Buying a property in another country is a big decision, and can seem a dauting undertaking. We ask Guy Watson-Smith, Managing Director of Fine & Country in Cannes, a few of the WHY, HOW and WHERE’S of buying property in France under the current climate, focusing specifically on the purchase of New Build Properties or “Programmes Neufs”.
***Head down to the bottom of the article for information on our TOP 3 NEW DEVELOPMENTS on offer in Cannes***
QUESTION 1: With an unfavourable president, the mega-rich escaping to Switzerland, London and Singapore and a struggling economy, WHY would I buy in France?
A. It’s a buyer’s market.
• House prices across France fell 1.4% in 2013. (While UK prices rose by 8.4% according to the Nationwide Building Society.)
• French interest rates remain very low at 2.6 to 3.5%.
• Interest-only and repayment mortgages are available, on variable or fixed-rates, and normally without any early redemption penalties.
• France’s mortgage market is one of the EU’s biggest and did not collapse during the recession, because it had been well managed before the recession.
• The weakness of the Euro has resulted in a recent increase in British and US buyers – the word is officially out that there is value to be had.
• That is why international buyers who have been busy in central London since 2009 are showing renewed interest in France.
• Sellers have been forced to accept reality and prices are dropping to realistic levels.
• Conversely, with increased activity the market is predicted to see prices rising by the end of 2014.
• With weak growth and low inflation (or deflation), real estate is likely to become the asset class of choice for investors again.
• Real estate incomes are known to remain resilient, and yields remain relatively high.
QUESTION 2: What possible ADVANTAGES do New Builds (bought off plan) offer (Known in French as “Programmes Neufs”)?
(Examples of what are currently on offer are featured below.)
A. New Builds offer Choice Locations.
Plus, in no particular order:
• Staged payments
• Varied finance options available
• Guaranteed delivery date.
• Reduced notary and transfer fees (2-3% instead of 7-8%)
• 10 year constructor’s guarantee
• Predictable and competitive prices
• Modern quality fixtures and amenities
• Some choice of individual finishes
• Price options within the development to suit your budget
• Short and long term rental options
QUESTION 3: Isn’t it too COMPLICATED to own a property in France? I don’t speak French, I don’t have an EU passport, I can’t look after a property from miles away, and how do I manage my taxes?
A. No it is entirely possible, and it is surprisingly easy and rewarding.
• We have heard the questions time and again, and many people have missed terrific opportunities because of their fear of the unknown, but the truth is that those who have followed their dream are better off for it.
• Think about it! Tens of thousands of the most successful people in the world have done it already; they have already bought their dream property in France, because it works for them!
• The South of France is enduringly popular as a home or a second home for “people who seek out quality in life”.
QUESTION 4: How would we MANAGE our property in France?
A. Fair Question; there are very effective ways of doing so.
• Some people with time or experience choose to manage their properties themselves
• Others seek professional help to look after their day to day administration, and there are well-established companies that do it
• The best one we know is Azur-Accom (Vicky is the best administrator, bar none! Management fee is 120€ per month inc. TVA)
• She will:
• Care for the property, check it and attend to any problems (repairs, replacements, etc.)
• Arrange payments to EDF (electricity), water, local taxes, insurance, levies, and your monthly mortgage
• Do your banking, and send you a monthly reconciliation balanced to your bank statement (explaining all the costs)
• Collect and bank rental incomes, and chase up amounts due
• Deal with the insurance companies for claims, assessments, quotes and repairs
• File all documents and official correspondence
• Provide additional services on request such as:
• Arranging furnishing and decoration
• Introduction to builders, obtaining quotes, overseeing work
• Arranging translation of documents if required
• Submit your annual French tax returns for you
We have a wealth of experience, and tried and trusted contacts in every field related to purchasing and owning property in France, and we are here to share our experience with you and to make your experience a happy and a profitable one.
Further details, brochures, photos and all relevant information on any of the three developments featured below are immediately available. Please ask.
NEW DEVELOPMENT 1: PALM BEACH, CANNES
(Also known as “La Pointe Croisette”)
For a detailed description of the area and what it has to offer: http://www.fineandcountry.fr/property/palm-beach
The well-respected developers have been creating quality buildings in France since 1967. A deposit of 3% secures an apartment, and payments are staged thereafter. Delivery date and final payment is the 1st quarter of 2016.
A WORD FROM THE ARCHITECT
“In the heart of La Pointe Croisette, we designed this architectural project around a Mediterranean garden. It comprises two residences: The first, contemporary in spirit, shields the garden and the swimming pool from the bustle of the city, while the second, lower building in the heart of the complex, makes reference to the fishermen’s dwellings which once occupied the site.” Renaud d’Hautesserre.
