As much as we might wish it to be different, the old cliché “location, location, location” is a prudent guideline to follow and the Côte d’Azur is no exception to this rule. Geographically big and diverse as it is, it’s just as susceptible to the ebb and flow of global economics as anywhere else and “where to buy” remains as important as “what to buy.”
For many foreign buyers owning a place in France is a longstanding dream that can finally be fulfilled. Be it a pied dans l’eau apartment, a tiny village house or a rambling stone farmhouse, which home buyers settle on is often more down to a decision of the heart than the head. But the risk is that a property that touches the heart might well be in the wrong location. This is why guidance from an independent local expert can be very important, no matter where in France you’re searching.
I often get enquiries from people starting their Côte d’Azur property search for “up and coming” areas – like a London neighbourhood about to be gentrified. A Côte d’Azur Harlesden perhaps? However, in my experience, areas touted as being the “next big place to buy in” rarely turn out to be a new property hotspot and buyers easily can be led astray by headlines or over-eager marketing to that effect. The hotspots on the Côte d’Azur have been the same hotspots for a very long time and the less expensive areas are less expensive or sought-after for reasons that won’t go away.
There is a lot to be said for caution when investing abroad. Choosing size over quality of location is an often-regretted mistake. Buyers can easily be swayed by the prospect of “more” for their money. More rooms, more garden, simply “more”. But more property in the wrong location can end up being a big disappointment and a burden when it comes time to sell. In real estate on the Côte d’Azur, a one-bedroom apartment with a grand sea view generally is a much better idea than a three-bedroom place tucked away in a backstreet.
Just to confuse things, some neighbourhoods in Nice might for instance have attractive sea views but aren’t all that interesting or a good place to live for other reasons and buyers would be much better off concentrating elsewhere. Again, only an impartial local expert can offer this insider knowledge.
Rebecca Russell lives in Nice and is the Côte d’Azur search agent within THE FRENCH PROPERTY FINDERS alliance. For more information, please contact us via email or on +33 (0)981 12 45 63.
This article previously appeared in FrenchEntrée Magazine.