PROPERTY LETTER 17th OCTOBER 2007

Posted by admin in Property Investment, Property Letters | October 17th 2007

Dear All,

Usually I include photos, and convert this to a PDF file which is more professional. However we are preparing to go to Amsterdam for the marathon this weekend and we have people visiting so I’m going to send the Property Letter as it is this time. I’d prefer it gets out sooner rather than later.

Looking for an argument?

I’ve enjoyed the controversial statements that Sky News has been putting out in the last few months, followed in each case by the question « Looking for an argument? » Then they invite you to go to their website to express your own views on:

Politics is a waste of time.

Size zero is beautiful.

Alcohol is worse than cannabis.

Global warming is a lie.

Abortion is murder.

Football is corrupt.

….and other outrageous statements!

Vicky and I were cycling along the coast a few days ago and I had a thought that could also lead to a good argument….

« The French Riviera is the best place in the world to live. »

I reckon I would have a lot of people arguing my corner, because so many of the worlds most successful people have invested here, and choose to live or spend time here irrespective of their backgrounds in business, art, sport, science or politics. That’s been true for centuries. To me that says that property investment here should be pretty good too.

Riviera property – some generalisations….

It is true that there is talk about the end of a ten year property boom following the credit crunch in America. Credit may be more difficult to access for a while. Prices may soften, and people who have recently bought with a view to a quick turnover may be disappointed in the short term, in some markets. But with the well clichéd three ground rules of property investment being « Location, Location and Location » I’m not too concerned about the market in this corner of the Euro-zone.

There are some stretches along the Mediterranean where development has been uncontrolled and haphazard, leading to an oversupply of poor quality holiday accommodation – I don’t like to sound too damning, but we’ve been there and seen it – and vast tracts of it are horrible. Here on the Cote de Azur by contrast there is almost no new land being released for development, so there is an undersupply, and restrictions are tight and planning permission, even for extensions, are a bureaucratic nightmare.

What’s good about that?

The market is firm, and people who come here are anyway looking for something beyond the ordinary. Best of all, I can walk out of my front door in our pretty suburb of Cannes and KNOW THAT WE ARE IN FRANCE. There is local colour oozing from every pore and it’s going to stay that way. I can drive for 15 minutes in any one of many directions and find myself in a rural heartland of France so charming and rich in the things that are synonymous with “quality of life” that discerning people flock here, and yes, they want to protect it too.

It’s clever and it’s intriguing, and difficult to explain, that a set of self-regulatory conditions (and many contradictions) have evolved over the centuries in this part of France. For example:

  • Nothing is cheap (except sunshine), and you wouldn’t want it the other way.

  • The bureaucracy is a hurdle, but at the end of the day everyone is protected.

  • Regulations are many and carefully applied, but nowhere have I ever felt so free.

News snippets.

Starting with property….A report from the “Observatoire Immobilier” or “Property Watchdog” of the Cote d’Azur reporting on the first six months of 2007 notes that prices are still on the increase. Buyers were paying 5% more on new builds and 10% more on existing buildings compared to the same period last year, averaged across the region. The main reason quoted is the lack of suitable offers on the market leading to a shortage of housing. Some of the statistics issued by the watchdog are:

  • The release of new-builds in the six months was nearly 30% down on 2006.

  • At the start of July the number of properties for sale was down by 200 since January.

  • The average price of a property was 5 575€ per sq.m. and less than 4% of them sold for less than 3 500€ per sq.m.

  • Compared to 2006 the price of studios were up by 7%, one bedrooms by 3%, two bedrooms by 4%, and 16% for four or more bedrooms, making these the most sought after of all in the Cote d’Azur’s property portfolio.

Good news for the Irish….Undeniably, one of the many engines driving the most recent explosion of interest in this sunshine belt is cheap and easy air travel.

On 17th November Ryanair starts direct daily flights between Nice and Dublin, putting an end to Aer Lingus’ monopoly (and their unsociably early in the morning flights!)

One for the ecologically-minded….Just a few kilometres east of Antibes is “Marineland” and anyone who dismisses it as “just another theme park” should think again. It is the largest marine park in Europe with over 4 000 specimens, most of them born on site. Its reputation for research and breeding of rare species is world renowned, and it is the only park in the world to have a successful breeding programme of the Grey Shark, and the only one outside of the U.S.A. and Canada to successfully breed whales. Given that many animals block their reproductive cycles if they feel under threat or stress, this record is very important.

