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Phillip in Nice

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About Phillip in Nice

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  1. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    I can't answer for the other cities but Nice is in an identical state to last year. Far too many buyers and not enough sellers. Property developers are still asking extremely high prices, and not dropping them as they are actually selling them for those prices. Yields are very high, my clients are getting mortgage rates around 1.4%, and all rental properties are packed every summer, so I can't see the situation changing in the near future. It's really tough finding my clients good deals, I have to put in a lot of work for each and every client. Phillip.
  2. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    The market in Nice is red hot for property under €300k. My advice is first don't base your idea of prices on what you see on web sites. The stuff you see online is often over-priced property that is failing to sell. I am showing apartments this afternoon of which 4/5 came onto the market in the past 3-4 days. In two weeks time I expect most of those to be sold. My comments above made in February still apply. You can still find good deals but (a) you need to have your finance sorted and be ready to make an offer within 24 hours of viewing, and (b) some luck in your timing. Don't try and book up viewings of properties until less than a week before your arrival. Driving past the airport last week and the new tram line is already up and running, but just doing test runs. The first section opens end of next month. Phillip.
  3. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    Various private subsidies, usually along the lines of writing off a percentage of purchase cost against income tax as long as you rent it out long-term below market rate for a minimum amount of time (last time 9 years), have cropped up regularly the past couple of decades (Pinel, Duflot, etc). Their generosity varies over time, depending on the profligacy of the current government and the perceived acuteness of the housing shortage. The government wants to reduce housing benefits, but will be hit by the shortfall next year by cancelling "taxe habitation" (a secondary council tax, equivalent of the English Poll Tax). Macron proposed reducing nationwide rents by €5/month but this has been ridiculed by both landlord and tenant associations. Macron will be forced to raise money from somewhere but it remains to be seen if he will try and squeeze home owners. Nothing realistic I've seen on the horizon yet but this could change next year. Who knows. So far so good though. Phillip.
  4. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    Capital growth in Paris has been high compared to the rest of France. The average price is now €9,000/m², twice that of Nice. I don't know Paris well enough to understand the factors why. The Mayor of Paris has declared war on AirBnb, which eliminates higher yield holiday rentals. If you want capital growth, I hear Spain is good at the moment. Looking at that chart, it makes London look a bad buy. However Berlin suffers from rent control, and Italy and Portugal are still economic basket cases. Shame it doesn't show eastern European countries. Poland is supposed to be strong, and I see Czech and Estonian prices went up 10% recently. Phillip.
  5. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    If you want a house with a pool, be easy distance to the beach, and if you are on a budget then Nice is not really the best place. You can get a brand new villa twice the size with pool within 10-15min drive of the beach for less in the south of Spain. However, the lifestyles are not comparable. It is not just the sunshine, but the culture and history where France meets Italy is quite unique. Some expats that come and only go to the local English pub get bored after a few years, complain there is nothing to do, and then leave. Those that keep their eyes open stay because they love it. For instance, this afternoon the main conference centre of Nice is open to all the wine producers of France. There are hundreds of stands with thousands of wines and champagnes to sample. You pay €6 to get in, and after that you can sample unlimited wines. Even ones costing hundreds of euros per bottle. The owners of the vineyards are there to explain how each is made, and the difference in taste between each year. It's an incredible experience. The beauty of the city is that everything is within walking distance. You can walk the width of the centre, from Boulevard Gambetta to the Old Town, in around 15 minutes. Public transport, just €1 for unlimited distance, is a plus but I rarely use it unless in a hurry. You do not need to convince anybody else that Nice is the place to be. There are hundreds of cities, many of them fabulous in their own unique way. Much like the aforementioned wines, each has its own unique blend. You have found the blend that is right for you. Phillip.
  6. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    I would agree that the villa market is struggling compared to the apartment market, which is quite robust in Nice. The % of foreign owners in Nice is probably less than 1% overall but quite high in the Old Town and Carré d'Or. Yields are so high that local shop owners are snapping up properties to put on AirBnb, so the percentage of foreign owned secondary residences might even be going down. Property prices have been relatively stagnant here the past few years. Creeping up in the centre and down in the north and west. I'd expect a few % rise per year, for a number of factors I think I mentioned earlier. There is no way you will get monthly charges of €400-500/month in Nice. Half that at most. As regards sea view, yes it can be 2x. The Promenade can easily by €10,000/m2. Most clients that view on the Prom end up buying a few blocks back for half the price. Phillip.
  7. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    Millionaires tend to go to the US and Canada not just for the lifestyle but also because it has a better business eco-system. The millionaires with houses in France will be second homes, so won't be included in this figure. Now is not a bad time to buy. Properties in the €5M-€25M range have already dropped in price on the French Riviera as the Russian have disappeared. However if Fillon gets elected he has said he will abolish wealth tax, which will give prices a boost again. Before his scandal he was a shoe-in, but now he is looking 50/50 with Macron. As for making prices drop, it will have zero impact on the macroscopic level. The luxury villa market lives in its own little bubble. Phillip.
