PROPERTY LETTER 12th July 2007

Posted by admin in Property Investment, Property Letters | July 12th 2007

Dear All,

There are some excellent properties at the bottom of this letter. Please have a good look at them. This is a very interesting market, and an exciting part of the world to be involved, at whatever level.

I have in front of me the Knight Frank annual report for 2006 – For anyone interested in property anywhere it makes interesting reading and I will quote parts of it:

Their opening statement reads:

“Demand for overseas property is increasing by as much as 20% per annum – a significant figure.”

It continues:

“By far the most striking trend in the worldwide residential property arena is its shift from a minority pursuit of the privileged to a widely accessible mass market.

What makes this metamorphosis particularly remarkable is the fact that it has taken place in less than a decade. And this is just the beginning. Swift as this growth seems, Knight Frank predicts that it is still in its embryonic stages. Changes afoot in the worlds developing economies mean that the current international second home market is likely to be dwarfed over the next ten years,

Understanding the behaviour of international residential markets is now more crucial than ever before. Wealthy property owners frequently hold properties not just in several countries but in several continents. This can turn assessing worldwide trends on a like-for-like basis into a complex business – which can create considerable uncertainty when it comes to managing assets.

Against this backdrop Knight Frank has created the Global House Price Index. Covering 30 countries the index tracks mainstream and prime residential markets across the world in a way that makes them much easier to compare.

This in itself has been no mean feat. Comparing prices in diverse locations such as London, New York and Tokyo on the basis of pounds per square foot, dollars per square metre or yen per tsubo (3.3 square metres)- with currency fluctuations thrown in for good measure – has caused the odd sleepless night!

The property melting-pot:

Driven by cheap flights and political change, the mainstream market has seen some real innovation in recent years, most notably in the former soviet bloc countries….

However trends can move in diverse directions. A separate development – which is slightly paradoxical – is also emerging in the mainstream market sector. As the market for international property has burgeoned, with buyers looking ever harder to find the next hot-spot, we’ve witnessed a real drift back to established markets. Increasingly, buyers are making security, ease and the limitation of tax and legal uncertainties their top priorities. Classic European sunbelt locations such as resorts in Portugal, Spain and France have been the real beneficiaries of this trend.

2006 has seen a healthy growth in capital values in the prime city locations around the world. Interest in prime property remains firm with demand for second homes being the principal driver, while owner occupiers are increasingly attracted by the security and comfort of managed properties.

Looking to the future:

Other sea-changes are set to propel the global property market towards even higher levels of growth than we’re currently experiencing. The longer term impact of rising wealth in the developing world will see the demand for international holiday home and second home properties rise dramatically from present levels.

We have already seen Russian buyers influencing pricing levels in London and the South of France in recent years. Now we expect to see the same impact in other Asian, European and Caribbean resorts as wealth from China and India begins to spread and make its power felt over the next decades.

The potential size of the international homes market is vast and innovation in product, resort locations and financing arrangements makes it a truly exciting sector to be involved in.

This is what they have to say about France and the UK:

United Kingdom:

In spite of recent interest rate rises the UK market remains defiantly robust with annual growth rates of 8.2%………however we expect some slowdown in 2007 as slightly higher interest rates and concerns about realistic affordability begin to bite.

France and Monaco:

International buyers have continued their longstanding love affair with France over the past year with Knight Frank’s French activity up 50%. Established Cote d’Azur markets, including St Tropez, Cannes, Valbonne and the Principality of Monaco, have seen very high demand as quality property is in short supply….”

Some statistics from the report:

Global house price index, mid year 2006, annualised % capital price growth :

(Arranged in descending order.)

Latvia.

Bulgaria.

Denmark.

Belgium.

South Africa. (14%)

Estonia.

Sweden.

Canada.

Greece.

New Zealand.

USA.

France. (9.5%)

Ireland.

Spain.

Lithuania.

Finland.

Norway.

China.

Singapore.

Italy.

Hungary.

UK. (5%)

Australia.

Switzerland.

Austria.

Netherlands.

Germany.

Hong Kong.

Japan.

International cities, ₤ per square foot comparison, mid year 2006 :

(Descending order – I must assume Knight Frank are comparing «city-centre» prices.)

(1 £/ft² = 15.88 €/m² at current exchange rates)

London. (1733 £/ft²) = (27 520 €/m²)

Monaco. (1530 £/ft²) = (24 296 €/m²)

Tokyo.

New York.

Paris. (950 £/ft²) = (15 086 €/m²)

Hong Kong.

Moscow.

Singapore.

Dublin.

Milan.

Florence.

Sydney. (546 £/ft²) = (8 670 €/m²)

Rome.

