Monaco - Accommodation & Property.
If you are given the option of choosing when to relocate to Monaco, avoid the tourist season, especially during April and May (Grand Prix), when rental rates and property prices for accommodation in Monaco can easily go up by two or three times the original rates. It can also be difficult to find suitably vacant properties during this time.
If you are familiar with renting in Europe, it is possible for you to secure your own accommodation in Monaco or its surrounds without the need to engage a real estate agent. Most advertisements in the newspapers are in French. Some phrases commonly seen in advertisements for accommodation are: chambre (ch, chbr) refers to bedroom; chauffage refers to heating (chauffage du gaz refers to gas heating), frais d'agence inclus or FAI means agency fees are included; standing (std) means luxury or high quality building. The internet is another source of classifieds to get a sense of the rental rates in and around Monaco.
In Monaco, the prime residential area is in Monte Carlo, especially near the famous Casino. The most prestigious and expensive real estate in Monaco is the Carre d'Or (literally translates to mean 'Square of Gold'), near the Place du Casino. East or west of Monte Carlo, rental rates and property prices drop slightly by 10-15 per cent. The most affordable option for expatriates is the Fontvieille Principality, south of Monte Carlo and further south of the old city. Fontvieille is developed as the economic (center commercial) and industrial district of Monaco. Carrefour is located in Fontvieille.
If the rent in Monaco is too high for your budget, you can consider living in the border French towns. A large number of expatriates work in Monaco but live in the bordering towns of France (e.g. Beausoleil, Cap d'Ail, Eze or Roquebrune Cap Martin). Some of the apartments are literally walking distance from Monaco's borders – Beausoleil is just next to Monte Carlo, and Cap d'Ail is closer to Fontvieille, further down south in Monaco. (There is a joke among the French living in Beausoleil that Beausoleil is where people who work in Monaco live.) These French towns offer good quality apartments with great sea views but at a much more affordable rate than the rent for a similar apartment in Monaco. Luxurious apartments and villas with swimming pools are also available, at a fraction of the prices to be paid in Monaco.
Included in some rental charges are water. Other fees include maintenance fees (in some cases, heating is included in the maintenance fees). Be prepared to have about three months' rent in advance as a deposit. Commission for real estate agent's fee is usually 10% of annual rent.
If you are considering purchasing a property in Monaco, note that property prices in Monaco have been rising steadily, despite the global economy downturn of 2008. According to a 2008 Global Property Guide Research, property prices in Monaco have increased by almost 10% in the past 30 months. Many foreigners, in particular the British and the Russians, choose to invest in property in Monaco, although the rental yields for property owners remain one of the lowest in Europe, due to the high cost of purchasing a property. The main draw for investing in property is its zero taxes on capital gains for its residents.
While there are no restrictions for foreigners who wish to purchase a property in Monaco, do not forget to include the total transaction costs to buy or sell a property in Monaco. The total transaction costs include VAT, real estate transfer tax, real estate agents' fee, and they typically add another 18-20 per cent of the value of the property. Total transaction costs are considered one of the highest in Europe.