  8. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    I would book now. After the attack in Nice last summer, people quickly dropped their prices on AirBnb as much as 20% just in case it had an adverse affect on rentals. In fact, rentals packed out as usual the rest of 2016. As people start to see rentals fill up as usual in 2017 they will start putting their prices back up. If you are going to a different country every year, then buying a holiday home somewhere does not make much sense. You are better off waiting until you find a place you really love. You can find bargain properties everywhere, but finding that special place abroad that is yours and you can do what you want with is amazing. Don't rush into it until you've at least found the right city. Phillip.
  9. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    I would use the word steady rather than buoyant when it comes to the Cote d'Azur. The British have been buying in Nice for a couple of hundred years, long before the EU existed. Brexit has made surprisingly little difference. In my recent experience, priority goes (a) exchange rate (b) interest rate (c) Brexit, with (c) quite far behind. As I said previously, people are using (b) to hedge against (a). The problem is that AirBnb has been so successful it is now quite hard to find a good pied-a-terre for sale here. The expat market is less significant than Spain. Few of my clients buy to directly retire here. Most that want to move here are buying with a view to moving in 5-10 years time. In the mean time they will use it for extended holidays, and rent it out during the summer to pay for costs/mortgage. Most expats here are not too worried, including myself. We know there are 1/4M French living in England, it is unlikely the French would do something mutually destructive. Worst comes to worst, after 5 years you get a French passport. You can hold French and British dual-nationality. Phillip.
  10. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    Coming from Monaco to Nice, it is a bit more spread out. Places open a lot more often in Nice and sometimes it's hard to keep up. Apoteka was always full of people from MC but that closed down. Likely places might be the rooftop terrace of the Hussard, or Merkatos. Probably Coulis later. The young crowd like the grungier bars. In the summer it may be Nice for bars but the clubbing is in Cannes. Baoli is a popular one. Phillip.
  11. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    Yes the buildings a few blocks back are a lot cheaper. Of course price varies according to which floor, type of view, etc. On the good part of the Promenade, between Old Town and Boulevard Gambetta, with sea view prices are up to €10,000/m². If you go a few blocks back to the Carre d'Or or Quartier Musiciens you can get something of a similar size and finishing for €5,500/m². One reason my clients switch from the Promenade is that the building is either a bourgeois, in which case you have no terrace hence losing one of the main draws of the Prom, or it is a 70's type building where the apartments are long and narrow ("corridor like") which means a nice picture-frame view at the front, but the only other windows at the rear which look onto a less desirable street. To get a nice property on the best part of the Promenade I would recommend having a budget of around €1M. The alternative is to buy on the airport half of the Promenade, for instance near the Radisson Hotel. Here the price drops to €5000-6000/m² with full sea view. They are currently building a new tram line from the airport to the city centre directly behind the Promenade. This will give a boost to the prices, the reasons being (a) the tram will be quieter than the buses it is replacing, (b) the downtrodden Californie will be transformed into a leafy tree-lined boulevard, and (c) buses stop around 8pm making it inconvenient to live there without a car or having to take a taxi, but the new tram line will mean easy access to the city centre all night long. Villefranche is sandwiched between the middle ("Moyenne") and lower ("Basse") Corniches before they start to diverge. If you are on the border with Mont Boron you can even walk into Nice, though it is a sporty walk back up. It is a 10 minute drive or bus ride from Nice. However my friends that live there do feel a little isolated over winter months. In Monaco, there is a difference between Monagasque (true locals) and Monaco residents (who are renting residency). Locals tend to hang out after work in the pubs, such as Gerhards in Fontvieille or McCarthys above the Grimaldi forum. The younger residents will go for an apero at a place like Before or Slammers in the main port, and the elder residents in somewhere like the American Bar in the Hotel de Paris. As the evening goes on, the busiest place is probably Sass cafe. Everybody from millionaires to high class escorts pack the place out every night. Zelos, opposite, used to be very popular but the owners converted it to a restaurant and now it's pretty dead. When Jimmyz used to be by Lavotto absolutely everybody used to head there after 1am. Now it has moved to the Casino square it has died off a lot and late night is split between places like Jimmyz, Bhudda Bar, or Twiga. By La Madeleine, which is generally used to refer to the region going up the hill and I would not class as a high price range, I presume you mean the lower end touching the Promenade. We generally refer to this area as "Magnan". See my comments at the top. I think for €500k, and if you are prepared to do some refreshing, then yes it will be possible to get a nice two bedroom apartment with a terrace with sea view on a reasonable floor (3+) for your budget. Phillip.
