Glitz plus authenticity” is how Alexandre Filippini, of the Immobilia agency, sums up the longevity of the Saint-Tropez success story. Sonia Crulli, from the John Taylor agency, lists the local nationalities: “Belgians, Brits, Dutch people, Italians, Germans, Russians, and the Swiss,” all mad about the sun and the beaches. Packed with purchasing power, the average age of these buyers is “between 40 and 60,” observes Sonia Crulli. “Saint-Tropez” strong point is its very long season with lots of sporting and cultural events,” says Alexandre Filippini. “It allows many of our clients to settle for long periods.”
Saint-Tropez and its wealthy clients
Unaffected by a volatile economy, these peninsula clients can line up budgets of “€2 to 4 million on average, and up to €10 million for a sea view,” says Alexandre Filippini. Despite received ideas, Saint-Tropez wealth in is not always that ostentatious. Plenty of people escape to the private estates around Sainte-Anne, Capron, and Tahiti, or the parks of Saint-Tropez, where it’s hard to find a house for under €15 million. At the same time, there is renewed interest for the village itself, where the fishermen’s houses are highly valued. “The noise, lack of parking space and land are offset by the charm of the place, and being close to shops and where the action is,” says Alexandre Filippini. Which explains the 15 to 20% a year explosion in prices. “A luxury apartment that went for €10, 000 per sq. m. last January recently found a buyer prepared to pay €12,000 per sq. m.”
Sainte-Maxime: unbeatable views
Although the village of Sainte-Maxime does not have the same global fame as Saint-Tropez across the bay, it still has an unbeatable view over of the town, with a fabulous south-facing exposure. “At 12,500 inhabitants, it’s a genuine little town with a life of its own throughout the year,” says Cyril Baudic, who manages Sainte- Maxime Immobilier. “This means it has a more varied range of property, with 65% of individual houses and slightly more secondary than all-year residences.” Northern Europeans and Italians lead the foreign contingent that accounts for about half his clients. The Sainte-Maxime market has now been drawn into the slipstream of near-by Saint Tropez’ rising prices. “It increased by 143% between 2000 and 2006,” says Cyril Baudic. “Business remains steady, though prices have grown more reasonable, making it harder for overpriced properties to sell.”
A sought-after neighbourhood
Sémaphore Hill, overlooking the village centre, is still the most sought-after neighbourhood. “Thirty-year old villas needing some work and a sea view still sell at around a million euros, and you need €2 to 6 million for a renovated villa,” continues Cyril Baudic. In the old village, “a completely renovated 70 sq. m apartment on the top floor of a village house recently sold for €400,000.” To the west in the Guerrevieille neighbourhood, the estate agent gives the example of a “fine, renovated villa with a pool and a great view that went on sale for €1.8 million.” Plots of land are getting rarer and now start “at €5,000 the sq. m., depending on the location,” says Sonia Crulli.