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Phillip in Nice

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Everything posted by Phillip in Nice

  1. It's not good for us in Nice either, with hundreds of agencies chasing a handful of properties. It's good if you want to sell though! My sellers are very happy with the prices they are getting. AirBnb is a good way to experience an area, as you only need a couple of days to really get a feel for it. The quarters of Nice are quite small and don't need much time to get to grips with. Though I would have to disagree with AirBnb not being profitable enough. It is highly lucrative, hence the dearth of properties in the prime areas. A property should make around 8-10% gross yield with revenues, but if you don't want any headaches then there are property management companies that do all the AirBnb for you in exchange for about 25-30% of your revenue. A "hands off" net yield should be around 4-5% after management charges, taxes, property charges, etc. If you don't mind using your own apartment off-peak then you can use it frequently November-February without really touching your bottom line. The government is trying to clamp down. For instance in Nice, from 2019 you can only have one AirBnb without having to go into a "compensation scheme". Before last year it was three and really only Paris was implementing it. The compensation scheme is that for every extra holiday rental apartment, you have to convert an office to an apartment of identical size. However the Nice municipality are not enforcing any of the rules and last time I checked less than 1/3 of holiday apartments had registered with the Town Hall as legally required. The amount of extra tourists being pulled into Nice by the cheaper available accommodation outweighs the small amount of tax dodging by AirBnb hosts. Governments are always generous in a bull market but if it turns expect that blind eye to suddenly open. I wouldn't say anything is going to happen soon. Nice is undergoing mass expansion. They just closed down all the bus lanes in the city centre and are turning them into tree lined cycle lanes. It's happening outside my window so I can tell you they are moving *fast*. Sorry, I don't really know about Cannes. Phillip.
  2. Yes very cheeky by meilleursagents.com, the real government dataset is online here: https://app.dvf.etalab.gouv.fr/ It should be noted that the dataset is *net vendeur* so the actual sale price will be 5-6% more expensive as the buyer paid agency fees. I know this as I checked it against some of my own sales. I would say that people buying abroad, in my experience, are more fiscally conservative in their purchase. If my client has a budget of €500k then they generally have about that in cash. They then may borrow €300k as interest rates are so low freeing up that for other investments. If my client is buying a holiday home then I prefer to come in below budget, as it should be something to relax and enjoy rather than stress about. If it is an investment then you need to leave a margin in case of an unpredictable mini-crisis affecting the market. You don't want to stretch as much as a primary residence, where you do as it also maximises your capital gains over time. Houses or apartments? I would say €1m apartments fly off the shelf here, if they are top floor with a terrace or a > 120m² bourgeois. I would say a lot of the buyers are Parisiens, followed by foreigners. In terms of houses, plenty of locals have no problem affording €1m plus. However they are quite snobbish as to area. So between Mont Boron and Villefranche is popular, as is Gairaut to the north of Nice. As to your last question, I would say that it's shifted the opposite way, with both locals and foreigners cashing in on AirBnb at the moment. This is mainly the stretch between the Port and the Carre d'Or. I have had some younger local clients prefer to live somewhere smaller and buy an investment property in the Old Town rather than live somewhere a little more luxurious. This is anecdotal and may not reflect the market as a whole. Phillip.
  3. I wouldn't put too much trust in meilleursagents.com, except as the roughest guide. Certainly not to evaluate an individual property. The dataset is pretty light, it relies on their "partner agents" filling in their sales. The government has released recently for free a complete dataset of all sales, updated every 6 months. I don't think I'm allowed to post links here but you can Google and find it. Even the official sales prices are little help, in my opinion, as property in Nice isn't cookie cutter boxes like the UK and the US. Even in my street here prices can range €3,000/m² to €15,000/m². Remember the estate agent doesn't set the price here, the owner does, so it could be accurate or wildly over-priced. The only way you can really get a feel for the true price is boots on the ground, and spending the rest of the morning looking at all the competition. felix, you just need to jump on a plane. When I show property here, it's rare these days its the one I sell has actually made it onto the Internet. Pick an agent in the area you want, make it clear your criteria, that you are a cash buyer, and that you will go exclusively through that agent so he knows he can work for you as he will get his commission. Then fly over every 3 months or so and spend a weekend here. Phillip.
