Great article in the Sunday Times today about the ‘rock solid’ French Riviera Property Market. It includes comments from Home Hunts and some of our partners in the South of France.
Since the 1850s, the French Riviera has been the Mediterranean’s premier holiday home destination — a golden stretch of coastline taking in famous spots such as Cannes and St Tropez, and bordered by charming stone-built villages and open countryside.
European royalty and British aristocracy led the charge, helped by the introduction of a Paris-to-Nice railway line, before the Jazz Age attracted wealthy Americans and Hollywood stars. The writer Somerset Maugham’s view of the Riviera as “a sunny place for shady people” served only to fuel appetites for the hedonistic Côte d’Azur lifestyle, while F Scott Fitzgerald, the author of The Great Gatsby, captured the 1920s scene perfectly.
By the 1970s, St Tropez’s transformation from a sleepy fishing port to an irresistibly glamorous hotspot — complete with supermodels and superyachts — was underway. Today, all along the Riviera, millionaires and billionaires compete to buy the finest waterfront villas.
Renovation is a trend that Tim Swannie, director of buying agency Home Hunts, is seeing. Many of his big-spending clients want a property they can use immediately, yet a growing number are willing to take on a renovation project.
“Last autumn we agreed the sale of a house just 200 metres from the beach in St Tropez, to a London-based buyer who paid €8.5 million, and is about to demolish and rebuild it,” Swannie says. “In Cannes we sold a property for about €8 million that a Scandinavian client had renovated. We then helped him buy two other projects, each over €6 million. Last summer we sold a charming stone farmhouse in Grasse to a rock star from the UK. He paid around €4 million and is having the property totally renovated.”