Property Letter from Cannes

Posted by admin in Cannes | May 25th 2007

The 60th Cannes Film Festival.

(And what a show!)

It runs from the 16th to 27th May and town is pulsating. We are a little town really and during this two week period our numbers swell by about 70 000 people, counting only those who stay here! The people of Cannes pull out all the stops, the police do their best to maintain a semblance of order, but allow weird parking and driving habits, and “look the other way” while people engage in “relatively harmless” excesses. The town is kept spotless, and although the parties don’t stop until after the sun comes up, by 08.30 the streets and pavements have not only been cleaned, but washed too, and the beaches are swept pristine. I find it quite incredible.

The entertainment, the tents, the hundreds of boats in the bay from super-yachts to super liners all ablaze with lights and each rocking to their own celebrations and parties, the live performances in the streets and on the beaches, the fireworks and the fun make this a unique event.

I am sure he wouldn’t mind me saying so – the film producer Michael Moore who won the top prize, the coveted “Palme d’Or” for “Farenheit 9/11” in 2004 is staying in one of our investors’ apartments in Palm Beach. I can’t tell you why he’s not at the 5 Star Carlton or the Hotel Martinez with his peers, but apparently he just doesn’t fancy the trappings of fame and glamour that much. None the less his contribution to the contest this year is “Sicko” which is being talked about as another contender for the top prize.

Le President” of the panel of judges this year is Stephen Frears who directed “The Queen” and the huge array of talent his team must choose from is mind boggling. There are more than 1000 films from around the world being screened (not all are in the competition), and to give you an idea of how the town just doesn’t sleep, on Saturday was the much anticipated screening of “Sicko” at the Palais des Festivals. It started at midnight! Vicky and I went for a long walk after supper, just to experience the excitement in town, and shortly before midnight we walked and pushed our way past the famous red carpet at the entrance to the “Palais”. The paparazzi were there on step ladders, up trees, hanging from the balconies, all competing for a glimpse and a “shot” of the stars. The “Sicko” team was due to arrive soon.

It was midnight on La Croisette but a kaleidoscope of people were moving this way and that, on business or to parties, casual, high fashion, in suits, in DJ’s, and the ladies of course dressed to kill. It was as busy as Oxford Street at rush hour but a lot more glamorous.

 

 

Hello” Mr Sarkozy.

(And a big sigh of relief.)

After a gripping campaign 84% of eligible voters turned out to hand a resounding victory to the man who has promised to revive the economy, and get tough on crime. “The French people have chosen change, and it is change that I will implement” he declared during his victory speech. “We will break with the ideas, the habits and the behaviour of the past, in order to get France moving again.”

His domestic agenda has three main tenets: 1) The French need to work harder – he will attack and disable the 35 hour week, and the stifling labour legislation that goes with it. 2) He will allow mortgage-interest payments to be deducted from income tax, and introduce other measures designed to diminish the tax burden. 3) Immigration rules will be tightened, and stiffer sentences will be handed out to young and repeat offenders.

 

He knows he will have resistance from the unions, famous for causing chaos, but well-known as he is for his hyperactivity, nobody doubts that he will move quickly.

People are genuinely relieved, and in the real estate industry (and many others I have no doubt), “things are moving”. In Azur Eden, the agency that Vicky and I share with our French partner, our staff is local and it is the local market that they mostly serve. They have signed more sales in the two weeks since the results were announced than in the few months leading up to the election put together.

I said in my Property Letter in February that the French were in a state of nervous indecision. There was little movement or activity, as everyone sat on the fence and waited to “see what happens”. Now there appears to be optimism.

I listened to a discussion on TV after the result, and one of the panellists was from the investment firm Goldman Sachs (I think). I was struck by something he said, and I wrote it down. He said: “Shrewd investors bought French stocks about three weeks ago.” There is a lot of confidence out there that the French economy is waiting to take off as the British economy did after 1979 (when Margaret Thatcher came to power).

A leader in last weeks “The Economist” says: “The biggest test of his presidency is one Mr Sarkozy needs to face up to early. Paradoxically, that is in part because Europe’s economies are now doing so well, with growth rising and unemployment falling. That helps to create a more benign climate in which to make painful reforms, but it also shows up starkly how badly France is doing compared with Britain and Germany. The big vote for Mr Sarkozy partly reflects a burning desire to make up lost ground after years of under-performance. The firmer he is on taking on unions, insiders, pensioners and others with a stake in today’s over-protected system, the greater will be the eventual economic rewards.”

