A five-story penthouse in Monaco’s tallest building is just one of several new properties springing up in the tiny European principality to cater for the surge of the super-rich moving to Monaco.
The number of people living in Monaco with net assets above $30 million has soared by 62 percent in the past decade with as many as 2,200 of the country’s 40,000-strong population now worth over $10 million, according to data from market researchers, New World Wealth. This growth a factor in an average property price spike of 27.8 percent over the past five years, according to data from Knight Frank and the Monaco Statistics Office.
Property prices in the 2 kilometer wide state are among the world’s most eye-goggling, with super-prime values now approaching 100,000 euro ($111,000) per square meter. On average, 1 million euros will only buy you 20 square meters in Monaco, whereas in other prime locations you could snag more for your money – 23 square meters in Hong Kong, 27 square meters in London and around 30 square meters in New York.
Russian buyers are now heading back into the most expensive end of the market after a hiatus, joined by Chinese and Middle Eastern buyers, according to partner and head of Knight Frank’s Monaco department, Edward de Mallard Morgan, who adds that their tastes are part of the driving force behind the pick-up in developments seen in the recent years.
“Russian buyers are active at the higher end of the market (10 million-plus euros) and have a preference for high specification new build properties.”
“Monaco has had to react to keep pace with other leading European and global cities. The regeneration of the area around the casino gardens in the Care d’Or and the new land reclamation project show the principality is making strides to update itself and to provide more modern buildings and infrastructure,” he added.
The five-storey penthouse on offer at Tour Odéon may fit the bill. With its 3,500 square meter floorplan, infinity pool and waterslide, its developers claim its currently secret selling value will reach “well above” the €300 million price tag being bandied around in the press.
Meanwhile, at the lower end of the scale – below €10 million– it’s the British, Italians, Swiss and northern Europeans who compete for Monaco’s limited stock.
Attracted by Monaco’s fiscal regime which repealed income tax in 1869 and has no capital gains, wealth or property taxes, the increased focus on tax over the past decade from other European countries’ governments, has driven yet more of the wealthy to the landlocked state.
The U.K. announced upcoming changes to its non-domiciled regime in July 2015 which could result in many internationally connected persons paying significantly more tax, Belgium has also recently announced an overhaul of its tax system in favour of increasing the burden on capital.
And although France’s government rapidly announced compelling breaks in its tax regime following the Brexit vote in a bid to attract those considering leaving the U.K., its punitive wealth tax introduced in 2006 has driven many away in the intervening years.
While Monaco’s property buyer base is shifting towards a slightly younger demographic, the tax question remains top of mind.
According to Knight Frank’s de Mallard Morgan, “These younger buyers are coming for the same fiscal reasons as the older generations.”
“Younger buyers tend to be from Northern Europe but also from the Middle East and Russia/the CIS. The profile of younger buyers is mixed, their wealth has often emanated from the technology and finance industries or from sport and the media/entertainment business. ”
Source: CNBC, author Gemma Acton
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