Cap d’Antibes, unique on the Riviera
Boasting the lowest population density on the Côte d’Azur, this sublime cape of 3.7 km2 is one of the most highly-prized addresses in the Alpes-Maritimes. Its success, to which 1,460 year-round members of the Happy Few will testify, can lay claim to rare longevity.
From the second half of the 19th century, White Russians and British aristocrats yielded to the song of sirens on the luxuriant cape. Starting with the son of Queen Victoria, who fell for the charm of the magnificent stretches of sand in Juan-les-Pins back in 1880. The peninsula then witnessed the appearance of luxious villas such as Eilenroc, which owes its architecture to the famous Charles Garnier, or the Châteaux of La Garoupe and La Croë, once the property of King Edward VII. The Lérins Islands lie to the west in the Bay of Cannes, while the Mercantour mountains hover in the far distance to the east. In 1856, Gustave Thuret set his signature to a real botanical garden. Though it fell to the Hôtel du Cap-Eden Roc to play the part of the cape’s international ambassador.
“Buyers are mainly from northern Europe,” says Fredrik Lilloe of the Knight Frank agency, “with the British topping the list. Russian clients have virtually disappeared from our files, and Middle Easterners prefer Cannes. They are all looking for holiday residences.” On the cape, owners are having a hard time lowering their prices, as others have done in the Festival City for example, preferring to take their properties off the market. The same is true, in fact, for Cap Ferrat and Saint-Tropez. A property at a fair price nevertheless finds a taker without too much trouble. Under the threshold of 2 M €, a 4-bedroomed villa facing the Deep Blue Sea, in small grounds with a pool, 350 metres the Keller Beach, has been subject to a provisional sales agreement since the beginning of February. Among last year’s sales, Frederik Lilloe mentions a property of 400 m2 in need of renovation, in grounds of 1,200 m2 on the highly-prized west side of the cape, acquired for 5.3 M € by a Scandinavian buyer ready to take on extensive work. Another house of 300 m2 with a pool and panoramic sea view, in grounds of 1,500 m2 on the west side of the cape, found a new owner for 7 M €. Depending on the property’s location, view and condition, prices per sq. metre range from 20,000 to 35,000 €. Over the past four years, the very top end of the market has competed with Cannes and its highly appealing seasonal market. Sales over and above 15 M € are now rare on Cap d’Antibes. And they sometimes fall outside the classic advertising channels, as both sellers and buyers are very keen to maintain the utmost discretion.
“The core of demand lies between 1 and 4 M €,” says Aurélien Monnier of the Agence du Cap d’Antibes. “Beyond 5 M €, transactions are definitely much rarer. The market is stable, with a clear trend towards villas from150 to 200 m2, preferably benefiting from a sea view.” Frightened off by offers they consider too low, owners have the means to wait and put off the sale of their homes. Properties are thus removed from the stock and potential buyers are confronted by relative scarcity. Houses of 250 m2 in good condition in grounds of 2,000 m2 opening out to the Mediterranean provide a much wider choice in Cannes than on the cape. The market for apartments is even more exceptional. “Just behind the Hôtel Belles Rives, I am currently marketing “La Villa Chêne Roc”, a small development of 15 apartments from 90 to 150 m2, extended by generous terraces facing Juan-les-Pins, the Lérins Islands and Cannes,” says Aurélien Monnier. “Prices per sq. metre range from 10,000 to 35,000 €, with delivery scheduled for the 3rd quarter of 2019. Nine lots are still available.”
According to Franck Salaün of Cap d’Antibes International : “Americans are staging a comeback, even though their impact on sales volume is still limited”. The connection between this address on the Côte d’Azur and the USA is historic, almost fusional. From the long stay here of the iconic Fitzgeralds from 1922 to 1924 to the legendary constructions of Barry Dierks and evenings enlivened by jazzmen, fondness on the part of Americans has always existed. To the credit of the architect from Pittsburgh : the villas Lilliput, Zéro, Sous le Vent, Le Clos de la Garoupe, Aigue-Marine, La Folie and the famous Hier and Aujourd’hui. This wave of construction undertaken in the first part of the 20th century bears witness to this clientele so specific to the cape, then for winter holidays, now drawn by the charm of summers on the Riviera. Currently, the British are particularly active on the market. Notions of a quality lifestyle and personal enjoyment are underlying considerations. Nature here is protected, Port Vauban, not far away, attracts fans of yachting. Cap d’Antibes has not yet experienced an unfurling wave of construction, as seen on the highly speculative Cap Ferrat. The market here is more stable, less buoyant. Many owners make their properties available for seasonal rentals. A 2-week stay costs from 20,000 to 30,000 €. A villa up for sale at around 7 M € can be rented for about 60,000 € per month. Cap d’Antibes remains a blue-chip investment, a real label synonymous with peacefulness and bucolic nature, so close and yet so far from the bustle of large towns on the Côte d’Azur.