Sarkozy has a mandate for change, and public opinion is firmly on his side. The hard left was crushingly defeated. His style is “hands on” and “active”. With all this in his favour, I say “go for it Mr Sarkozy” and I think he will.

Our Own Magic Corner of France – the Cote d’Azur.

(And some interesting facts and figures)

High Tech Investment:

The French Riviera attracts one third of foreign research and development companies setting up in France – that is ahead of the Ile de France (being Paris and its surrounds). Since the 1960’s the Americans have been investing here – Texas Instruments, Cisco, Nortel, American Express, HP, Accenture and many others. They total 122 high technology companies and employ 6 100 people, against 84 British companies currently, but the British high tech. contingent is growing rapidly. The reasons for this influx are all around us, but chief amongst them is the skillset of the people available for recruitment. The French tertiary education system is excellent, and generates large numbers of highly skilled engineers, and this part of France has established itself as the high tech. heart of the country – and educated people want to live here! They only go elsewhere if they fail to find work here.

The Property Market:

A couple of years ago I sent out a detailed analysis of property prices in our region. The source was the Chamber of Notaries department of statistics, and by its very nature it is complete because every property transaction in France, big or small, passes through a notary. It also includes every shabby dwelling overlooking the railway track along with those with merit, so there is always a great disparity between the properties that go to make up the figures.

I have the figures for 2006 now. Today I will simply highlight a few points of relevance and/or interest:

In previous correspondence:

  • I told you that the increase in property prices overall across the region had been in the order of 15.5% per annum in the 14 quarters until the end of 2004.

  • In 2005 it was 16.7% although in Cannes it was 13%.

There has been a slow down in 2006 although there are anomalies hidden within the figures:

  • Theoule sur Mer (extending just west of Cannes) has seen a surprising increase of 25% in the year. I don’t know the factors lurking behind that figure.

  • Cannes has dropped a bit to 9.4%.

  • The worst performer seems to be Mouans-Sartoux (close to Nice but inland) which came in at -4%.

If we look at the whole Riviera the figures are:

  • Average price of apartments has risen by 12.4%.

  • The price of houses and villas has increased by 10.9%.

  • But the winner is…the price of land, which has risen 17%.

 

Some interesting general facts emerge from the report:

 

  • Since 2000 the price of apartments across the region has more than doubled (+123.5%).

  • In greater Cannes the increase in the same time frame has been 126%.

  • The price per square meter of apartments increase the bigger they get in Cannes, so studios and one bedrooms averaged at 5 100, against two and three bedrooms at 5 800 and 5 900. That surely reflects a shortage of supply of larger properties.

  • Houses and villas in Cannes have risen 22% in 2006. (The average dwelling is 120 sq.m. habitable, on 1016 sq.m of land, for a price of 898 000 euros.)

  • The average price of a four bedroom house in Cannes has risen from 1.1 m. euros to 1.36m. euros.

 

Prime Minister of the month.

(And his best quote by far.)

John Howard takes the prize with his wonderful, succinct and politically incorrect description of my least favourite person who he publicly and without apology called a “grubby dictator”. How refreshing to hear some straight talking from high places.

(If you want to read more about his speech and reactions to it type “grubby dictator” into Google and click “search”. It’s caused a stir, but he’s still not apologising, and he won’t!)

 

I’m looking!”

Please have a good look at the properties below.

 

Only a few of those that are available are featured, but Vicky and I have selected them as being some of the better investment properties on the market at the moment.

  • The prices are “asking prices” and normally negotiable.

  • We can help in obtaining bank finance locally at reasonable rates.

  • People are often surprised at what is possible, and many of our investors have come into it never believing that they could or would actually do it. But they have.

  • We have been here more than 5 years now, and our family is committed here for the long term. It’s a complete service that we offer, and it works.

  • Vicky and I look after the investor and owner, and all aspects of his management and administration (if required) through our company Azur Accom.