Useful Indices.

Interest rate index:

(Date)

  • 3 Month euribor : 4.655%

  • 12 month euribor : 4.661%

Exchange rates:

(Date)

  • 1 = ₤0.6974

  • 1 = €1.4340

  • 1 = $1.4218

With kind regards,

Guy.

Some Properties to Consider:

  • There are quite a number of very interesting properties available so I am going to be more concise than usual. I am also going to group them in ASCENDING PRICE ORDER to make it easier to follow.

  • PLEASE don’t hesitate to get back to me with queries.

  • I will send out fuller descriptions and photos on a “by request” basis – because otherwise this letter will be far too long.

  • Don’t forget – most of the asking prices quoted are just that. Most sellers will consider offers.

Please also remember that this is a selection from hundreds of properties, and we have only included those that we consider to have some merit for the investor.

Le Suquet.

In the old part of Cannes, overlooking a village square with restaurants and a school, and just a few minutes down Rue St. Antoine to the Old Port and Palais des Festivals is this very small one bedroom apartment. The position is great for rentals, as it will rent easily to conference delegates. However, it has been part-renovated and still needs some work done. The bedroom needs the cupboard replaced. The kitchen is new but needs some work to complete it. The shower and toilet are new and complete.

  • Small one bedroom apartment.

  • 30 sq.m. living space.

  • 1st floor of 2.

  • Aspect – north and west.

  • Asking price – 179 000€.

Palm Beach / Port Canto.

Port Canto is the harbour at the Cannes end of Palm Beach. The apartment block is of highest quality, and just half a block from La Croisette. Views are of lovely gardens and La Croisette. The apartment is situated on the quietest side of the building, and is in need of refurbishment.

  • Studio apartment.

  • 31 sq.m. living space.

  • 1st floor of 6.

  • Large deep balcony.

  • Aspect – south.

  • Cellar in the basement.

  • Asking price – 195 000€.

Village Sablons.

The charming little shopping centre in Palm Beach is called Village Sablons. This apartment is on the first floor of an old building and is entirely and beautifully renovated and furnished. It is ready to rent.

  • Small one bedroom apartment.

  • 35 / 38 sq.m. living space.

  • Small balcony at front and small closed in balcony at back.

  • Aspect – east and west.

  • Fully furnished.

  • Asking price – 260 000€.

Marachal Juan.

Just a hundred meters from the Rue d’Antibes and the centre of town – excellent rental property with high quality finishes and fully furnished. It is on the second and top floor of a small building. Ready to go.

  • One bedroom apartment – spacious living.

  • 45 sq.m. living space with a large entrance hall and annex.

  • The entire 2nd floor of 2.

  • Aspect – north and south.

  • View – over gardens.

  • Air conditioned and double glazed.

  • Fully furnished.

  • Asking price – 275 000€.

Lacour.

Duplex apartment on 1st and 2nd floors of a good block in the suburb of Cannes just behind the Hotel Martinez. We have quite a number of apartments in this area and whereas they are not as easy to rent for congresses as the apartments in town, they are nowhere near the price. They do well on medium term rentals. This apartment needs a renovation because it is painted in very bright colours and they are unlikely to please anyone other than the past occupant. I think it would be advisable to add a second (upstairs) toilet too, and redo the kitchen. This is an apartment that one can add value to by doing a good renovation. (The price is very attractive)

  • Two bedroom apartment.

  • Good 12 sq.m. wrap-around terrace.

  • 65 sq.m. of living space.

  • 1st & 2nd floors of 8.

  • Aspect – south and west.

  • Outside collective parking.

  • Asking price – 325 000€

Alexandre III.

A rather charming little building, with the ground floor making up one apartment. It is entirely renovated, spacious and light. It has a lovely patio and 160 sq.m. of garden. A lot can be done with this property, but it is just a little too far out of Cannes on the main route Alexandre III for reliable conference rental income. It would make a lovely holiday home (5 minutes walk to the beaches) and a good medium to long term rental property. It is noisy at certain times being close to Alexandre III, but it is also very effectively double glazed against the noise. I wouldn’t include it if I didn’t think it could be perfect for someone out there.

