Monday, March 22, 2021
Dear Your Overseas Dream Home Reader,
Without the cholera epidemic in the 19th century, the city of Cannes on the French Riviera would not exist.
At least not as the epitome of glitz and glamour it is today.
In 1834, a British Lord Chancellor and his daughter were on their way to Nice, a part of Italy at the time, and a popular winter resort with English aristocrats. However, because of the epidemic in the South of France, the governor of Nice closed the border, forcing the British Lord Chancellor to turn back. Left with no choice, he stopped for the night at an inn on what is today the Rue du Port in Cannes.
The Chancellor was so taken with the village of “Canoïs” that he stayed on and commissioned a magnificent seaside villa.
Two years later, the crême de la crême of London high society began arriving en masse. By 1838, the port was under construction and the spectacular seafront, La Croisette, was underway.
Within a few years, the poor fishing village had been transformed. Palace hotels, vast mansions, grand avenues, and promenades appeared almost overnight. Europe’s high society poured in each summer. Cannes became the coast’s leading resort.
Today, it hosts the most glamorous film festival in the world. The carriages of the 19th century have been replaced by supercars and mega-yachts…the streets lined by upmarket boutiques and restaurants frequented by Hollywood royalty.
My senior researcher Margaret Summerfield was in Cannes recently to check it out. She’s looking for a European home. A place she can base herself where the weather is warm, the food refined, and where she has easy access to an international airport.
Wishing you good real estate investing,
Ronan McMahon, Real Estate Trend Alert
A Shocking Discovery on the Cote d’Azur
By Margaret Summerfield
I made a shocking revelation during my recent stay in Cascais.
When I started this search for a new base in southern Europe, I was looking for a city. I’d lived in cities so long, I reasoned, I wouldn’t cope without culture, shopping and dining on my doorstep.
But the stay in Cascais, just outside Lisbon, made me realize that I don’t want to live in the heart of a busy city, even a small one. There were, quite frankly, too many people.
Although I lived in Panama’s capital city for almost 14 years, I had really only lived in one small part of it, the historic district.
I dined, socialized, banked, and shopped in the historic district. I went to the city proper for the odd appointment—doctor, dentist, attorney, government offices—and occasional trips to the mall to buy things I couldn’t get in the historic district.
I actually lived in a tiny neighborhood, not a city of more than a million people.
At least I figured this out early in my search for a new base. It helps narrow what I’m looking for. It’s crossed some potentials off my shortlist, but broadened the possibilities, too.
I’m writing from Cannes, a byword for jet set glamour on the French Riviera. It’s a small city of 70,000 or so. It feels busy and bustling. It drips money.
There are two marinas, packed with boats. These aren’t destination marinas in the traditional sense, where folks come for a spot of lunch with the boats as a nice setting. These marinas are all about the boats. There are some humble fishing boats and smaller cruisers. But there’s also some whoppers—superyachts. The kind with a large crew, and multiple decks, and helipads. They’re registered in the Bahamas, Luxembourg, Malta…tax havens for the uber rich.
If you don’t own your own superyacht, you can always rent one. Fancy taking some guests? You could treat them to a luxurious experience for $2.1 million per week. Yes, per week.
That’s just the start of your spending spree in Cannes…
I can’t recall anywhere else I’ve visited with so many supercars. Ferraris, Lamborginis, Bentleys, Maseratis—they’re a daily sight. You’ll also hear the growl of vintage racing cars and motorcycles.
Walking along the Bouelvard de la Croisette, in the heart of Cannes, you can face the beach and enjoy the beautiful views of the sparkling-blue Mediterranean Sea, the hills around Cannes, and the majestic Alps in the distance. The beach is home to many private beach clubs, but there are also public areas where you can swim and sunbathe for free.
The boulevard is where folks come to walk, jog, or relax in one of the blue chairs placed along it. You’ll see impeccably tailored men, fashionably dressed women, and lots of tiny pedigree dogs.
If you face towards the city, you’ll see a very different sight. This is where all the designer stores are located. Valentino, Dior, Prada, Gucci, Armani—all the big names in fashion. Go a few blocks up, and you’re on the famous shopping street, Rue d’Antibes. This is where you’ll find the mid-range brands, art galleries and cafés. It’s fun for a browse, or window shopping; you don’t need to buy anything.
There are some things that are very appealing about Cannes. The first is its setting. It’s in the Alpes-Maritimes prefecture, and that tells you all you need to know. You can stand with your feet on a white-sand beach, washed by the gorgeous Mediterranean, with the majestic snow-covered Alps in the background.
The second is the glamour factor. Long associated with the jet set, it feels ritzy and upscale. Tell friends and family you’re in Cannes, and they’re immediately envious.
And, outside of the current lockdowns and restrictions, I imagine it’s a place where it’s hard to run short of things to do. There are art exhibitions and sailing regattas, motor shows and film festivals, a whole calendar of events all year long.
It’s safe, secure, and with fantastic weather. No wonder Europe’s wealthy and well-connected came here for the winter.
But of course there’s a price to pay—which you’ll discover next week when I delve into the real estate market. How much will it cost to get a foothold in this jet set market? Stay tuned…
Your Comments and Questions
Ronan says: We got a lot of feedback over the weekend asking about pricing and financing for our latest Panama deal, so I’ll try and address it here:
Let’s begin with pricing. We can own in the beachfront community of Playa Caracol from just $112,000.
The reason our pricing is so cheap is thanks to what I call “the Great Bailout,” a little-known tax change that means you can get your turn-key condo with a $61,000 saving.
Basically, the Panamanian government is on a massive drive to boost tourism. They want more tourists to come to Panama. They want places for them to stay. And nowhere is better than the unique beachfront community of Playa Caracol.
So, the Panamanian government is effectively footing the bill for a vast chunk of the construction there and the developer is passing his tax savings onto us by way of huge discounts. (In our latest deal, we’re saving $61,000…or $73,000 if you opt for the larger two-bed condos for $134,000.)
As for financing, it’s near impossible for foreigners to get financing in Panama but I’ve negotiated exclusive developer financing for this deal. On delivery you have the option of five years financing on the balance outstanding (50% of price of condo).
This is especially sweet because your condo will be up and running in the rental program for this period. Remember, as word gets out about Caracol the rental income to kick in…40% occupancy at $110 a night for the condos with prices of $112,000 is $16,060.
That’s gross, you will have some costs (mentioned below)…but also plenty of time to enjoy the property for yourself. I figure on a gross of nearly $19,000 a year for the $134,000 condos. Again, based on a 40% occupancy but at $130, which—when word truly gets out about Caracol—could be conservative.
Please continue to send in any questions you have about this deal.