Fancy a home on the Cote d’Azur? Start saving.

In international terms South African beach front properties offer relatively good value and are de rigueur for the well heeled. But what are European alternatives and how much do they cost?


Alexander Kraft, Chairman & CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty France says, “The South of France is still the most desired location for beach front homes in all of Europe. Properties here make for the best long term investment because one will always see appreciation in value.


“The Côte d’Azur has been a fashionable area to purchase for some 150 years- which is unlikely to change. Excellent infrastructure including an airport at Nice, at which direct flights from all around the globe land on a daily basis, makes this area that much more appealing to international investors.


“The most reasonably priced beach front villa would typically cost around €2 - €5 million (approximately R16 million - R39 million), with apartments starting at approx. €1 million (R7.8 million).  Along the ultra chic Cap Ferrat peninsula close to Nice, palatial sea front homes generally range from €10 million (R79 million) – to over €100 million (R791 million). No surprise that the Rothschilds as well as the King of Belgium have owned property in the area.


Barak Geffen, Executive Director of Sotheby’s International Realty, operated by Lew Geffen, South Africa says, “When you compare these prices to the most expensive sea view property we currently have on our books - a R45 million (€5.7 million) house in Clifton in Cape Town - SA offers sea front investors excellent value.”


Kraft continues that in Cap Ferrat less impressive villas, further away from the beach with sea views will generally start at €1.5 million (R12 million). Although property is exceptionally expensive in these parts, it is generally regarded as a safe bet where you are bound to get a good return whether you sell after some years or let out over the holiday season.


“Further north, Brittany is emerging as an unpolished gem of a seaside destination. Along the Gulf of Morbihan small fisherman’s villages are scattered – in comparison to the Côte d’Azur this is an unspoilt and sparsely inhabited destination, and here you can find beachfront apartments for around €500 000 (R3.9 million). Larger, freestanding homes sell for between €800 000 - €2million (R6.3 – R16 million). I would recommend this area as the next best, up-and-coming seaside spot where investors would do well to invest early.”


“A beach home market which sits somewhere between that of Brittany and the Côte d’Azur would be in Biarritz. “For almost 200 years now, Biarritz has been one of Europe’s most fashionable seaside – resorts which first became ‘en vogue’ when Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie built a summer residence in this small fishing port thus attracting high society from all over the world”.


“Nowadays, Biarritz on the basque coast of South West France combines the amenities of a world class resort destination with small town ambiance and unspoilt nature. It has its own airport, excellent restaurants and 5 star hotels and is home to the world famous Biarritz Surf Festival. Beachfront apartments start at approx. € 600,000 (R4.7 million), and seafront villas can be found for between €1million – €3 million (R7.9 – R24 million).


Kraft adds that outside of Western Europe, Croatia is slowly emerging as a new market and might become a destination to purchase more affordable see front homes; however this area is much more difficult to get to and is not as modernized as the Western parts of Europe. This is for the more adventurous investor who doesn’t mind long haul flights and is willing to wait out his investment which will probably take a good number of years to appreciate in value as Croatia’s profile becomes more prominent internationally.


“I see many South Africans investing in the South of France, typically in smaller homes and apartments in close proximity to the beach. In the last five years we have seen property values increase by 15-20% per year and in my opinion prices will continue to rise and eventually consolidate on a high level, especially sea front properties which are in constant demand as both residences and holiday homes.”

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