  • Our son Lao looks after the website, marketing and sales of rental accommodation, and ultimately the guest, through his company Azur-Online.

  • Lao’s wife Katherine takes care of furnishing and décor where required, on big projects or very small.

  • We achieve very good results where renovations are required, using well tried and tested local artisans, so we actively seek out such projects because capital revaluation can be interesting. They are not easy to find, and we do recognise that it doesn’t suit everyone’s taste to require renovations after purchase.

  • One final point is that these Property Letters do not cover everyone’s needs. Please speak to us directly with what you are interested in. We have villas available all along the coast, and in Cannes, residences on some of the most spectacular golf courses in Europe, and apartments in Nice and Antibes to name a few. Just let us know where your interest lies and if we can help, we will.

With kind regards,

Guy.

Some Properties to Consider:

THREE APARTMENTS.

(In One House).

Central Cannes.

There is a little street parallel to the Rue d’Antibes, in the centre of Cannes called Rue Jean Jaures – very good rental location. One of the old houses (built in 1920) has been divided and each floor has been renovated and is being sold separately.

  • Ground floor there is a shop.

  • First floor two studio apartments.

  • Second floor is a two bedroom apartment.

  • Top floor is a two bedroom apartment except that it is a duplex with a bedroom and second bathroom at the top.

Jean Jaures Top Floor.

 

 

 

 

 

Two bedroom apartment.

80 sq.m. living space.

1 Bathroom and 1 shower room.

Double glazed and air-conditioned (all new).

View is of streets and rooftops – typical Cannes.

Price is 425 000 Euros.

 

Lovely spacious apartment with lots of character. It has been completely renovated, and large areas of the wall have been cleverly chipped away to expose the underlying stone walls. The open plan kitchen is very attractive and modern, and fully equipped of course. An open staircase leads upstairs to the mezzanine level with the main bedroom and bathroom en suite. The bedroom on the lower floor has an en suite shower.

Jean Jaures – Second Floor.

 

Two bedroom apartment.

60 sq.m. living space.

1 Bathroom.

1 Separate toilet.

Double glazed (and it might be air conditioned?)

View as above – street scene.

Price is 339 000 Euros.

This apartment has also been renovated. The living room is very spacious and the bedrooms are adequate. The main bedroom has a walk in dressing room / cupboard which is useful, and looks to the street. The second bedroom is smaller and looks onto a rear courtyard. It is quite interesting the way she has done the kitchen because she has used an old (antique) fully glazed window pane to separate the living room from the kitchen. Without the window pane (which is a feature in itself) the kitchen would be open to the living room, and with the window there, it feels open. It is intriguing, and very original. The bathroom and toilet are new and very clean and bright.

Jean Jaures – First Floor.

Studio apartment.

26 sq.m. living space.

Separate new bathroom and toilet.

Open plan new kitchen.

Living room divided into sitting and sleeping areas.

Double glazed and air-conditioned.

View over the street.

Price is 160 700 Euros.

In the finishing stages of renovation, this apartment is the smaller portion of a divided first floor. At the moment the other portion, which is a one bedroom unit is not for sale as it is also under renovation, but I believe it will be sold in time.

They have used glass doors to separate the forward portion (overlooking the street) into a sleeping area – one could call it a small bedroom. It is big enough for beds, and quiet enough, with double glazing and air conditioning in the apartment. The remaining living area is not as small as one would expect, and the light streams through from the front of the apartment. When the bedroom is in use one will draw a blind across to make it private. The kitchen is open plan to the living area, and equipped, and brand new.

Apartment Overlooking Gardens.

On Ave Marachal Juan.

 

One bedroom apartment.

45 sq.m. living space.

Open plan modern kitchen – very high specs.

Double glazed and air conditioned.

View over Marachal Juan to the listed and beautiful gardens.

Five minute walk to the Hotel Martinez and the centre of Cannes.

Price is 275 000 euros.

The apartment is sold furnished.

This lovely apartment is on the 2nd and top floor of an old building. There is only one apartment below it on the 1st floor and a shop on the ground, therefore there is no levy, the upkeep of any common areas being the concern of the three owning parties. Marachal Juan is one of the main arterial, one way roads into Cannes, and the apartment is only 200m from the end at Rondpoint des Gabres, which is also the start of the Rue d’Antibes, and in a sense the start of what we would call “the centre”. It is a good renting location.

