Country houses for sale

Russians still buying Côte d’Azur

Knight Frank is seeing renewed surge of interest in Côte d’Azur properties since April, resulting in several offers ranging from below €5m to over €15m.

The majority of current interest is from the second generation of Russian High Net Worth Individuals.  This buyer category will typically have a smaller budget than the initial wave of Russian buyers and will be more cautious in approach.  In contrast to the typical Russian buyers of two to three years ago, they are no longer driven by spontaneous interest. They are looking more long term in order to find a property that will match their lifestyle aspirations and are prepared to wait until they find exactly what they are looking for.

Today’s Russian buyers will more often than not want to integrate into the local community as they are often seeking a year-round destination rather than a holiday home. It may also mean renting before committing to a purchase in order to get a feel for the local environment.  

This means that their requirements when looking for a property are more driven by practicality: a classic exterior with a modern and functional interior offering good space, which comes well specified and with the latest hi-tech accoutrements and modest rather than extensive staff accommodation.  Sea views are preferred although there is demand for quality properties in prime inland locations.  

The majority of the activity is in the €2-€10 million price bracket.  Vendors have become more realistic in recent months and, in some cases, discounts of 10%-15% are achievable but prices are unlikely to soften much further, the agency warns.  

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Property for sale in Grimaud


La Cadole Grimaud
La Cadole: £5.25m through Knight Frank and Hugo Skillington Immobilier (020 7629 8171)


This spectucular house is owned by a British property developer and his wife. It was previously two bergeries but is now a glorious interpretation of a modern Provencal house which has views down to St Tropez.

** For a comprehensive look at what British buyers are looking for in France, plus a guide to buying a bolthole in Paris, look out for Country Life’s France issue, published tomorrow (Wednesday, June 24, 2009).