Madrid.

Dubai.

Mumbai.

Frankfurt.

Cape Town. (280 £/ft²) = (4 446 €/m²)

Amsterdam.

 

While I’m in an international frame of mind – a very short story:

Vicky and I found ouselves in a bar / restaurant called « Saxophone » a few weeks ago, listening to a really brilliant band of a rainbow mix of nationalities playing fabulous American Jazz, drinking an Australian semillon-cabernet blend white wine, and eating Thai food. We were on Phuket Island, and with great music in the background we were none the less able to watch live on a big screen as a Spaniard, a Serb, a Swiss and a Russian fought it out in the two gripping mens semi-finals of the French Open in Paris, brought to us by « Supersport II » beamed from South Africa.

Talk about globalisation! I couldn’t help but be struck by it. In Europe we have come to take it for granted, but I didn’t expect it on a small island in the Andaman Sea.

(By the way – we were not tempted to buy property, although one could get a lot for one’s money compared to in France. Thailand is a great place for a holiday, but I have no desire to own anything there. Tsunamis aside, there is huge corruption from Prime Ministerial level down, military coups, and ongoing violence in the south. It remains politically unstable.)

Pinocolada Sunset

Local Trends:

It is a fact that although investment and rental properties in Cannes have been and remain a major focus of our energies, and our invetors’ interests, we are getting increasing demand and growing interest in larger “luxury” apartments and villas. There is a rental market for luxury products, and there are agencies that specialise in that market, but most of the investors are primarily interested in the facility to enjoy them with their their families and friends in an environment not easily matched anywhere in the world, safe in the knowledge that their money is well invested. Rentals may or may not be an important consideration.

Interestingly this ties in with the Knight Frank report and its findings:

Interest in prime property remains firm with demand for second homes being the principal driver, while owner occupiers are increasingly attracted by the security and comfort of managed properties.”

 

With kind regards,

Guy.

 

Some Properties to Consider:

Please have another look, at a couple of properties from my Property Letter of 25th May. Some of them are still available and this little apartment is still for some reason unsold. Given its situation and its low budget, it should have sold by now! Here is what I said about it last time:

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.

And this one – only the top floor is still available.

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. (Sold).

  • Second floor is a two bedroom apartment. (Sold).

  • Top floor is a two bedroom apartment except that it is a duplex with a bedroom and second bathroom at the top. (Not sold).

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.

Rue Mace.

  • Two bedroom apartment.

  • 55.03 sq.m. living space.

  • 3rd floor with a lift.

  • Looks east.

  • Asking Price – 385 000 euros.

Position – right in the “Golden Circle” – in the centre of Cannes.

The building is in excellent condition and well maintained with a lift.

Like Commandant Andre this apartment looks out eastwards and over rooftops – or on the level of the rooftops at least – on the quiet side of the building.

The apartment is on our books for rental already so has a record.

We were offered this apartment a couple of years ago when it was in need of total renovation. We didn’t find a buyer for it then, but it was subsequently sold to an English group who bought quite a few apartments and renovated them. It has now been completely renovated and is modern and bright with soft grey tiles, and the open plan kitchen is in cream. There are two bedrooms and one bathroom and toilet. All are new and bright. The apartment is being sold fully furnished. Of course it has been double glazed and air conditioned.

Just off the Rue d’Antibes.

I have offered this apartment before, but as happens from time to time, a sale doesn’t materialise for one reason or another. It’s a good little apartment, back on the market:

  • One bedroom apartment.

  • 39.5 sq.m. living space.

  • 3rd floor of 4.

  • Small balcony just off the Rue d’Antibes, and looking down obliquely at it.

  • Air conditioned, and lift.

  • Asking price – 270 000 euros.

The apartment is situated at the top end of the Rue d’Antibes, just a few meters from Lao’s rental offices. It is very central for conferences, beaches and shopping. The slightly raised (old) bathroom has been converted into the new bedroom. The apartment is renovated to a high standard, with real wooden floors, and a very modern open-plan and fully equipped kitchen. There is a breakfast bar separating it from the living room, and a separate lock-up storage room. The shower and toilet are new and modern. It is brand new.

Rue Marceau.

Nine apartments – an entire building.

  • Lovely old building – immaculate.

  • 250 sq.m. living space.

  • Nine studio apartments.

  • 3 floors – 3 apartments on each floor.

  • IMPORTANT – planning permission has been granted for two more floors.

  • Asking price – 1 590 000 euros.

This quiet building in immaculate condition (internal and external) is in the very heart of Cannes.

Each studio is self contained with attractive furnished living and sleeping room, kitchen and bathroom and toilet. It is 9 working rental units and the seller is not prepared to consider splitting it and selling individual apartments or parts.

