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Is real estate driving growth for Monaco in 2023?

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Many new homes have been delivered or are under construction - © Monaco Tribune

The issue was discussed at a conference organised by the MWF Institute, in collaboration with IMSEE (Monaco Statistics) and a number of real estate agencies.

On 11 May, the MWF Institute held a new conference at Monaco’s Maison des Associations  on the subject of real estate in the Principality and, more broadly, on the French Riviera.

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Alexandre Bubbio and Pauline Faraud, from IMSEE, Karine Régis from John Taylor Monaco and Carla Ribeyre from Barnes, Beaulieu-sur-Mer were the guest speakers. Nelly Montanera, member of the MWF Institute Committee and CEO of Menton Immo, moderated the panel and presented the main topics for discussion during the conference.

“There is an interesting statistic: Monaco remains the most expensive place in the world for real estate. Monaco has held this position for 3 years,”  Nelly Montanera began. But what with inflation, uncertainties for investors and home buyers, rising energy costs and credit rates, a drop in ‘ultra-rich’ numbers in Europe, the reinvention of future urban living (by keeping car use to a minimum) and climate change, there can be many consequences for the real estate market.

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From left to right: Karine Régis, Carla Ribeyre, Alexandre Bubbio and Pauline Faraud – © MWF Institute

Strong supply of new housing

In the Principality, however, the sector seems to be doing well at the moment. After a significant drop in real estate transactions during the Covid period, the trend is now upward again, with 520 transactions in 2022, compared to 440 in 2021 and 411 in 2020. In fact, the figure is even higher than before the health crisis, since 2019 registered 462 transactions.

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imsee immobilier 2022

At the same time, the number of new flats has also increased significantly in recent years. 146 new homes were built in 2022, compared to 90 in 2021, 26 in 2020 and 49 in 2019.  However we should note that these buildings are not all necessarily for sale,” said Alexandre Bubbio. “Developers will put some up for sale and keep others as rental properties. That’s the problem with new-builds in Monaco: we are constrained by what is being built, and there isn’t a huge volume of properties. (…) Also, every year, there are  properties that are purchased but not yet completed, for example, the offshore extension.” Last year, for example, there were 88 new construction transactions, compared with 23 in 2021.

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As far as the resale market is concerned, the trend is quite stable, if we ignore the COVID period. 432 properties were sold on in 2022.

Renewing the Monegasque property stock

Prices per square metre are skyrocketing. In February 2022, we reported that for the first time, the average price of a square metre had broken through the symbolic 50,000 euro ceiling. This average is strongly impacted by the new-build market: “we are seeing very, very high prices that are even over 100,000 euros per square metre, for example in the Mareterra area. And this has an influence on the neighbouring districts, and therefore the price of resale properties,” commented Karine Régis, from the John Taylor Monaco agency.

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However, she pointed out a few limitations that the Monegasque market may present. Although the Principality enjoys genuine political and legal stability, a high degree of security and mostly sunny weather, the sector does face certain difficulties.

“People who don’t know Monaco have a vision of very beautiful, very large flats, and an exceptional lifestyle. However, there are many small buildings in the housing stock. Our difficulty is finding a property for a family that comes to settle in Monaco and that is sometimes looking for 400 or 500 square metres. The building stock is also ‘getting on a bit’: there is a need for new structures, new buildings, and Mareterra will meet this demand. (…) As demand is high in the rental market, flats are let out again very quickly, and in the same condition. So some owners don’t even think about renovating their property. There are also few residences that provide services such as valet parking, a concierge, spa, gym, etc. Things are improving, but basically, less than a decade ago, you could only find properties in Fontvieille,” she explains.

Detached houses in demand in neighbouring municipalities

In the neighbouring towns, demand is not falling off, as Carla Ribeyre, from the Barnes agency in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, explained.

“French people and Monegasques are looking for a second home, while foreigners are more interested in coming to rent for the summer perhaps,” she said. “But above all, we have strong demand from people who want to be next to Monaco. Generally, these people want a house, they want to settle on the Côte d’Azur, but they don’t want Monaco itself. This is what sets the Principality and the neighbouring municipalities apart. The needs are not the same.”

And in Monaco, as on the Côte d’Azur, the Covid-19 pandemic altered clients’ expectations.  They are looking for more space, with properties that are ready to move into. “Gardens are becoming very important, and people want turnkey properties. There is much less demand for older housing that needs to be renovated,” Carla Ribeyre added.

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But despite the strong demand, which clearly outstrips supply, the experts present all agreed: 2023 should see a slight drop in prices, including in Monaco and the rest of the Côte d’Azur. ” Will see a drop in supply, because it’s going to get tighter,” Nelly Montanera explained. “Sellers do not want to sell for less, buyers would rather wait for slightly better interest rates.. This should lead to a slight dip in the housing markets, around September.”

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