Corsica is No Longer Just for the Corsicans
Last Thursday you and I both had a break—you from reading French Property Insider and me from writing it. That’s because while your inbox was void of the 50-time-a-year “nouvellettre®”, I was “busy being a lizard” on a beach on the French island of Corsica.
You may not have ever put Corsica on your radar for a place to vacation, because the island doesn’t do much to attract tourism, and largely because of that, we love it so much…it’s still unspoiled and authentic compared to its counterparts, such as Sardinia or Ibiza or Majorca. I have never heard another American voice in all my travels to the island, except for ourselves and the hand-full of Americans we know who live there (a whopping three).
According to The Local, “Corsica gets the least amount of love, with only about 61 Americans calling it home. The Mediterranean island is nicknamed the ‘Island of beauty’ but there are no big urban centers for jobs and transport links to the mainland make it a more expensive choice. That’s why Corsica is only home to just under 300 people from English-speaking countries in total.”
In 2014, the island lawmakers decided that property buyers must live on the island five years before they can buy property. That’s a pretty heavy censorship on who can invest there and who can’t, but their goal was to prevent their own indigenous islanders from being priced out of their homeland by allowing foreign buyers to inflate the prices.
No one can argue that it does help maintain its pristine, unspoiled nature, although about 40 percent of properties on Corsica are second homes owned by people living off the island. The proposals to restrict the purchasers outraged the mainland, calling it “segregation” and “xenophobia” and therefore the proposals didn’t see the light of day as there are currently no restrictions for foreign buyers, just like anywhere else in France. Technically, Corsica is a “territorial collectivity” of France providing for more local autonomy than other regions of the country, but this singular course of action didn’t fly.
The island only has a total population of about 330,000, but the number of residents is growing at a rate of 4,000 to 5,000 per year. We saw an amazing amount of new developments under construction during our week there, in spite of its reputation for a high murder rate perpetrated by the feuding gangs—one of the highest in Europe. We’ve never once considered that to be a problem, since it rarely affects the local tourists and the violence is mostly contained within the feuding parties.
If this frightens you, then take it off your list, but Corsica has over 600 miles of shoreline, more than 200 beaches of clean, clear waters, mountains that cover two-thirds of the island and very little industry. It has four international airports with year-round service to major European cities and is also well connected by ferry service.
Ajaccio is the capital city and famous as Napoleon Bonaparte’s birthplace, but the resort towns in the south get all the attention from the yachting community and many second-home buyers. Most of the buyers are made-up of the mainland French, and then the British, but recently the number of foreign buyers has grown. Many of them are also coming from Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Holland and the Scandinavian countries and in some reports, from the United States (although I find that difficult to believe). The south is considered more “fashionable,” but personally I prefer the northern side.
Corsican Property Prices Per MetrePrices on properties in Corsica have been on the rise, but are still a lot less than on the Riviera—about half as expensive. According to Meilleurs Agents, the average price of property in Corsica ranges from 2,326€ to 4,652€ per square meter for an apartment and 2,471€ to 4,942€ per square meter for a house. Prices are higher in the south compared to the north. Waterfront properties in the well-heeled southern cities such as Lecci, Bonifacio and Porto-Vecchio can be more than 20,000€ per square meter, believe it or not. Wealthier buyers are starting to discover the island’s attributes over Sardinia or Ibiza or Majorca, just as we have as a vacation spot.
“Location, location, location”—buying in a location that has easy access is the key to enjoying the property most. The top spots for purchases are along the coast and within easy driving distance of the island’s four international airports. The southeast gets a lot of attention because of the proximity to the Figari-Sud Corse airport, the hillside and ritzy port town of Porto Vecchio, as well as Bonifacio, coupled with a few white soft sand and beautiful beaches such as Santa Giulia and Palombaggia. The Balagne area around Calvi (the birthplace of Christopher Columbus) with its five-mile-long sandy beach and a view of the city’s citadel is another hot spot—and my preferred side of the island. Properties for sale can range from village houses to apartments, from traditional houses to large villas, some with direct beach access or their own private beaches and set on large grounds.
Here are a few properties for sale to whet your appetite:
Castle for Sale in Ile Rousse: Built on the waterfront in the 17th century, this castle, classified as a supplementary inventory of historic monuments, covers nearly 500 square meters on three levels with 23 rooms and a terrace of 250 square meters suspended over the sea…price provided upon demand.
Waterfront Property for Sale in Porto Vecchio: With a surface area of about 100 square meters, this property is of authentic style with 4 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 1 independent kitchen, 1 fireplace, located on grounds of 2535 square meters with a swimming pool, close to all public transport services, shops, beach, etc. Asking Price: 1,365,000€.
Sea View Apartment for Sale in Ajaccio:
Enjoy a sea view from this brand new apartment built in 2019, with 4 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1 shower room, 1 bathroom, 1 open-plan kitchen, a patio of 17 square meters, oriented to the south and east, close to all public transport services, all shops, beach, etc. Asking Price: 377,000€.
If you’re interested in a Corsican property adventure, contact us to help guide you through the possible choices—a variety of types, prices and locations on the beautiful French island that has been overlooked for such a long time…but not anymore.
P.S. If you are considering a property purchase in or around Nice—or even Corsica—don’t do it lightly. Let us help you make the smartest decisions to ensure you make the best investment you can. We can also expertly advise you how best to create a profitable rental. Contact us at [email protected] to learn more.