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Côte d’Azur on a budget

PUBLISHED: 16:18 02 August 2013 | UPDATED: 12:49 05 January 2016

Sanary sur mer

Sanary sur mer

Archant

Emily Southcombe explores the sought-after Cote d’Azur coastline

Alongside Paris, the Côte d’Azur is known to be one of the most expensive places in France to buy property. Many people are however drawn to the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region and there is still good value to be found if you are willing to compromise. Here’s a round-up of some of the best properties in my favourite areas.

ALPES-MARITIMES

The very well-known seaside towns of Nice and Cannes are in the popular Alpes-Maritimes department. Notaires de France recorded average resale prices for properties in Nice in 2012 at between €2,860 and €4,840/m². Luxury villas and apartments, however, can go well beyond this to in excess of €10,000/m²: a 500m² six-bedroom villa in the sought-after Mont-Boron area is currently for sale at €6.6m (€13,200/m²).

As Nice airport is based within the city those looking for proximity to an airport and the amenities offered by a large town – but who do not want to break the bank – may choose an apartment in one of the less expensive areas of Nice, further away from the Promenade des Anglais and the seafront. For example, a 58m² two-bedroom apartment in the Cimiez area has an asking price of €225,000, making it €3,879/m².

COASTAL VAR

The Var department, which starts just to the west of Cannes and stretches back inland into Provence, has lower average prices than in Alpes-Maritimes. In addition to the tourism industry which is dominant in Alpes-Maritimes, Var also has a dynamic wine- production industry.

The most expensive town in Var is the glamorous port of St-Tropez, where prices in 2012 averaged from €6,640 to €9,460/m², but as with Nice the average is brought up by luxury properties. One 400m² seven-bedroom villa with a pool on the outskirts of St-Tropez is currently on the market for €9.5million, a staggering €23,750/m². There are, however, lesser known towns and resorts in Var which are well worth considering.

FREJUS

Some 32km from Cannes-Mandelieu airport between Cannes and St-Tropez is the coastal commune of Fréjus. Initially founded by Julius Caesar it is a pleasant mix of Roman ruins, a medieval city and a seaside resort.

Here prices are around €2,500-€6,000/m². The higher end of this bracket is taken by villas and new-build properties, such as a 65m² two-bedroom apartment with terrace and sea views, available for €283,000 (€4,353/m²). A 66m² two-bedroom resale property within a leisure complex in Fréjus is also currently on the market for €190,000 (€2,879/m²). With on-site facilities such as a shared swimming pool, this kind of property would be ideal for people searching for a bolt-hole which could also bring in rental income.

SANARY-SUR-MER

If you are looking for a picturesque port but do not want to pay St-Tropez prices then Sanary-sur-Mer may offer just what you are looking for. The town is as beautiful as St-Tropez but has fewer yachts and more fishing boats, as it is an ancient natural harbour and 12 local fishermen still sell the day’s catch at the port.

Situated just 35km to the west of Toulon-Hyères International airport, Sanary is very accessible, and Alexandra Juster from Côte-d’Azur Home Select points out that “property prices are still lower than the swankier parts of the Côte d’Azur at €3,000-€7,000/m² with price variation depending on proximity to the waterfront and whether or not the property has sea views”.

A good example is a 68m² two-bedroom house with a garden in Sanary-sur-Mer for €295,000 (€4,338/m²).

HAUT-VAR

If being very close to the beach is not a priority for you then you might consider a property further inland. A 45-minute drive from the nearest beach in St-Maxime brings you to Lorgues, a beautiful town situated in Haut-Var.

Prices inland are lower on average than the coastal areas and for lovers of peace and quiet, being inland will help you escape the hustle and bustle of the coast in summertime, while still having the benefit of trips to the beach.

Lorgues is situated among the Provençal vineyards within the Côtes de Provence wine region and is surrounded by olive groves and steeped in medieval history. If you fancy building your own home, in Cabasse close to Lorgues a 769m² plot (connected to water/sewage) is on the market for €135,000.

COME ON DOWN

Due to the economic crisis it is increasingly a buyer’s market in France, and so it is the ideal time to search for good properties where vendors have reduced the asking price.

Those who are drawn to the beautiful turquoise sea and relaxed lifestyle of the south of France should therefore not discount the Côte d’Azur on price grounds, but rather cast their eye over the areas offering better value for money and drive a hard bargain.

Emily Southcombe is the founder of Tricolore Property Services, providing property search and rental services across France www.tricoloreservices.com

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