  • One bedroom apartment.

  • 16 sq.m. of terrace.

  • 161 sq.m. of garden with trees and hedge.

  • Ground floor of 3.

  • Aspect – south.

  • Double glazed and air conditioned.

  • Asking price – 335 000€.

Tristan Bernard.

Here we have a deceased estate – an apartment for total renovation into a two bedroom and two bathroom apartment in a fabulous position near Port Canto, just a block from La Croisette, and with a huge wrap-around balcony with views of La Croisette and the port. This is an important opportunity to add value. We also believe we can negotiate a better price.

  • Two bedroom and two bathroom apartment (after works).

  • 63.24 sq.m. living space before works.

  • 1st floor.

  • Large wrap around balcony.

  • Aspect – east and north/west.

  • Asking price – 380 000€.

Rue d’Antibes.

A high quality residence of standing. It is on the Rue d’Antibes, and an excellent rental prospect. We already have an apartment in this block and it is a very good performer.

  • One bedroom, one bathroom apartment.

  • Living space – 55 sq.m.

  • 5th floor.

  • Aspect – north.

  • Spacious and useful closed in terrace.

  • Air conditioned and double glazed.

  • In perfect condition.

  • Asking price – 424 000€.

Louis Grosso.

This quality building is in the block which is on La Croisette, but in the second row. The apartment is “traversant” with balconies off the living room on the east side and off the bedrooms on the west side with views of La Croisette and the Port Canto between the handsome buildings which form the front row. The apartment has been completely renovated and is sold attractively furnished and ready to go – a very attractive and important opportunity.

  • Two bedroom apartment.

  • One bathroom with toilet, separate shower and toilet.

  • Balconies east and west.

  • 57 sq.m. living space.

  • 1st floor of 5.

  • Air-conditioned and double glazed.

  • Fully furnished.

  • Private parking.

  • Asking price – 450 000€.

Croix des Gardes.

Lovely apartment with a magnificent sea view in a small secure and quiet building. The apartment traverses the building, west and east. Croix des Gardes is the suburb just east of Cannes, ten minutes from the centre, and less than five minutes to the beaches of Plage du Midi.

  • One bedroom apartment.

  • Bathroom with toilet, and guest toilet.

  • Lovely 20 sq.m. terrace.

  • 60 sq.m. living space.

  • 1st floor of 2.

  • Aspect – east, south and west.

  • Double glazed, and pool.

  • Cellar and garage in the basement.

  • Asking price – 477 000€

Fragonard.

An apartment block at the head of Rue d’Antibes. It is a perfect rental location for central Cannes and has the advantage for guests of being extremely close to our rental offices. It is a landmark building.

  • Two bedroom apartment.

  • Two bathrooms.

  • Living space – 78 sq.m.

  • South facing balconies.

  • 5th floor of 7.

  • Air conditioned and double glazed.

  • Cellar in the basement and possibility of a garage.

Asking price – 490 000€.

Golfe Juan Hauteurs.

A lovely apartment in a very top quality residence with exceptional views across the gulf from Cannes to Cap d’Antibes. It is set high on the hillside, and the gardens below, the pool area, and tennis courts are magnificent. It would be possible to incorporate the kitchen into the living area and create a second bedroom.

  • One bedroom apartment.

  • Living space – 56 sq.m.

  • Terrace 15 sq.m. facing west.

  • Aspect – east and west.

  • 4th floor of 5.

  • Air conditioned, double glazed, pool, tennis.

  • Large cellar and garage in the basement.

  • Asking price – 530 000€.

Isola Bella.

In the gardens of a beautiful old villa in the centre of Cannes low apartment buildings were created around the villa and its beautiful gardens and pool. The complex is quiet, secure and residents have the exclusive use of the gardens and pool area. The villa itself now comprises four luxury apartments. We have a two bedroom and two bathroom apartment on the first floor of one of the new residences on offer. Lovely garden and pool views, and quiet. The living area is very spacious and the apartment has been fairly recently renovated, and is being sold furnished. However, there is the option of opening up the kitchen and hall to bring them into a greatly enhanced living area, and renovating the bathrooms while giving the apartment a freshening to raise it from a quality product to a luxury one.

