kitchen are largely fine.
There is a pleasant terrace in the front, fenced off and on a higher level than the street.
At the back is a lovely garden (in need of attention) which is most unusual for the centre of town.
It is just a couple of hundred meters up Blvd. Carnot – a main and busy artery in Cannes – and off down a side road by about 40 meters. So it is relatively quiet, and only about 5 minutes walk from the Palais des Festivals.
The price is extremely attractive – even if one budgets 50 000€ for renovation and furnishing (and that is probably too much).
It is 58 sq.m.
Garage and cellar in the basement.
Asking price – 160 000€
Price per sq.m. – 2 758€

Proximite Miramar.
An old fashioned but immaculate apartment with a partial sea view, just off the Croisette and a stones throw from the famous Carlton Hotel. 1 to 2 bedrooms. Wrap around balcony.
70 sq.m.
Asking price – 352 000€
Further information and description on request.

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Reine Astrid.
Lovely ground floor apartment in Palm Beach. Great views, two bedrooms, 55 sq m. of garden and terrace – immaculate inside and out. Sun lounge, and 3 parkings.
76 sq.m.
Asking price – 405 000€
More information on request.

Rue Meynadiere.

A stones throw from the Palais des festivals.
Two adjoining apartments to sell separately or together. They both open onto lovely (unbelievable ) 100 sq.m. garden, immaculately kept and absolutely private to the two apartments. Outside barbecues, lawns. I never knew this existed in the centre.
Both apartments are beautiful.
Two bedroom apartment – 63 sq.m. – Asking 445 000€
One bedroom apartment – 43 sq.m. – Asking 329 000€
Further information on request.

House in Le Suquet.
Five floors – completely renovated and currently lived in.
Beautiful and full of character. Everything original retained and improved – beams, floors, stairs etc.
Each floor is made up of a main room with kitchen and bathrooms attached wherever they can be fit in.
Built 200 years ago this little house features in many old and new publicity photos of Cannes. It is on the junction of two pedestrian roads leading up to the church on top of the hill, so it has views from every floor, north, east and west. It has little balconies overlooking the street with table chairs and a built in barbecue on one, and window boxes on others.
The views over cherry, jasmine and wisteria gardens to the towering city walls and church are the stuff of fairytales.
Asking price – 495 000€.
Further information, photos etc. on request.

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