The Principality of Monaco’s minuscule size, combined with the number of people who’d like to move there, ensures that demand is permanently going to outstrip supply. In such a tiny country, properties on the market are, in the main, apartments, and entire houses for sale are rare. And because a certain percentage of apartment blocks are set aside exclusively for rentals, this further reduces the number of potential homes on the market at any one time.
‘We have clients in various stages of moving to Monaco: some people wait for the right apartment, but many need to move by a certain time of the year, which means getting on with it,’ says Irene Luke from Savills’ associate Monaco Real Estates (00 377 97 70 42 00). ‘Some buyers rent initially while they’re waiting for the perfect property to buy, and others invest in a smaller apartment and wait until a property with more space comes up to move their family.’
Buyers span a huge range of nationalities, according to Jez Moore, who runs OnlyResidence (0377 93 30 53 05) a property-finding company under the flag of JV Pastor Group: ‘We source the right properties at the very top end of the market for the Russians, South Africans and people from the Middle East, as well as the British. Most of my buyers already have a property portfolio, and will also likely own a house in France, either just over the border to the north, or along the Côte d’Azur towards Nice.’
The periods, prices and styles of property available in the Principality are as diverse as the buyers’ nationalities. Despite its size, Monaco is split into smaller areas, each of which has its own distinct identity. Once they get familiar with it, most buyers are quite firm about the part of the Principality in which they want to buy.
Fontvieille, in the south-west, is the newest portion of Monaco-the area was built on reclaimed land in the early 1980s. Here, John Taylor (00 377 93 50 30 70; www.john-taylor.com) are marketing a completely renovated apartment of 365sq m, with a beautiful shaded terrace, at an asking price of €20 million. The Jardin Exotique, just behind Fontvieille is currently undergoing regeneration and both these locations usually offer good value, being (relatively speaking) on the outskirts of the action.
Further towards the centre is Le Rocher, or The Rock. A bus ride from the marina, up picturesque, winding streets, The Rock is a peaceful quarter upon which the Palais Princier sits. Views of the rest of Monaco, the palace and the cathedral are striking from top-floor apartments.
For sale here is the eponymous The Rock, a five-storey property previously separated into apartments and now restored into a single, very fine town house with a private entrance, two bedrooms and exceptional living space, including a roof terrace. The price is €5.85 million through Monaco Real Estates for Savills (00 377 977 042 00 or 020-7016 3740; www.savills.co.uk).
Coming back down the hill onto the Rue Grimaldi, you find yourself in La Condamine, the network of streets behind the iconic Port Hercule. One of the most famous marinas in the world, it’s full of yachts of awe-inspiring size all year round, and the buzzing cafes and restaurants along the waterfront add colour and character.
Monaco’s international school is located just to the south on Quai Antoine, and another attraction of this location is that some apartments can have incredible views of the start and finish line of the Monaco Grand Prix. One such was a two-bedroom, 162sq m apartment (with large terrace) overlooking Port Hercule and the starting line. Priced at €5.5 million, with Monaco Real Estates, it sold very quickly earlier this year.
Around the coastline, following the Boulevard du Larvotto, you reach the beginning of the hallowed Carré d’Or-the Golden Square, where the very priciest of world’s most expensive property is to be found. Prices per square metre in Monaco regularly reach dizzying heights-according to Knight Frank, they now average about €43,400-€48,000, but the price per square metre in Le Mirabeau, just a stone’s throw from the casino, can reach nearly €100,000.
There is such limited stock available on the market that only the wealthiest people can buy here. Those who do find themselves in the heart of Monte Carlo, with the grand dame of hostelry, the Hôtel de Paris, plus the Casino, the Hôtel Metropole and the pretty gardens all just seconds away.
A one-bedroom apartment in the Les Floralies building is currently for sale at €4.4 million through Pieter van Naeltwijck for Knight Frank, who are also offering a two-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor of the Monte Carlo Star building for €18 million (00 377 97 70 70 20; www.pvnrealestate.com).
Also in La Flori-ales, Dotta Real Estate has a beautiful two-bedroom apartment with 138sq m of living space-with exceptional views of the Casino and the sea -and a terrace and a balcony. Price upon request (00 377, 97 98 20 00; www.dotta.mc).
The market in this ultra-high-net-worth location can, at times, be quite secretive. Vendors may be willing to negotiate on price, but lots of properties are bought and sold without even being advertised, so talking to experts in the area is crucial. ‘We continue to see a severe shortage of super-high-end properties on the market, but there are some fantastic opportunities still available if you know where to look,’ says Mr van Naeltwijck, who has been selling property in Monaco for more than 15 years.
The Principality’s other white-hot area lies around Larvotto Beach. This sandy bay is one of the most glamorous beaches in the world, and properties along the Avenue Princesse Grace, which overlooks it, command top prices. Many buildings here are rental-only, and this drives sales prices further upwards. As an example, a 96sq m apartment with direct access to the beach is currently for sale at €2.95 million through Miells & Partners (00 377 97 97 79 29; http://miells.monte-carlo.mc).
The story of property in Monaco is traditionally a tale of renovation. Since the land reclamation that produced Fontvieille in the 1980s, there have been few new projects (although there is further reclamation planned to the west). However, two recent developments have changed all this. The launch of L’Oiseau Bleu, at 23, Boulevard de Belgique, in 2011 offered just 21 new, ultra-exclusive apartments. Knight Frank is marketing the remaining four beautifully appointed, four-bedroom properties at prices ranging from €15.25 million to €18.70 million (020-7861 5120; www.knightfrank.com).
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The second project is the dernier cri in the Principality’s luxury property market: the Tour Odéon. This vast, ambitious development, currently under construction by Groupe Marzocco, will create a 170m-high tower-the highest in Monaco. Its 49 floors will house 70 serviced apartments, two duplexes and a mind-boggling, five-storey penthouse equipped with a giant water slide leading to the infinity pool.
The Tour Odéon’s design is modern and elegant, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and private terraces bringing in the sea views. A wellness centre and supermarket will meet the everyday needs of residents, as will the 24/7 five-star concierge. Prices are on application to Knight Frank.
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