  12. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    Hi Felix, bargains are passing by constantly. I see them all the time. Securing one is harder. You cannot say, "That looks interesting, I will come over to view it next month". The good ones go in days. I've been doing this for many years in Nice and I can tell you the best way is simply to book a flight, get a really good broker, and spend a day viewing the best of what is on the market at that time. If you don't find the one you want, book another flight at least 6 weeks later so you get a fresh set of viewings. There is an element of luck involved, but you would not believe how many of my clients get lucky. I sold a number recently less than an hour of it coming onto the market. The worst thing somebody can do is say to an agent "I will come over, but only when you can send me a selection of properties I find interesting." In Nice, if walking distance is 15 minutes then anywhere in Carre d'Or / Musicians Quarter is near the train station. Within 20 minutes you have Carre d'Argent and Old Town, but there you have the tram line direct also. However if you want sea view then you are restricted to the Promenade des Anglais (and the Port but that is not near the train station), which is expensive and, if you are not on a high floor, noisy. Most of my clients that start off wanting sea view end up going for a much nicer building but a few blocks back. Keep an open mind as it is a big trade-off you get. Blocks with pools are restricted to the hills such as Fabron, Mont Boron and Cimiez, but you need a car to get into town if you live up there. If you want a sea view and easy train access then Villefranche may be better for you than Nice, however as I said above it is very quiet outside of peak season. It is very strange how Antibes is so inaccessible to the motorway. It is always a dilemma as to whether to take the A8 or go along the sea front. Both equally tortuous routes. I wouldn't really recommend any of the villages along the Corniche as public transport is poor, the buses are so full over summer often you have to wait for a few to go past before you can get on, and there is not so much to do. Only buy there if you fall in love with one of the villages so much you cannot imagine spending your time anywhere else. Beausoleil is a good investment area to let out to locals that work in Monaco, but not so good for a holiday home. Monaco is fun but you will find, in the long run, quite limited. Also a little pricey. There are reasonably priced places hidden away there, but where's the fun in that if you are in MC! The bars in Nice are full of Monaco residents for a reason... after a while people in Monaco feel like they are in a goldfish bowl. Feel free to follow up with any more questions about either Nice or the surrounding areas. Phillip.
  13. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    If you want to get it into a lower price range, pick an old place to renovate with a balcony rather than a terrace, and switch the other side of Avenue Jean Medecin to the Carre d'Argent. Between roads Bvd Dubouchage and Rue Gioffredo. You can get one that is liveable (with '70s style bathroom and kitchen, but usable) and around 90-100m² for around €350k-€400k. Then renovate as funds become available. It's a great area, 5 minutes walk to everything. Less expensive than the Negresco area but more convenient. And quieter streets. If you buy at market rate your target property and want to rent out long-term then no you won't be able to cover your mortgage at 100%, the yield is too low. At 85% mortgage maybe. If you bought a €400,000 apartment, and took out a 85% mortgage (€340,000) over 25 years at 1.1% interest then your monthly repayments would be around €1,300 which you should be able to rent out for long-term for. You will need €93,000 cash however (to also cover Notaire fees of €31,000). Of course if you are lucky in your timing and get a great deal then it will be possible. You may prefer to get a couple of smaller properties in Nice and let them out as holiday rentals. You will get a larger yield, not just covering the mortgage but an actual income, and a place to stay as much as you want for free until retirement. You will still get the full benefits of capital appreciation when all the major works are finished. When you retire you can sell one to unlock the capital for living and then renovation work of your target purchase, and then live in the second rent free until you find your dream home at a great price. Then sell the second and buy the dream home. It is just a suggestion, though maybe not for you if you cannot bear to spend your holidays in a smaller apartment until then. Phillip.
  14. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    Alba, I would say Nice. Villefranche is very pretty, but mostly closed off season. Antibes has a nice port but is over-run with yacht workers. Cannes I find too small, there is just the Croisette and rue d'Antibes that are interesting for me. But this is just my personal opinion. I like Nice because it's a living working city, very cosmopolitan, as well as a great holiday destination. If you want a quiet village lifestyle then Villefranche is nice. If you buy now expect quite a lot of disruption over the next year, up to 2018. There is massive upheaval going on. In a couple of years you won't recognise the place. Billions are being spent. There is a new underground system, part of the new tram line to the airport. New business parks, conference centres, train station upgrades, etc. At the airport will be a new transport hub linking airport, bus, train and tram. Check out the Nice town hall web site, and click on "Nice 2020" to see ongoing projects. I live next to one of the new underground stations and the road layout at the end of my street changes practically every week. Epic works going on. Though some expats seem more excited that we are going to get a new Ikea :-) There is no graffiti any more. The right wing mayor has cleaned the whole town up, put police patrols everywhere, and installed cameras all over the city. It's become very safe compared to when I arrived in 2000. However there is still dog poo in the streets. They wash every single street in the early hours of the morning every day, and then the dog owners go out 7-8am to walk their dogs and they crap everywhere (the dogs, not the owners). Very annoying. Phillip.
  15. Phillip in Nice

    French Property

    Alba, an apartment with what you are looking for with a balcony will be around €500k. With a terrace it will be around €650k. Of course it also depends on how much work you want to do. And whether a 1st floor terrace is acceptable. A parking or garage will be sold separately, expect it to be €40-50k. dugsbody, I have lived here for 16 years (since 2000). I have friends that live all over the world, and I enjoy travelling, but it's difficult seeing myself moving anywhere else. Feel free to ask any Nice lifestyle questions. Phillip.
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