  • Two bedroom, two bathroom apartment.

  • Large east and south facing balcony.

  • 78 sq.m. living space.

  • 1st floor of 2.

  • Fully furnished.

  • Air conditioned and double glazed.

  • Garage and cellar in the basement.

  • Asking price – 550 000€.

Palm Beach.

The top two floors of a very good building have been combined to make an unusual apartment with a huge expanses of terrace, views of Cannes and the sea both sides of the peninsula, and of course views over La Croisette. It is set just off La Croisette and only 200m from the beach if you walk east, or west. The apartment is one we know very well because it has been on and off the market for a while. We have shown it to people when it was priced at 720 000€. At the time the price was too high. The apartment needs a complete and imaginative renovation to extract maximum value from its wonderful potential, position, and exceptional terraces. It went off the market and into medium term rental more than once, and now it’s on the market again, but this time they seem determined to sell quickly and have priced accordingly.

  • Two / three bedroom two bathroom apartment on two levels (duplex).

  • 75 sq.m. of top floor terraces.

  • 85 sq.m. of living space.

  • 5th & 6th floor of 6.

  • Double glazed and air conditioned.

  • Asking price – 598 000€

Basse Californie.

“Coup de coeur.”

This is a charming little house. It’s in the suburb of Basse Californie, just outside of the centre of Cannes. A very easy walk down to the shopping centre and sea front. The villa is small and sits on its own piece of ground with a small pool, and enough well tended outside paved area for comfortable entertaining and outside living. The villa was built in 1930 and has been entirely renovated. The living area is downstairs, with an open plan kitchen and a guest toilet, and the bedrooms and bathroom and toilet are upstairs.

  • Small two bedroom villa.

  • Terrace and garden with pool.

  • 80 sq.m. living space.

  • Air conditioned and double glazed.

  • Asking price – 600 000€.

Rue Mace.

In the heart of Cannes and a stones throw from the Palais des Festivals. Perfect rental property. The apartment is on the 4th and top floor of a good building, and is entirely and well renovated and furnished.

  • Three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

  • 100 sq.m. living space.

  • 10 sq.m. of roof top terrace.

  • 4th floor of 4.

  • Aspect – east and south.

  • Air conditioned all rooms.

  • Fully furnished.

  • Asking price – 745 000€.

Golfe Juan.

This apartment block is 10 minutes out of Cannes and overlooks the beaches and port of Golfe Juan, with fabulous panoramic views from the Islands in the west to the Cap d’Antibes in the east. It is a small block with gardens and a pool, and access via a pedestrian walkway to the beaches, restaurants and port. The terrace and living rooms are huge and wonderfully spacious, but the two bedrooms which open onto their own small balconies at the back and overlook forested hillside, are quite small, as are the two en-suite showers. The kitchen is open plan, but lacks imagination – it needs to be replaced with something that does justice to the attractive living area, and view.

  • Two bedroom apartment.

  • Two toilets and two showers.

  • 84 sq.m. living space.

  • 40 sq.m. terrace.

  • 2nd floor of 3.

  • Aspect – panoramic east, south, and west.

  • Swimming pool.

  • Garage and cellar in the basement.

  • Asking price – 847 000€.

Villa sur le Toit”

That means “villa on the roof” and is a phrase commonly used to describe penthouse apartments, or apartments that have a rooftop to themselves. This one needs renovation as it has been inhabited by an elderly couple for many years (since 1970 when it was built I gather) and everything is dated. It is also too expensive, and the sellers have been told that they will need to expect to come down a bit. The view across the gulf Juan from Cannes to Antibes is breathtaking. The residence is one of very high standing with everything you can imagine – security, staff, swimming, tennis, access to beaches and restaurants, beautiful gardens, peace and quiet. It is situated up the hillside giving it the height – and emphasising the views.

  • Two bedroom, two bathroom apartment.

  • 85 sq.m. living space.

  • 92 sq.m. of rooftop terrace.

  • 3rd floor of 3.

  • Aspect – east, south, west.

  • Swimming pool, tennis, double glazed, air conditioned, etc.

  • Cellar and garage.

  • Asking price – 900 000€

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