A SWIMMING POOL – AN EXCEPTIONAL FEATURE IN PALM BEACH!
No residences in Palm Beach have a pool – space is generally considered too valuable and the beaches are too near. However this development has a magnificent private pool at its centre. This is a huge advantage and convenience to families and holiday-makers.
There are about 20 apartments still available in this valuable new complex – a true rarity in this prime suburb.
– One can get a foot in the door to a very cute studio apartment for 150 000€
– One can also get a magnificent penthouse on the 4th floor for 1 450 000€
And there are options to suit most budgets and most people’s needs between those two. The average per m² price of the open indoor living space (excluding balconies and built in cupboards) is 8 007€. The range is from 5 769€ to 12 094€ per m² depending on individual factors such as floor level, view, garden, etc
All apartments have well-lit living areas, broad balconies, a loggia, and terraces or splendid private gardens. There are lush gardens surrounding the pool, and landscaped rooftop terraces, a refuge of greenery. Garages and parking spaces are available in the basement of the building.
The development is 100m from a bus stop, 10 minutes from the station, and 25 minutes from Nice Int. Airport.
It is 200m from beaches and Port Mouré Rouge, 500m from La Croisette and Port Canto, and 5 minutes from the Rue d’Antibes.
There are more than 10 prestigious golf courses within a radius of 40 minutes!
INDIVIDUAL SPECIFICATIONS – SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS
– Electric roller blinds in all rooms with centralised controls
– Double air flow cooling system
– Double-glazing and aluminium fittings
– 45 x 45 floor tiles
– Suspended toilets (for hygiene and easy cleaning)
– Smooth paint surfaces throughout the apartment
– Secure Residence with VIGIK access control
– Videophone with front-door access control
– Automatic lighting on landings using presence detectors
– Reinforced main entrance door to each apartment with 5 point safety lock
NEW DEVEPOLMENT 2: EXCELLENCE IN THE HEART OF CANNES
The highly professional developers have delivered 70 000 apartments and homes in France and abroad since 1972. A deposit of 5% secures an apartment and following staged payments will be quite rapid as the project is well advanced. Delivery is the 1st quarter of 2015.
This major and quite stunning development is located on the outer edge of the famous “Banane” http://www.fineandcountry.fr/property/la-banane
Architect Jean-Philippe Cabane sought an urban, landscaped solution that is both stylish and sensitive to the environment. He has inserted the buildings in such a way as to create an urban island, and visual openness adorned with well-groomed landscaping. The development in its finished form consists of three aesthetically placed individual residences within luxurious gardens.
THE LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT DESCRIBED HER BRIEF
“To create a garden with Mediterranean accents within the heart of the city where water, stone and brick are softened by the shadows of green leafery and the various colours of flourishing plants.” Catherine Houssin – Landscape Architect.
There are still a number of very competitively priced units available for between 215 000€ and 725 000€. The average per m² price of the open indoor living space (excluding balconies and built in cupboards) is 8 945€. The range is from 7 900€ to 11 200€ per m² depending on individual factors such as floor level, view, garden, etc.
THE PENTHOUSE IS A MUST SEE!
Measuring 118m² with fabulous views, a 72m² rooftop terrace, and 2 garages and a cellar included! The special price is 1 650 000€, or 13 983€ per m² (of apartment – garages & cellar excluded). Here is exceptional value.
THE POOL, THE SOLARIUM, AND THE LIFESTYLE
Residents and guests can enjoy swimming for 8 months a year in the magnificent heated pool Or relax year round on deck chairs or loungers in the luxurious solarium.The changing rooms are equipped with showers, toilets, sauna and semi-covered heated pool year round.
There is a full concierge service and total security and privacy is guaranteed. The apartments have been very well thought out and designed to the same theme as the residence and the gardens.
– All apartments have generous terraces or balconies to allow residents to enjoy the famous Riviera sunshine.
– All facilities are thoroughly modern, comfortable and automated for ease and simplicity of use.
– All parking spaces and garages are accessible directly from the apartments and are access controlled.
– The buildings are classified L.C.B – Low Consumption Building
The development is a stone’s throw from bus stops, 5 minutes from the station, and 30 minutes from Nice Int. Airport.
It is just 300m from the Rue d’Antibes and 600m from La Coisette. It is 600m from beaches and there are more than 10 prestigious golf courses within a radius of 40 minutes!