  4. Holiday rental and hotel prices dropped in Nice after the terror attack on the Promenade, as so many owners were worried people wouldn't want to come. I would estimate both dropped around 25%. Actually Nice was still packed. There were quite a few immediate cancellations but due to strict cancellation policies many owners got the full money from the no-show and instantly booked it again and doubled up! Prices quickly went back up to normal. It's not so much that prices have dropped, but with so many more on the market the range of prices as increased so you notice more low priced ones when you search. I have a small rental apartment and revenue has only increased year on year. There were 13.85m arrivals at Nice airport in 2018 compared to 13.3m in 2017 and 12.6m in 2016. With over half a million extra people arriving year on year, everything still gets booked solid each summer. It's not hard to get an 8-10% gross yield, but unless you are managing it yourself then once you take into account fees and taxes that drops to around 5% net. The lower part of Route de Bellet is definitely outskirts. Surrounding Nice are the hills of: Fabron to the west, Gairaut to the far north, Cimiez set against the city centre to the north east, and Mont Boron against the Port to the east. Bellet is on the back (north) end of Fabron. The advantages of Route de Bellet is that you can get a small 3 bedroom house with garden and nice open view of the countryside (maybe a slice of distant sea view) for the same price as a 2-bedroom apartment 50% smaller in the city centre. The disadvantages are that it is small twisty roads to access it, and a complete lack of public transport. The estate agent will tell you it's only 10 minutes drive to the city centre, but they don't have a problem overtaking a slow bus on a blind corner. It is not somewhere a non-resident would normally buy. Phillip.
  5. Things are evolving slowly in Nice. It is still the case there are far more buyers than sellers. However the rush for small AirBnb rentals has slowed. The property developers that hiked up the prices are finding the remaining stock is sticking. You can definitely try a more low-ball offer now. Because of the shortage of apartments, developers are desperate for anything to renovate so as a private buyer you will struggle to find a deal where you can add a lot of capital appreciation. As a rule of thumb, anything you can make €50k+ is snapped up. There are still plenty of run-down apartments that you can renovate to your own taste and still get a modest profit on when you later sell. Agents and the newspapers are talking about prices rising "up to 15%" next year once the new underground system launches end of this year. It is true there is a massive construction project around the airport, a lot of offices and hotels being built there, as well as new parks and tram stops all the way across the city. Crucially the main bus lanes through the city are being torn up and replaced with grass and cycle lanes. It is going to make a huge difference. However I would say this is an exaggeration. Prices in Nice have been rising very slowly, 1-2%, over the past 10 years, though more recently it's been around 5-6%. The truth is probably something lines of 6-7%. The only way I can see this being any higher is more properties in the key areas being released onto the market. The low volumes in the centre compared to on the outskirts makes the price rises seem less than they really are. Phillip.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Somebody mentioned Nice so I thought I would give a 2017 update. Disclaimer: I am a real estate agent there so feel free to take that perspective into account. Brexit has not had much of an effect so far. Everybody was braced for potential visa-type restrictions and the pound to plummet, but it turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. I personally do not know a single person that has left because of Brexit, or even put their place up for sale. Most foreign sellers are Italians, because of their poor economy and punishing taxes. British buyers are getting mortgage rates of up to under 1% at the moment here, my last client got 1.1%, so that is still pushing sales. A much bigger effect was the terrorist attack on the Promenade des Anglais. Not really on sales, as people that love Nice will buy there. It's not a cheap place and so not so much an impulse purchase. However buy-to-let owners immediately dropped their prices just in case. Rental bookings stayed as strong as ever, much to the surprise of many renters, but because so many people dropped the price everybody else had to. Yearly profits took around a 20%-25% hit on average. It's too early to tell if it will rebound back to 2015 levels. Price levels have been stagnant for the past few years. The central areas keep creeping up, areas further out such as north of the train station, have crept slightly down, but we are talking a couple of percent either way. A divide in the property market has appeared. Property that is over-priced and that you see on the web sites, which will sit there for a long time, and anything that is reasonable which gets snapped up immediately (often at asking price). People on AirBnb are making so much money it's crazy. FrenchLondon posts some helpful hints but for Nice forget about auctions. I follow them here but never seen anything but dross. Any questions, please feel free to post them here. I am more than happy to share with the crowd. Phillip.
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