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Update re my last couple of weekends walking in and around Antibes,Juan, Cannes etc.

All anecdotal,  but gives a flavour at the start of the buying season on my part of the Riviera. 

- Lots of "For Sale" boards on the seafront properties in Juan. Years since I've seen as many. I counted 8 on 1 block of flats alone. Owners bailing out possibly? 

- A friend recently bought a 2 bed townhouse in Valbonne. End of January.  Needs a little work, nothing major. Priced originally at 285k, he offered 210k. Within a week owner accepted 220k. Estate agent reckons offers of -25 to -30% are being considered by sellers.  The market is stagnant.  My friend reckons "collapse" is nearer the truth. 

- Went to my local Societe Generale branch for my annual visit.  The client manager mentioned that she expects house prices to fall sharply in next 18-24 months or sooner.  Mid to top of market is dead. Foreign investors thin on the ground. Older foreigners selling up and going home. Interest rates rising will be the key to next falls she reckoned.  But market is fragile so won't take big rises. 

- 2 unfinished houses still unsold , 500m from where I live.Both vacant since around 2012. Kite flying prices....but I'm going to contact them in next 2 months with an offer of -40% to see what the reaction is. 

Edited by Agentimmo
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13 hours ago, Agentimmo said:

- Lots of "For Sale" boards on the seafront properties in Juan. Years since I've seen as many. I counted 8 on 1 block of flats alone. Owners bailing out possibly? 

 Interest rates rising will be the key to next falls she reckoned.  

Juan les Pins apart from its hair dresser Kim & Roland is crap. It is a place where people start buying when better places along the Cote d'Azur are too expensive and the other way round nobody will buy there when those better places become affordable. Similar comparison may be made between France and Spain. France is better, but if too expensive, one goes to Spain.

Interest rates, yes, that is what it is all about, but ....
sadly I do not think those will go up much longer.

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Interesting. Complete opposite of Nice. Demand here is crazy with nearly nothing on the market. Both bottom end and top end. Prices went up 5% but growth is limited by lack of stock. Local developers are really exploiting this. Properties that would have been on for €250k a year ago are being snapped up for €300k. At the top end, even properties that were sitting on the market for years way over-priced have disappeared. There is practically nothing left for sale on the sea front.

If you want to buy in Nice then you are going to have to be patient to get any kind of deal. Plan several trips just in case. The authorities are pouring over a billion euros into the city so I would advise buying before 2020. Check out the town's web site for more info.

Phillip.

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10 hours ago, felix said:

Juan les Pins apart from its hair dresser Kim & Roland is crap. It is a place where people start buying when better places along the Cote d'Azur are too expensive and the other way round nobody will buy there when those better places become affordable. Similar comparison may be made between France and Spain. France is better, but if too expensive, one goes to Spain.

Interest rates, yes, that is what it is all about, but ....
sadly I do not think those will go up much longer.

Well the current IR can hardly go down much lower.  Have you seen the rates in France????

JLP is hardly Chicago or Detroit either!

Ok, I wouldn't live in the town centre as it's holiday central for 4 months of the year.....but plenty of decent properties within 1km of the beach.

As for Spain....let's just say they don't speak French. No comparison. Different markets totally.  

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9 hours ago, Phillip said:

Interesting. Complete opposite of Nice. Demand here is crazy with nearly nothing on the market. Both bottom end and top end. Prices went up 5% but growth is limited by lack of stock. Local developers are really exploiting this. Properties that would have been on for €250k a year ago are being snapped up for €300k. At the top end, even properties that were sitting on the market for years way over-priced have disappeared. There is practically nothing left for sale on the sea front.

If you want to buy in Nice then you are going to have to be patient to get any kind of deal. Plan several trips just in case. The authorities are pouring over a billion euros into the city so I would advise buying before 2020. Check out the town's web site for more info.

Phillip.

For beach front appartments and a few select quartiers,  possibly still being "snapped up" (love that estate agent speak ?).

I just did a quick query on seloger.fr for flats with 2+ beds in central nice under 350k.

There's about 2500 properties available on that one site which suggests quite a bit of stock and negotiating margin for the discerning buyer....?

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18 hours ago, Phillip said:

The authorities are pouring over a billion euros into the city so I would advise buying before 2020.

Convenience, convenience and convenience. After I read that the happy few from Monaco likes to go out in Nice, that said it all to me. Cote d'Azur way too boring. People like to live somewhere, where they got something to do. Nice at least working on it.

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felix, yes living in Monaco has been described to me by as a local as "living in a goldfish bowl". Personally I have a great time in Nice but it certainly cannot compare to London or Paris in terms of things to do. On the other hand I can fly to either for €30-40 so it is not so bad.

agentimmo, my last two cash clients of 2017 decided to get mortgages anyway and got rates of 1%. The last couple of clients this month got 1.15%. This will be a bit more if you want maximum mortgage over the longest number of years.

As regards stock, as an example I used to have around 400 apartments for sale in the Old Town, now it's around 40. A generic "Nice" search on seloger used to show over 20,000 properties and now it is just over 9,000. Take that selection on seloger and drill down to the central areas (Carre d'Or, Vieux Nice, Quartier Musiciens, etc) you will cut that number drastically. Then take a look at the adverts and you will see every developer's property repeated multiple times by various agencies. For instance, search right now for properties €275,000 in Nice with a balcony. Of the 30 results, 11 of them are the same apartment.

Phillip.

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  • 2 months later...

