Where do buyers in the Cote d'Azur come from?
Source: Knight Frank Residential Research
Market overview for property in the south of France
The South of France remains ever popular among international buyers and the steady stream of lifestyle buyers, including the return of UK-based purchasers, means the frequency of sales - albeit at reduced prices - is likely to increase.
Poor weather coupled with the unwelcome emergence of the ash cloud served to suppress demand during the spring and early summer in 2010. The ability to travel across continents without flying saw demand come from more Eurozone buyers than has been typical of the last five years. The autumn market however, saw a welcome return of UK-based buyers, fuelled in part by the partial strengthening of the pound.
For these reasons, properties across the Cote d'Azur continue to sell, and where better-informed vendors have lowered their asking prices in line with market sentiment, they have sold in reasonable timeframes.
Prices have fallen by between 10% and 20% in most sub-markets of the region.
For several years, core market sales were characterised within the E3-E5m price range. But many active buyers are now looking for smaller villas, and properties priced between E1m and E2.5m now form the largest single sector of demand. As a consequence, there is a lack of well-priced, quality villas available to buy in this price range.
In overview, of the several sub-markets that make up the Cote d'Azur, the most robust has been the St Tropez end of the coast. This is largely due to planning law prohibiting new development within 300m of the sea, significantly restricting the supply of new homes. A four or five-bedroom villa with sea views on the Gulf of St Tropez is likely to command between E2m and E10m. In the highly exclusive Les Parcs de St Tropez prices can reach considerably more.
Approximately 80km east of St Tropez, Cannes - host of the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival - retains its global appeal. A typical triplex apartment with sensational sea views in Juan-les-Pins, for example, is currently on the market with a guide price of E12.9m.
Set back from the coast the Arriere Pays (the back country areas behind Cannes and St Tropez), offers properties in quieter inland villages that benefit from relative tranquility while still being close to the cosmopolitan coastal locations.
These areas are consistently popular with British and northern European buyers, albeit for different reasons. The area behind St Tropez - which includes Grimaud - appeals because of its peaceful rural setting, while the area behind Cannes is popular as it offers a wider selection. A villa with five bedrooms in Saint Paul is likely to sell for around E3.5m.
Russian and CIS nationals continue to demonstrate strong interest in waterfront and sea-view properties, particularly in Cap Ferrat, Cap d'Antibes and Cap Martin. A five-bedroom villa on the west side of Cap Ferrat overlooking the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer could command upwards of E20m.
In nearby Provence, buyer registrations increased during 2010 for the Luberon (Gordes and Lourmarin) and St Remy de Provence. Transaction levels have remained healthy and we foresee this activity continuing in 2011, particularly with UK buyers.Riviera Realty is an associate of Knight Frank. The above is an extract from the Knight Frank Property Overview Report.