 

The charm of this apartment, apart from the gorgeous and comfortable interior, is the view across the gardens.

Apartment and a shop!

In Palm Beach.

 

One bedroom apartment.

40 sq.m. living space.

Fully renovated to a very high standard, modern apartment.

Double glazed and air conditioned.

View over the little village square and surrounding shops.

15 minute walk to the centre of Cannes and the Palais des Festivals.

It is on the bus route into town.

Price is 260 000 Euros.

The apartment is being sold furnished.

PLUS:

Ground floor shop in the Village Sablons of Palm Beach.

40 sq.m. of space plus a lean to and cold room.

Currently the shop is on long term lease to a florist, but the lease is for sale.

Price is 100 000 Euros.

This charming fisherman’s cottage with arched windows and old style shutters is over a hundred years old. Some time ago it was divided and a lovely apartment created on the first floor with a shop below. The ground floor has been a florist for about 18 years, and changed hands three years ago, but the new owner of the lease is having a baby and wishes to quit. Therefore the lease is for sale.

The little village of Sablons is closer to town than the main body of Palm Beach peninsula – it lies at the base of the peninsula rather than the tip. It is a very charming and traditional village with a gorgeous patisserie and coffee shop that also serves light lunches. This is our favourite and Vicky and I are regulars there – we love their bread and croissants, and the coffee is the best! It also has two small grocer’s shops, two butchers, a pharmacy, post office, hairdresser, newsagent, laundry, and a little garage / car service centre.

The apartment and the shop are being sold separately, or together.

Jean de Riouffe.

Large Studio Apartment.

In the Centre of Cannes.

37 sq.m. of living space.

Fully renovated and ready to work as a rental unit.

Double glazed.

View of streets leading to the Palais des Festivals.

Price is 230 000 Euros.

The apartment is being sold furnished.

This large studio is a perfect rental property, but also charming. It is on the first floor of a very good building so the entrance and common areas are modern, light and spotless. If one leans out of one of the large front windows and looks right, one can see the Palais des Festivals 200m away at the bottom of the street. If one looks left, the Cannes central railway station is 200m away at the top of the street.

This apartment is in an absolutely ideal situation.

Casta Diva.

Apartment in Palm Beach.

 

Sunrise

One bedroom apartment.

40 sq.m. living space on the 4th floor.

Lovely big balcony.

Brand new apartment in a new block.

Double glazed, air conditioned, electric shutters, etc.

View is north over gardens and a school to the hills above Cannes.

Price is 385 000 Euros.

The apartment comes with a garage. Very valuable in this part of town.

The apartment is being sold furnished.

The apartment block right on the Place de l’Etang was only finished about three years ago, so it is new, and built to a very high standard. It’s a lovely modern building. One advantage a buyer has is that as the building is under 5 years old, notarial and transfer charges are at a reduced rate of 2% instead of 7% for older buildings.

 

An apartment such as this in Palm Beach has the double advantage of being rentable for festivals and conferences, while also being very popular for holiday lets. The beaches are only 150m away, both east and west (as we sit in the middle of a narrow peninsula). The Place de l’Etang is the heart of Palm Beach, vibrant with boules players every day, and surrounded by 5 restaurants, a little grocer’s, a pharmacy. a newsagent, and of course patisserie.

Antinea.

Top Floor Duplex Apartment in Palm Beach.

Two / Three bedrooms.

85 sq.m. of living space.

Three marvellous terraces measuring 75 sq.m. in total.

Double glazing, air-conditioning and electric blinds throughout.

Views are north and south, panoramic seascapes from both sides.

The price is 720 000 Euros.

The apartment has only just come in so I don’t have any photos yet.

The position of this superb apartment is wonderful, in the heart of Palm Beach with beaches only meters away and panoramic views from both sides. It is built on two levels and the 5th floor is a two bedroom apartment and complete with large living and dining area, bathrooms and a kitchen. The front balcony is vast, and the back balcony is also spacious.

Up a spiral staircase is the top floor which is set up as another apartment with its own very spacious living room, bedroom (very small), bathroom and kitchen, and another lovely terrace.