In two weeks time I will spend a week on the Cote d'Azur. I will do some very minor property viewing. Retirement still 10 years away, so in no hurry to buy anything. Is there anything new in particular I should pay attention to?

As mentioned earlier I have a feeling that Nice itself is picking up a lot more than areas around it. I kind of want to investigate this. Something I am totally not happy about, as my own interest goes to Nice itself too.

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12 hours ago, felix said:

In two weeks time I will spend a week on the Cote d'Azur. I will do some very minor property viewing. Retirement still 10 years away, so in no hurry to buy anything. Is there anything new in particular I should pay attention to?

As mentioned earlier I have a feeling that Nice itself is picking up a lot more than areas around it. I kind of want to investigate this. Something I am totally not happy about, as my own interest goes to Nice itself too.

Please report back. I have not been to Cote d'Azur this year and am starting to get nervous that property in that area is exceeding the rate of return elsewhere, meaning my dream is getting harder to obtain. I still consider buying a small apartment now as a hedge against future rises but then I find I've become a landlord ... ?

Which inland areas do you like? 

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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.

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  • 4 weeks later...

So I was in the Cote d'Azur last week. Looked around quite a bit. The one thing that did catch my eye was that at the Pointe Croisette on the Avenue de Lerins there are many units up for sale. Does anyone have a clue what might be behind t?

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  • 4 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

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.

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  • 5 months later...

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.

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Regarding Airbnb rentals there are so many choices now and rental prices dropped so much that hotels had to follow. Holidays have never been cheaper. This already makes buying something not so attractive.

I do not want to renovate myself. I love the idea that many others do this already. I understand I may end up paying more than I should, but this way without headaches I at least see what I get.

Do you consider the lower part of the Route de Bellet centre or outskirts?

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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.

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  • 2 months later...
On 28/03/2019 at 18:38, Phillip in Nice said:

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.

Thanks for your opinion. For quite some time I have my eyes on an object there. It initially got on the market for 355k. According to an estimate of www.meilleursagents.com giving it the most positive ratings, it got valued at 250k, so I told the agent that the seller is insane. It dropped quickly to 344k, a month later 324k, another month later 309k and now 299k. The agent contacted me asking me for an offer of 250k. 

In the mean time it is available on booking.com and in one of the reviews it says: "Large hole in bedroom ceiling with exposed pipes, wasn’t mentioned and no explanation.". I forwarded it to the agent and she then came back to me admitting that there was indeed a leakage. I did another less positie estimate on www.meilleursagents.com. It came up with a value now of less than 200k. 

My big question is:

Is the seller in a hurry, because there are issues with the apartment?

OR

Is this a clear sign (as according to my hair dresser in Juan les Pins) that France is in trouble? 

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17 hours ago, felix said:

Thanks for your opinion. For quite some time I have my eyes on an object there. It initially got on the market for 355k. According to an estimate of www.meilleursagents.com giving it the most positive ratings, it got valued at 250k, so I told the agent that the seller is insane. It dropped quickly to 344k, a month later 324k, another month later 309k and now 299k. The agent contacted me asking me for an offer of 250k. 

In the mean time it is available on booking.com and in one of the reviews it says: "Large hole in bedroom ceiling with exposed pipes, wasn’t mentioned and no explanation.". I forwarded it to the agent and she then came back to me admitting that there was indeed a leakage. I did another less positie estimate on www.meilleursagents.com. It came up with a value now of less than 200k. 

My big question is:

Is the seller in a hurry, because there are issues with the apartment?

OR

Is this a clear sign (as according to my hair dresser in Juan les Pins) that France is in trouble? 

It would be nice to see some price drops in the next few years, since I'd like to buy out there at some point. But the ECB are keeping record low base rates and these are being reflected in mortgage rates. After seeing what that did to property in the UK after 2010, I'm not hopeful.

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On 15/06/2019 at 03:11, dugsbody said:

But the ECB are keeping record low base rates and these are being reflected in mortgage rates. 

The bad news is indeed that I just cannot see those rates ever go up in my life time. Europe has become like Japan. I was already very surprised to see the Fed ever raise rates, which has now come to an end.

My biggest hope lies in there simply being less and less demand for second houses. Having a second house is anyhow a hassle, restricts one from travelling elsewhere, there is too much on Airbnb, etc. I put little hope in an economic disaster.

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20 hours ago, felix said:

The bad news is indeed that I just cannot see those rates ever go up in my life time. Europe has become like Japan. I was already very surprised to see the Fed ever raise rates, which has now come to an end.

My biggest hope lies in there simply being less and less demand for second houses. Having a second house is anyhow a hassle, restricts one from travelling elsewhere, there is too much on Airbnb, etc. I put little hope in an economic disaster.

Perhaps. It won't be my second house by the way, I plan to move there.

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  • 4 months later...
On 28/03/2019 at 18:38, Phillip in Nice said:

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. 

Probably true! Problem is that I want full sea view and I am willing to pay for it. God, I have been keeping an eye on the many property sites, but there is indeed so few available. What needs to happen for this to change?

The good news is at least that I am not in a hurry.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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.

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I got onto this government site:

https://www.data.gouv.fr/fr/reuses/explorateur-de-biens-vendus-dvf/

which then tells you to go to meilleursagents.com 

Am I missing something?

Do you also experience that apartments up to 500k Euros are selling quite well, as buyers generally fall into the category of those that have some 200k Euros cash and can then easily get a 300k mortgage?
At the same time houses above 1m Euros have few buyers simply because those working in Nice cannot afford them.
It seems as if the market has shifted from holiday/retired owners to those working and truly living there. Is this true?

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