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Spotlight: Monaco and the real estate market

Date: 06 Dec 2022

Silvia Ricciardi

Citywealth interviewed experts to analyse new trends and available opportunities in the real estate market and understand what impact the current economic situation is having on Monaco.

Monaco

Monaco has always attracted individuals and businesses, being considered a prolific place where to relocate and make money. Are more UHNWIs moving to Monaco at present, comparing numbers to the past? Citywealth interviewed experts based in Monaco to analyse new trends and available opportunities in the real estate market and understand the impact of the current economic situation, mentioning also issues ultra-high-net-worth individuals are currently facing and possible solutions to offer them.

Monaco and the economic global crisis

The current economic situation is having an impact on all sectors, but the real estate market in Monaco hasn’t been negatively affected by it as UHNW individuals are still active. Irene Luke, Partner, Savills Monaco confirms: “The quarterly IMSEE stats bulletins show that, despite the current global crisis, the Monaco real estate market has held up well. Data is available only for the first 6 months, but the stats show that in terms of new build sales, the first six months of 2022 saw 33 sales and the volume and value for the first six months of 2022 exceeded the volume and value for the whole of 2021.

In terms of re sales, 223 sales occurred up to end June 2022, 9 more than the first 6 months of 2021, and in terms of value, 2022 saw an increase of 45.8% more than 2021. The market has continued to be active since July 2022 and we are confident that it will remain so.”

William Easun, Managing Partner at Tempest Legal Services Monaco SARL generally comments: “People are leaving their current places of residency. This might involve the UK (a major theme circulating at the moment sees the UK ‘totally demoralised by Brexit’) or elsewhere in Europe and may be driven partly by the fear of the consequences of recession, which can lead to civil unrest, breakdown of law and order and issues in the public health system.”

Birgitta Bondonno, Director at Moore Stephens Services S.A.M., who specialises in tax and estate planning, adds: “The taxes associated with the ownership or disposal of real estate in Monaco are minimal, with no wealth tax, annual stamp duty or council tax. There is no tax on rental income or the capital gains derived from Monaco real estate. Those who are tax resident outside of Monaco need to check the tax liability in their home country. Succession and gift duties apply in Monaco, but transfers between immediate family members are exempt. A top rate of 16% applies on transfers between unrelated parties by gift or on death.”

Is Monaco still a nice place to relocate?

“Monaco remains an attractive place to relocate to in terms of geographical location, climate, infrastructure, healthcare, education and of course fiscal policies,” comments Irene Luke. 

“Monaco has been a lovely place to relocate to throughout the period I have lived here (over 40 years),” says William Easun, but he stresses how reality and day-to-day life is different from stereotypes. “Nobody has managed to capture what we value as long-term residents of Monaco. Not only it’s the second smallest country in the world set in what is geographically one of the most beautiful parts of Europe, with access to France and Italy nearby, but its tiny size and excellent infrastructure make it one of the safest and well-run places on the planet.

It is not about tax savings. It is rightly very expensive, but it gives people an excellent quality of life and a great sense of personal security. Monaco residents do not take advantage of what is on offer. They pay for it because it has a value. UHNW individuals as well as other people value our true assets, which are law and order, a sense of pride, our royal family, government and administration, a great health care system, a police force that has earned the public’s huge respect, a calmness without hysteria, respect for people, all ‘old values’ which we take in high consideration in Monaco.”

And looking at the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, William highlights how it hasn’t had an impact on Monaco. “As much as we deplore the war in Ukraine, it has had no impact on Monaco. There are some unquantifiable elements of the war which have certainly contributed to the general malaise in the world, consequently we can see effects on inflation, global economies and people, hence their understandable fear of the consequences of turmoil. Security of the individual is a crucial theme, and it’s very important to people, and moving to Monaco can be seen as a need to find and retain that desired security.” 

UHNW and HNW individuals currently have an array of opportunities considering the real estate sector in Monaco. Irene Luke points out that “looking at the residential real estate sector, there are still opportunities to buy in some of the exciting new builds in Monaco, such as Mareterra and Bay House. In the re-sale sector, there are properties to be purchased but it is increasingly difficult to find large apartments. And since the supply chain is always limited here, there is a constant demand, which means pricing remains high.”

William dwells upon the overall reasons why UHNW individuals should relocate and is firm in saying that “being able to live, work, wake up and go to sleep in a country which protects people and their families with infrastructure that works is priceless and is not offered everywhere.”

UHNW trends and issues in the real estate market: our experts think that…

… we are definitely seeing younger people setting up residence in Monaco, coming with young families and using local schools and, on a separate note, they are also very active in crypto. The Monaco real estate market is small but quite complex in that pricing can change enormously from area to area, building to building, and even floor to floor. We always try to educate clients in this respect and ensure they pay the right price per m² for the right property, no matter what their budget is.

Irene Luke, Savills Monaco

… UHNWIs are consistently being required to demonstrate (for a variety of technical reasons) that they are resident in a particular place. The day of the ‘nomad’ is over. Monaco provides an opportunity for people who make the conscious choice to settle in a particular place because it is a ‘year-round’ country  not affected by typhoons and drought, offering a 700+ year old history, schools, health care, culture, weather, law and order, serenity and easy access to sea and mountains found nowhere else on earth.

William Easun, Tempest Legal Services Monaco

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