The Rue d’Antibes – http://www.fineandcountry.fr/property/the-rue-d%E2%80%99antibes
The famous La Croisette – http://www.fineandcountry.fr/property/la-croisette
INDIVIDUAL SPECIFICATIONS – SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS.
– Automated electric roller blinds, individually controlled from a central location
– Reversible climate control, multi-split system, in all rooms
– Built-in cupboards
– Lacquered aluminium trim
– Large format floor tiling throughout the apartment (60 x 60)
– Upper tiling on the 4 walls in the bathrooms and washrooms
– Bathrooms and washrooms equipped with sink, cabinet, mirror and lamps
– Stainless-steel towel-drying heater in the bathrooms and washrooms
– Suspended toilets (for hygiene and easy cleaning)
– Videophone with front door access control
– A reinforced entry door with anti-intrusion split-hinges, security bolts and peep-hole
– Alarm system
NEW DEVELOPMENT 3: LA CALIFORNIE “THE BLUE-CHIP NEIGHBOURHOOD”
As exclusive as it gets.
Constructors of quality and repute for private, institutional and public clients since 1964. A deposit of 5% secures an apartment and payments are staged thereafter. Delivery date for the entire project is 4th quarter 2016.
Set in the heart of La Californie, among prestigious villas, luxury buildings and iconic residences; Villa Domergue, Château de Thorenc, Villa Fiorentina, the Château Louis XIII, Villa Rothschild and the Villa Saint-Priest to name a few! Unique and prestigious and a stone’s throw from Cannes, La Californie bears witness to the glories of the XIX Century Belle Epoque. The residence in creation, perched on a natural terrace, enjoys panoramic views across the Bay and the Iles de Lerins.
Occupies a centuries-old park where a prestigious Villa used to stand. The entire domaine is suffused with history, having been a part of the grounds surrounding the Chateau de Thorenc. Built by the Duchess of Bedford, it has also been owned by the last Emperor of Vietnam, Baron de Dietich and Countess Sampieri in the past!
ARCHITECTURE AND THE REBIRTH
– The domaine extends over 8 000 m² of the centuries old park.
– The residence is intimate, blending a subtle mix of historical and contemporary features.
– The entire site will comprise of just 16 apartments.
– The new portion comprises two small buildings housing a total of only 10 apartments.
– These will boast private pools on the top floors with panoramic views across the Bay of Cannes.
– The historic portion of the project revives the old Villa in the form of 5 exclusive apartments.
– Finally, a new and independent villa will be added close to the entrance to the site, in the heart of a lush landscape.
– Just 16 private residences in total.
In addition to private pools attached to several apartments, a large lagoon-style pool will provide enjoyment for all residents.
ACCESS AND PROXIMITY
The development is 30 minutes from Nice International Airport. It is 10 minutes from Mandelieu Airport (business and private aviation) and helicopter connections to Monaco or St Tropez in 15 minutes. By car it is 5 minutes to the Croisette, 25 minutes from St Paul de Vence, and 45 minutes to Monaco or Italy.
AVAILABILITY AND PRICES
Units are available in a range from 75m² to 272m² with terraces, pools (in some cases) and 2 or 3 parkings included.
Available prices range from 726 000€ to 5 923 000€
SPECIFICATIONS AND SOME OF THE MANY HIGHLIGHTS
Main gate with private access control
Large lagoon-style heated swimming pool with a shallow area especially designed for children
Security: 24 hour on-site security
The Domain will be under video-surveillance
Secured and enclosed underground parking garages
Direct elevator access from the garages to the apartment levels
Anti-theft entry doors
Motion detection alarm systems in the apartments
Heating / Air Conditioning:
Reversible Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning system
Large dimension Grès ceram tiles (60cm x 60cm min.) in all living areas
Bedrooms: oak wood-flooring
Bathrooms: tiles or mosaics throughout
Balconies and terraces: tiles matching the apartment or exotic wood floors
Bathrooms: large dimension tiles or mosaïcs
Smooth mat finish paint in all other rooms and ceilings
Doors and windows:
Top grade entry door and interior doors
Aluminium-frame out-leading doors and windows
Electric roll-on shutters with centralized control
Concierge services on site
Centralized control system for shutters, lights, HVAC with on-demand programming
Liaison with on-call multi-lingual medical service
Personalized choices of finishes for the apartments:
A large choice of luxury finishes to be selected by the buyer
Optional Interior designer services proposed on-site to personalize the apartments
Choose between an Art Deco inspired decoration, in fashion at the time Villa Araucaria was designed….
Or a more contemporary pure line design in harmony with the lushly landscaped environment