Posted by admin in Property Letters | March 4th 2008



Dear All,

It’s been a very busy winter (winter’s a joke down here – it’s the best kept secret) and it’s nearing time for us to get back to Cape Town for a spell with the African branch of our family. We still have Dads, our younger son, my sister and her family and numerous cousins, mostly in the Cape.

And then of course there’s the Two Oceans on Easter Saturday as usual!

We will be back again in April for the summer, but before we go I have a number of interesting properties to propose to those who are ready to consider investing. They can be viewed here.

How can you spend time (or live) in France?
Some of you are investors only, and others harbour an ambition to come here more, and even to live here. You certainly wouldn’t be alone in that as I would imagine that more people would like to live here than just about anywhere, and as I have said before “successful people flock here”. For those who have ambitions to spend time here one day, I came across a little piece the other day that might help to validate your desires…if that were necessary:

“France is acknowledged as a pretty healthy place to live (coming in just behind Switzerland and Sweden in The Economist’s Life Expectancy tables for Europe), with the population reaching an average age of 80 years. Many analysts claim it’s the lifestyle: healthy eating, easy access to outdoor activities and importantly, good state healthcare.”

I don’t think many would argue that if that statement applies to France, then it would apply even more so to the South of France.

Here are the answers to our “most frequently asked question”
(especially by Southern Africans.)

  1. If one member of your family has an E.U. passport or citizenship, there is no problem getting a “Titre de Sejour” which is automatic rights to live and work here. It takes a morning or less.
  2. If you do not have European citizenship, and neither of you (assuming a couple) can get the right to it, then owning property only allows you to apply for a long-duration Schengen visa. This can certainly take the pain out of constant visa applications, but doesn’t give you the right to work. What you can do is conduct your own business based outside the country as many here do (particularly in I.T.), but you can’t get “a job”.

Looking a little beyond the obvious:
2008 could prove to be a fantastic year for those who want to invest in overseas property and are prepared to look just a little past the obvious.

For many both in the UK and in the rest of the English speaking world, investing in the UK and Ireland is no longer an attractive option – for good reason.

Last week we flew to London for a couple of days and I was intrigued by an article in the Easyjet In-flight Magazine under the title “Slicker Cities”.

They ranked Marseilles as Europe’s “Ultimate City”. Would you have believed that? It is according to them “top-of–the-game in terms of excellent employment opportunities, good salary, charming property and a great lifestyle”…Wow!

London, Copenhagen, Paris, Geneva, Vienna – too expensive.
Many other major cities – too congested, too overcrowded, and / or too polluted.
“There’s a lot to be said for provincial cities such as Lyon, Newcastle, Cannes or Gijon (in Spain). Salaries are often comparable, housing and lifestyle costs are lower, transport connections are as good as those of major destinations but less crowded, urban sprawl is less dominant and there are beautiful stretches of easily accessible coast or countryside nearby.”

But the overall winner: MARSEILLES!

“The historic port may offer the best of all worlds. A programme of regeneration is revitalising the city, which is only an hour from the glamorous Cote d’Azur. Air, road and rail links are excellent, property is still affordable and everyday costs such as food and utilities in France compare favourably with other countries. Residents have access to great beaches, and jobs and salaries have been boosted by the presence of large employers such as heavy industry (petrochemicals and steel), the busy shipping port, new telecommunications services and a scientific research centre 40 minutes away.”

Avignon is 98 km away. Montpellier 160 km. Lovely Aix en Provence only 30 km, Toulon 70 km, Arles 90 km, Nimes 120 km, and Cannes 160 km.

What position!
But we don’t have an agency in Marseilles – YET.

Cannes remains an attractive alternative to Marseilles and in many ways more so, being smaller and more manageable, and of course having as it does the advantages that come with year round conferences, and the “sexiness” and aura that surround the name. Anyway, it’s close enough for us to bathe a little in Marseilles’ reflected glory. Thank you Easyjet and Marseilles!

Why do people buy abroad?

There are obviously as many reasons as there are buyers, but here are some common reasons:

  1. Investment & lifestyle: Some people buy for pure investment and are concerned with a high return, and others are more concerned with the home they wish to create and live in – and the lifestyle that their investment offers them. Most of our investors in Cannes however are interested in a healthy combination of the two.
  2. Most buyers here consider that their money is better placed in terms of medium term capital growth invested in property than in savings in the bank.
  3. The potential to increase income through renting is attractive to many.
  4. It is safer than shares! People are choosing something tangible – something that actually exists, and property is the number one tangible asset. When property markets perform poorly it is the least desirable properties that take the biggest hit. Similarly when the market rallies these properties are the last to benefit from the increases. For this reason we advise people to go for the “best quality in the best location” that they can afford. In this way they are sure to be in the best position no matter what.
  5. Investment abroad may be more lucrative than buying at home.
  6. It is far easier to buy abroad nowadays. Internet and broadband, teleconferencing, frequent and affordable flights, and of course the advent of the Euro which make it so much easier to move money around.
  7. Finally, it’s fun. Many people are enjoying the process, and as they say – “don’t be surprised if you get a taste for it”.

Most recent lending rates (quoted last week):

Fixed Rate:
Term: 20 years.
Rate: 5.05% Fixed for the entire life of the mortgage.
Monthly repayments.

Capped Rate at Maximum +2%:
Term: 20 years.
Rate: 4.45% Fixed for the first year then variable. The rate can never be over 6.45%.
Monthly repayments.

Notes: The rate varies in direct proportion to the Euribor (ECB) rate.
Mortgages are available over terms from 6 to 25 years.
This is the highest the rate has been in the 6 years we have been here.
The lowest we saw was two years ago when it bottomed out at 2.75%.

French Property Market – Some stats:

The appeal of French property continues:

In 2005 the non-resident market accounted for €6 billion in sales.
In 2006 it accounted for €7 billion in sales.

The principal investors in 2006 were:

Britain 43.1%
Benelux countries 13.5%
Italy 12%
Ireland 7.3%
Spain & Portugal 5.3%
Switzerland 3.7%
Germany 2.6%
USA 2.1%

And where did the Brits buy?

Top of the league were:
The Cote d’Azur, the Dordogne, and Haute Savoie at about 6% of the market each.
Following them were the Cotes d’Armor and Morbihan at 5% and 4% respectively, both these areas being just across the pond, in Brittany.

Management and Administration:

Based on frequent questions, it seems not as well know as it should be that Azur Accom (in the form of Vicky primarily) offers a comprehensive package of management and administration to those who want it. She looks after the payment of taxes, rates, levies, water and electricity, and manages banking issues such as timely deposits, and compiles monthly bank reconciliations for the owner. She also takes care of issues concerning the co-propriety and the administration of the building, insurance and claims, and arranges for repairs, maintenance and upkeep as required. She prepares the annual tax returns, and generally keeps a watchful eye on the many properties of “her” precious owners.

Last but not least – the weather:

The Cote d’Azur is renowned for having one of the most pleasing climates in the world, a micro-climate in Europe with 300 days of sunshine, and little wind.














Cote d’Azur



























13 – 19º


Please feel free to browse our latest properties on offer here.
With kindest regards,


Leave a Comment