Prices in Monaco increased by an astounding 18% last year, at a time when the rest of the world’s prime residential hotspots were slowing or seeing value falls. However, Savills doesn’t expect the trend to continue at the same rate as buyers become more price-sensitive.
MONACO’S GLOBAL appeal has driven the residential market to record levels. The sovereign city-state is a magnet for the world’s wealthy due to, amongst other things, the strong economy, lifestyle benefits and world class sporting events. High Net Worth Individuals are drawn to Monaco as a place to live, work and play.
The Principality is home to 38,000 inhabitants, occupying a space smaller than New York’s Central Park. Residents are from 139 different countries and one in three are now millionaires, compared to one in 28 in London. International access to Monaco is provided via Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport, just 22 kilometers away, with direct flights to 120 destinations.
Prices in Monaco increased by an astounding 18% last year, at a time when the rest of the world’s prime residential hotspots are slowing or seeing value falls. The number of new build sales also reached a record high in 2018.
However, the imbalance of supply and demand continues. Despite the ambitious Portier Cove project, which is well underway, there is still huge pressure on Monaco’s property market, which will continue to keep prices high.
€48,800 AVERAGE PRICE PER SQUARE METER IN MONACO 2018
Residential markets 2018 was a strong year for Monaco’s residential market. The average price per square meter over the year was €48,800, an increase of 18% compared to 2017, driven by the high demand for real estate in the Principality, which vastly outstrips the limited supply. There was a noticeable increase in demand from British, Middle Eastern, Turkish and Greek buyers over the course of 2018.
Additionally, the increase in the average price reflects an increase in sales of larger, more expensive properties, driven by demand from families moving to Monaco. Sales of four bedroom and larger properties increased by 59% while studio sales fell by nearly a quarter.
Overall, transaction volumes increased by 15% in 2018 compared to the previous year. Sale of new build properties in particular increased by 44% to 72 sales, a record high for Monaco. However, they still accounted for just 14% of total sales in 2018 as resales continue to dominate the market.
The uptick in new build transactions was driven by sales at Le Stella, a mixed-use development, which accounted for 80% of all new build apartment sales. However, although the number of new build properties sold is at a record level, the total value is still 18% below the 2015 peak when there were 11 new build sales of properties with four bedrooms or more.
There has also been a noticeable increase in transactions over €5 million across the whole market, both for resale and new build properties. In 2018, there were 142 transactions at this price point, a 42% increase compared to 2017 and nearly double compared to five years ago. In London, a city with a population 210 times that of Monaco, there were 334 sales over £5 million in 2018, just 2.4 times the number in Monaco. This represents a 2% fall in £5 million+ sales in London since 2017 and 37% over five years, reflecting the more subdued market due to increased stamp duty and Brexit uncertainty.
MONACO IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT
Monaco is the most expensive prime residential market in the world. Average prime residential values in Monaco are 10% higher than Hong Kong, 176% higher than New York, 194% higher than London and 237% higher than Paris.
While price growth is slowing across the world’s leading prime city housing markets, with an average growth of 2.3% over 2018, Monaco’s average price per square meter increased by 18% over the same period.
Comparative costs of owning residential property
The costs associated with buying, holding and selling a residential property in Monaco are in line with the major cities across the world. Stamp duty is generally charged at 4.5%. The only other costs associated with property purchases relate to agency costs on sales/acquisitions.
Despite there being no occupancy tax in Monaco, the total cost of buying a $2 million property, holding it for five years and selling it, is $280,000 or 14% of the property price. This is mainly due to agency fees to buy and sell the property.
Monaco Savills Irene Luke
Joining Savills in 2011, Irene Luke became a co-managing partner in 2012 at the Monte Carlo Real Estate agency. A lawyer by training, having read law at Oxford University, Luke brings her legal skills to the real estate world, playing an advisorial role alongside a commercial one when negotiating sales, purchases and rentals for her clients.
Monaco is the most expensive market in which to rent prime property. Despite a number of new apartments being added to the rental market in recent years, demand is still high, driven by new arrivals to the Principality. Owning or renting a property in Monaco is one of the conditions of obtaining residency and renting is an opportunity to test the lifestyle before making a longer-term commitment.
14% COST OF BUYING, HOLDING AND SELLING A $2M PROPERTY AVERAGE PRICE PER SQUARE METER
Average asking rents per month were €101 per square meter, ranging from €90 per square meter for a studio or 1 bedroom to €113 per square meter for 4+ bedrooms in the first quarter of 2019. The premium for larger properties is partly due to the rules of applying for residency: the property must be appropriate to the size of the household.
The most desirable rental properties in Monaco are located in the traditional quarter of Monte Carlo. Demand is also high in La Condamine from families wanting to be close to the International School of Monaco before deciding where to buy.
Demand for office spaces in Monaco remains strong. The Principality boasts a diverse and forward-looking economy and attracts a wide range of professional services occupiers. There are 55,427 employees, an increase of 4% since 2017, compared to a population of just 38,800.
In line with other global business centers, startups and tech are a key focus. New businesses in Monaco are exempt from corporate income tax for two years. Additionally, the startup program, MonacoTech, was created in September 2017 and within a year 230 applications from 30 countries were received.
Office space is concentrated in Carré d’Or, considered Monaco’s Central Business District (CBD). The average prime office rent across Monaco was €1,350 per square meter per annum in the first quarter of 2019. However, this can be significantly higher. For example, the offices on the ground floor of the prestigious residence “Le Prince de Galles” are expected to be available by July this year and the asking rent in this building is around €2,900 per square meter per annum.
€1,200/SQM AVERAGE ASKING RESIDENTIAL RENT IN MONACO Q1 2019
Thanks to its history, heritage and busy sporting and social calendar, the Principality has an unrivalled global reputation as a destination for the world’s wealthy. This is unlikely to change and we expect the strong demand for property, both to buy and rent, to continue to flow from all over the globe.
To date, Monaco, unlike many other world cities, has avoided seeing a slow down or even fall in its prime residential market. However, buyers are becoming more price-sensitive so we don’t expect values to increase at the same rate seen in 2018.
Work is well underway on the Portier Cove development, which will add six hectares of new land to the Principality. Additionally, prime projects such as the recently inaugurated One Monte-Carlo and 26 Carré Or (to be delivered later this year) will provide more choice for wealthy buyers. However, these developments will barely make a dent in the supply shortage.
Sophie Chick Contributor
Sophie is the Director World Research of Savills London.
Irene Luke Contributor
Irene has been with Savills Monaco since 2011 and became a co-managing partner in 2012. She is a lawyer by training, having read law at Oxford University, and has practiced in both London and Monaco, working first as a commercial property lawyer, then in the private client field.