The overall impression is a little disorganised. That is not a bad thing because it gives the buyer the chance to “organise” it as he wishes. I would, if it were mine, remove all the 70’s wallpaper from bathrooms and toilets and the dressing room, and repaint. I would re-floor the front terraces which are not up to standard, and I would turn the large top floor kitchen into another bedroom.

There is masses of potential and with 85 sq.m. of living space and 75 sq.m. of terraces on top of a building in Palm Beach, the sky’s the limit!

VILLA.

In Golfe Juan.

780 000 Euros.

Golfe-Juan is a seaside town and port that connects Cannes with Juan les Pins and Antibes. It is just a few kilometres east of Cannes and home to many lovely restaurants, two of the most famous being “Nounou” and “Chez Tetou”. It is also famous for having been the spot that Napoleon landed when he returned from exile on the Island of Elbe, and travelled north with his new army, to seize power and become Emperor for the second time. There is a colourful re-enactment and celebration of this event every year in March.

 

The Villa is on two levels and has 170 sq.m. of living space, in grounds of 1500 sq.m. There is a 30 sq.m. terrace with a sea view which leads directly to the large pool and a barbecue and outdoor summer kitchen with a bread oven. On the ground floor there is a large living and dining room with fireplace, and the master bedroom is magnificent, with a dressing room and an atypical bathroom en suite, as well as a second bedroom, also en-suite. On the first floor is a third bedroom with a shower en-suite.

 

There is a large garage and the shops and beaches are only 5 minutes away.

VILLA.

In a ‘Domaine’ Close to Villeneuve-Loubet.

1 500 000 Euros.

 

 

 

The domaine is almost exactly between Nice airport and Antibes and lies north (inland) of the A8 motorway. It is marvellously positioned in many ways.

The domaine is set in 1.15 km2 of parkland, and is particularly proud of its 50 000 trees.

There are 40% villas and 60% apartments, and the owners are truly international in make-up, although predominantly French.

Views are of the mountains and the sea, although from the villa we have to offer, there is no sea view.

Beyond a clubhouse and swimming pool is a village built on a lake with all services – groceries, snack bar, newsagent, laundry, hairdresser, pharmacy, doctor & homeopath, dentist, restaurant.

Security is 24 hours, with constant patrols especially of properties which are currently locked up.

The clubhouse is the centre of various activities, including bridge & scrabble, and it has a library.

There is an Olympic swimming pool, a volley ball court, boules, and 8 tennis courts.

The domaine is 5 minutes each from the beach, the nearest supermarket, and the A8 motorway.

The living space is 300 sq.m.

It is built on 3 levels:

Ground floor has a huge living room with fireplace, with flow to the terrace, fully equipped kitchen, and guest toilet, main bedroom and dressing room with bathroom en suite.

1st floor has two bedrooms with bathrooms en-suite and another guest toilet.

In the basement a big living / games room, cellar and store room, and a “gardien’s apartment” which is self contained and has another two bedrooms and bathrooms.

The villa has its own lovely swimming pool and barbecue.

There is the possibility of buying this villa furnished as it is if one wanted to.

VILLA.

In a Gated Domaine Near Mougins.

3 500 000 Euros.

 

 

The domaine has 24 hour security.

It is just off the road that connects Mougins to La Roquette, and on to Pegomas.

There are 42 villas on parcels of land varying from 4 000 sq.m. to 15 000 sq.m., therefore they are very private.

There are no communal facilities or pool.

The villa we have to offer is on 5 030 sq.m. of land and has a beautiful pool and pool house.

Views are of countryside. It is lovely.

 

The living space is 370 sq.m.

On the ground floor there is an entrance hall and huge living room of 97 sq.m. with a fireplace and a fully equipped kitchen, the main bedroom with bathroom en suite, another bedroom with shower en-suite, and a separate guest toilet.

On the first floor there are 3 bedrooms with bathrooms en-suite, a mezzanine office, and two terraces.

At basement level there is a huge entertaining area and bar (which is not included in the 370 sq.m. of living area).

There is a four car garage at basement level, with electric doors.

There remains residual planning permission to build – to add to the present construction if required.

Irrigation of the gardens is automatic, all rooms are air conditioned (climate controlled) and heating is under floor.

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