 

 

TWO INTERESTING RENOVATION PROJECTS :

  1. Right in the centre of Cannes – Bivouac Napoleon.

 

  • Two bedroom apartment.

  • 88 sq.m. living space.

  • Asking price 551 000 euros.

The apartment is wonderfully well situated just a short block back from the Croisette and a few short minutes to the Palais des Festivals. It is a working rental apartment of two bedrooms today, but it offers the opportunity and the space to create a super three bedroom, three bathroom unit (we have a set of plans for the conversion if required)

All the floors and double glazing are new, so what it requires are some minor distribution changes (some interior walls), bathrooms and an open plan kitchen.

What would the cost of the renovation be ? I would gues not more than 60 000 euros.

  1. La Gallea. ***** (opportunity)

  • Two bedroom apartment.

  • 106.05 sq.m. living space.

  • 20 sq.m. terrace.

  • Lock up garage and cellar in the basement.

  • Asking price 445 000 euros.

This is a deceased estate. A lower offer might be accepted.

But it might be wise to hurry.

La Gallea is a landmark in Cannes – a lovely old building just north of the centre and in the foothills of Le Californie. For anyone with local knowlege it is right next door to Villa Le Lys and the Le Lys complex of apartments in which we already have investors. It is across the «Voie Rapide» but only marginally so, and the actual distance to the Rue d’Antibes is not more than 200m.

This is very sought after property in Cannes, the complex is immaculate, and the gardens are beautiful.

The apartment itself is on the first floor on the western side of the building and overlooks the road down from Le Californie to the centre. It traverses the building so the kitchen and second bedroom look east with their own balcony. The main bedroom and living room face west across the main large balcony. The view is lovely across the Villa and apartments and gardens of Le Lys. The Villa Le Lys is a «listed» building as are the gardens so they are guaranteed to be there in perpetuity. The villas and hills behind form an equally attractive further backdrop.

The apartment is old and tired inside and with so much space it begs for a proper renovation into a 3 bedroom and 3 bathroom 21st century apartment.

 

The cost of the renovations will probably be close to 100 000 euros. The result – fantastic.

Options :

  • Anyone wanting a «pied a terre» in central Cannes won’t do better at this price. Safe. Chic. Lots of space and parking. Lock-up-and-go. And as I said La Gallea is «une adresse».

  • Rental prospects are good, either short term (conference and holiday) or long term (residential).

  • Resale. Capital gains tax is at about 16% for Europeans and 33% for the rest of us.There would be significant capital gain to consider.

 

SOME « LUXURY » OPTIONS.

Mirandole – Les Hautes.

 

  • One bedroom apartment.

  • 56 sq.m. living space.

  • 4th floor of 5.

  • 15 sq.m. terrace.

  • Luxury apartment with air conditioniong, double glazing, electic shutters etc.

  • Fabulous sea views.

  • Garage and cellar.

  • Asking price – 530 000 euros.

 

This is a luxury apartment in a lovely block of the highest standing with beautiful gardens, and a swimming pool and tennis courts. It is in the hills above Cannes overlooking the Golfe de Juan

 

 

Apartment in Croix des Gardes.

  • Beautiful panoramic sea views.

  • Lovely pool and gardens.

  • Quality – immaculate fixtures, fittings and finishes.

  • Four bedrooms, four bathrooms.

  • Garage and cellar.

  • Asking price – 1 750 000 euros.

 

 

Les Mirandoles.

 

  • Rooftop / penthouse apatrtment.

  • Even more beautiful panoramic sea views.

  • Lovely pool, gardens and tennis courts.

  • Quality and immaculate f. & f. & finishes.

  • Three / four bedrooms and bathrooms.

  • Garage and cellar.

  • Rooftop garden with built in barbecue.

  • Asking price – 2 200 000 euros

Coup de Couer in Mougins.

  • Wonderful character villa.
  • Spectacular sea view see the photo at the top of the letter !
  • Pool and garages.
  • Lovely gardens.
  • Asking price – 3 700 000 euros.

GOLF COURSE VILLAS & APARTMENTS.

  • Three beautiful villas.
  • Minimum of four en-suite bedrooms.
  • All on one of the most prestigious courses in France.
  • Life membership for family members included (friends can be accomodated).
  • All have their own pools in addition to the club facilities.
  • Club facilities include top class restaurants, as well as all sporting options.
  • Prices range from 3.0m to 3.9m euros.
  • Views are spectacular across the course, and of hills and mountain villages in the distance.
  • Security, lock-up-and-go.

Apartments also available – with membership.

Please enquire and I will get back to you with details.

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