It is difficult to understand the Monegasque market without first mentioning its specificity. The smallest state in the world behind the Vatican covers less than 2 km2. It is home to 32,800 inhabitants, 6090 Monegasques, 20% Italians, 5% British and 125 other nationalities, who are under the spell of its many assets.
An idyllic climate, a strategic geographic location, a generous shopping center, a wide range of cultural and leisure facilities, not to mention a definite tax advantage… It’s not surprising that the Principality has the highest population density in the world. Very quickly, the aim was to gain ground on the Mediterranean, especially on the Larvotto, Fontvieille and the seawall that was built in 2003. In 2008, the last extension project was abruptly halted, officially for ecological reasons, even though the spectre of the downturn in world finance was looming large. Farewell to the 10 hectares planned… Compensated by the Odeon Tower, two 49-story complexes. VAT, real estate and tourism are the most important sources of revenue.
“It is always delicate to address the effects of the crisis in a context where references between €10 and €20 million still find takers, especially among Eastern Europeans. €20 million allows, for example, to obtain a prestigious apartment, located in the famous Carré d’Or, 250 m2 open to a vast open space overlooking the microstate and the Grande Bleue, “said Frederic Nicolet of Saint-Charles Immobilier. On the other hand, entry-level properties (around €20,000 per square meter and under the €5 million mark, i.e., standard three- to four-bedroom apartments that do not benefit from the best locations and panoramic views) have slowed down considerably. In these troubled times, owners, who are rarely forced to sell, prefer to withdraw their properties from the files while waiting for better days, especially since rental property remains buoyant. The valuation of a property depends not only on its intrinsic qualities, but also on the address, both the neighborhood and the building. In the same street, the meter can vary from 25.000 to 70.000 €. The Park Palace, the Sun Tower, the Mirabeau and Les Floralies, near the Casino, are the most expensive. Fontvieille is one step below the Carré d’Or. Some appreciate the views of the port and the Rock and the village atmosphere. Others, on the contrary, denounce the proximity of the industrial zone and the presence of the heliport. La Condamine remains dear to the historical residents. A first line on the Hercules port is negotiated at 40-45,000 €/m2, while the buildings at the back fall to 20,000 €/m2. The Larvotto, or beach area, is almost exclusively dedicated to rentals. Although off the beaten track, the area has some beautiful buildings such as the Parc Saint-Roman and the Villa del Sol. The demand is still strong, but at the moment it is more focused on rentals, which are considered a springboard. Of course, the Principality’s short distance from the international airport, a seven-minute helicopter ride, is a major advantage.
Matteo Baldo of Baldo Parli Real Estate confirms the good health of the high-end segment, a segment starting at €10 million, the sum required for a T4 in Fontvieille or a T3 in the Carré d’Or. Over the past eight months, Russians, English, Swiss and Belgians have been looking for excellence, while Italians have been abandoning their traditional studios between €1 and €2 million. With the new political situation in Italy, the trend could be reversed. Professionals are already receiving the first calls in this direction. Monaco is, above all, a long-term investment. When Miami, New York and Dubai are catching cold, the small state is asserting its rights as a safe real estate location. To date, only buyers in the period before the fall of 2008 are losing capital. The apprehension of the transaction requires a high technicality. “Let’s take the Seaside Plaza: one side hovers around €25,000/m2, the other, €40-45,000/m2, a disparity due to noise and exposure. Some buildings in Casino Square range from €30,000 to €60,000/m2 depending on whether they look out onto the gardens or the sea,” illustrates Matteo Baldo.