Is Med Property Finally Affordable?

15 June 2009 By Louisa Cowan

The European property market may have lagged behind the U.S. in the price slump – there was even speculation that it was immune to the effects of the credit crisis – but the evidence presented today tells a different story. With home prices tumbling, we now are witnessing a change in the European market.

In two of the yachting community’s Mediterranean hubs, Mallorca and the Côte d’Azur, property prices have fallen and there is an opportunity for yachties to snap up a bargain and make a real investment in bricks and mortar.

“The market in Mallorca and the Côte d’Azur has been in the doldrums for quite some time,” says property agent Anita Toscani from Prestige Property Group. “It is definitely a buyer’s market right now.”

Mallorca did well at fending off the effects of the credit crunch on its property market at first, staying buoyant while mainland Spain was struggling. However, with mortgage finance drying up, developers are starting to feel the strain.

The strengthening euro against the British pound had a devastating effect on the tourist industry with figures for July and August last year taking a severe hit. Last autumn, there was a sharp decline in overseas buyers and developers started to drop their prices dramatically, as well as reportedly accepting offers up to 20 percent below the original asking price.

“There are still some vendors who are waiting to see what price they can achieve, but those who need to sell are now having to accept lower offers,” Toscani says. “Last year that simply wasn’t the case – prices were still holding their own. There has been a definite change in the market.”

It appears that the lower end of the market is where better bargains are to be had and a cash buyer has a real advantage when negotiating on price. Find the vendors who need to sell and you are likely to get the price you wish to pay. The middle and upper sections of the market are looking more stable at the moment with many properties being owned as second homes. Proprietors simply do not need an urgent sale.

The South of France has a similar story to tell. For the first time in years, yacht crew may be able to afford the more realistic prices beginning to emerge along the Côte d’Azur. Whether you intend to buy a home or an investment property, the opportunity is there. Towns like Golfe Juan are experiencing property agent closures and property prices are dropping by 20 to 25 percent.

“There are plenty of properties on the market both at the high and low end of the scale, but it does seem that it's the high-end market that's raising its game slightly now,” says Toscani. “At the lower end, buyers are still being a little wary when in fact they could be picking up some extremely good deals.”

So where should crew go for if they have the resources and decide to invest in a home in the Mediterranean – the more relaxed island lifestyle of Mallorca or the glitzy Côte d’Azur?

Toscani says, “It is obviously up to you, but I would say the South of France is definitely the best option. The choice is huge and the South of France never goes out of fashion.”

To start exploring your options visit