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Second Homes Are First on the Côte d’Azur

View of Monaco from a distance
The port of Monaco

It’s no surprise to me that the French Riviera, also known as the “Côte d’Azur,” has emerged as the top destination for high-end second homes, outshining renowned locations like Monaco and Aspen, according to the inaugural Savills World Second Home Locations Index released on Friday.

Savills, a real estate firm founded in the UK in 1855, conducted an analysis of 60 prominent global second home destinations, considering factors such as lifestyle and leisure offerings, luxury retail and dining options, the presence of four- and five-star hotels, quality of life, global accessibility, and prime residential property values.

Photo of the article from Sevills

“For this report, we wanted to examine the drivers of what makes these destinations prime second home locations and what ensures that these locations retain their longevity. Elements such as top-tier residential property, lifestyle factors, hospitality, connectivity and global reach can each help second-home locations stand out from the rest. We also take a deeper dive into some of the integrated resorts and speak to our global network about what makes these new hot spots appeal.”

The Côte d’Azur, situated along the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of France, and encompassing cities like Nice, Cannes, St. Tropez, and Antibes, emerged as the clear leader across all metrics. The report praised the region for its world-famous hotels, upscale retail, and top-notch restaurants. On average, prime residential properties in the area are valued at €23,000 per square meter or $2,360 per square foot (at the time of this writing).

Villefranche-sur-Mer

Villefranche-sur-Mer

Alex Balkin, executive director of Savills French Riviera, attributed the enduring popularity of the area to its natural beauty, excellent transportation, hospitality and leisure offerings, and pleasant climate. He noted that demand for properties comes from both domestic buyers and those from Northern Europe and the Middle East. Additionally, the region has seen a surge in buyers from the United States, thanks to new seasonal flight connections from New York, Newark, and Atlanta and now more to come. (The Nice airport is also one of the easiest in the world, with quick and easy access into town via the East-West Tramway!)

Example of flight to and from Nice

Europe dominated the list of top second-home destinations globally, claiming 14 out of the top 20 spots. Monaco secured second place, boasting the highest residential property prices globally, averaging €52,000 per square meter or approximately $5,334 per square foot. Aspen ranked third, representing the highest-ranked U.S. destination in the index. Tuscany, Italy, and Mallorca, Spain, known for their exceptional leisure and lifestyle amenities, as well as high-quality properties and hospitality, completed the top five.

What those European towns lack…is France! The infrastructure and highly controlled French administration, while cumbersome perhaps to us free-wheeling Americans, is also a huge benefit when seeking risk-free investment. The report does not attribute the demand and growth to this, but I believe it is a factor. We can also attribute the growth in Nice, in particular, to the improvements the city has seen under the leadership of Mayor Christian Estrosi.

Nice Mayor, Christian Estrosi

Mayor Christian Estrosi, pictured center

Notably, the pandemic-induced surge in demand for prime residential second homes is evident, with average capital values rising by 7% over the past year. However, prices varied significantly across the globe, with Monaco holding the title for the most expensive housing.

See the report here.

Be sure to read tomorrow’s French Property Insider when we explore the most recent property price report! And if you are interested in making an investment on the Rivera (or anywhere in France), be sure to contact us!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds in NiceAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

P.S. I’m taking a vacation to Corsica in a couple of weeks. You can count on NOT hearing from me while I’m vegging out on the beaches there August 12-19! This way, you get a break, too!

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