The copropriété (homeowner association) of my apartment in Nice has been toying with the idea of installing an elevator for a long time. We all want it, even though we know it comes at a hefty price. The neighbor on the 4th floor has his apartment for sale, but is having trouble selling it for this very reason — that it doesn't have the lift. He understands that it will cost him the most because he's on the highest floor, but that the elevator increases the value of his property more than the others for the same reason.
According to a recent article in Le Parisien and a study by MeilleursAgents.com, having an elevator in a building pretty much guarantees selling a property at a higher price. And the higher you go upstairs, the more the price of the housing soars, especially in a place like Paris where elevators in old buildings are rare. The owner of a 6th floor apartment with an elevator in the 15th arrondissement of Paris will sell the property for 6.5 percent more than a similar apartment on the 2nd floor of the same building. The price of a property can vary by several thousand euros depending on whether it is on the top floor or on the ground floor of the same building, with or without elevator.
Going up means gaining light, air, the absence of a "vis-à-vis" (in a position facing another apartment), the view over the rooftops, seeing the Eiffel Tower, etc., etc...what dreams are made of in Paris. And the higher you go, the less nuisances you have — fewer people passing your door, less noise, less pollution, etc. So, the higher you go, so does the price if there is an elevator. Compared to the second floor, which serves as a reference in the study, a two-room apartment in Île-de-France costs 5 percent less when it is on the ground floor and 1.3 percent more expensive when it is on the sixth floor.
Having an elevator is the key to this success, because without it, the higher you go the less expensive the property! The elevator makes a difference all along the way — with more impact on price as you go up. It means nothing to an apartment on the ground level, for example, and little to the apartments on the first floor, but means everything to apartments on the higher floors. The professionals have noted that with the aging of the population, they are installing more and more elevators.
But installing an elevator is not so simple. First off and most importantly, the building must be able to accommodate it. In the case of our Nice apartment, we owners collectively hired and paid for a study to be done to verify the feasibility. Then, the decision must be taken at a general meeting to make the investment which is very expensive. The unit on the ground floor doesn't pay at all, the unit on the first floor pays, but less than the one on the second, etc. And the number of votes in a general assembly of the last floor apartment will have a stronger voice than that of the first floor's.
On top of that, maintaining an elevator costs money. There are two types of building charges: one related to the maintenance of the building determined according to the surface area of the apartment and the other linked to services which are to paid based on the benefit of each apartment. The elevator falls into the second category. For maintenance, the charges are rated differently depending on the floor of the apartment: zero on the ground floor, one for the first floor, 1.25 for the second, etc. Concretely, the owner of the ground floor does not have to pay the charges linked to the elevator, that of the second floor has to pay less than that of the last floor who has to pay more than that of the third floor. A second floor owner, who would have a larger apartment than their neighbor on the same floor, has to pay more because of the surface area rules. One caveat for an owner of the ground floor apartment that has a parking space or cellar as the elevator would serves him, so he then must pay accordingly.
According to the Federation of Elevators, maintenance of an elevator normally represents 50 cents per day per apartment or three to five percent of the total amount of charges. It's the fifth most expensive item for a condominium, ahead of heating, security and routine maintenance. That amounts to about 2,000 to 2,500 euros per year per elevator. And it's not about whether you use it or not.
My perfect spot is the third floor. When the elevator is out of service, you can still climb three flights without too much difficulty. (And they do go out of order from time to time!) From the 3rd floor, you can see sky, but you can also see the other Paris buildings which I believe are more beautiful than the rooftops. I personally like the "vis-à-vis" — as I find being a kind of "voyeur" to other people's lives much more interesting than an open park filled with trees!
P.S. I will be speaking at International Living's Fast Track Europe Conference May 21-23, 2020 at the Crowne Plaza Vilamoura — Algarve, Portugal, so sign up to be there! And, mark your calendars for our own Living and Investing in France Conference in Nice and Tour to Provence this coming October 18 to 26 — details to come. To be on a special mailing list so that you can take advantage of early bird special rates, email: email@example.com.
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