▲ €90,900 – Monaco's ultra-prime price per square metre
Monaco is attractive to a broad base of global occupiers and investors. Prime residential is in high demand
Monaco is a sovereign city-state of just 2 sq km in area and home to the world’s highest concentration of wealthy individuals. A truly cosmopolitan city with a Mediterranean character, it is both a global centre of commerce and a leisure destination.
Monaco has low taxes and a business friendly environment and plays host to numerous prestigious international sporting events, contributing to a profile that sees it punch well above its weight on a global stage. These factors make it attractive to a broad base of global occupiers and investors, and real estate here is in high demand.
Monaco has experienced very strong and sustained economic growth since 2010, with official figures reporting 9.6% and 7.2% GDP growth in 2013 and 2014 respectively. This is in contrast to lacklustre performance in neighbouring France, while the Eurozone as a whole has contracted over the same period. Monaco recorded a budget surplus for the third year running, with a current account balance of €25.7m.
An important centre of employment in the region, Monaco is a net importer of labour. As of Q4 2015, the total number of people employed stood at 50,533, a number that has grown by 5.8% since 2012. This compares to Monaco’s permanent population of 37,800.
Thanks to its busy sporting calendar, Monaco has a strong tourist industry and hotel occupancy is high. Some 535,915 rooms were rented in 2015, the equivalent to 14 rooms per capita.
With the iconic Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo now under renovation, scheduled to last four years, Monaco has lost 7% of its occupancy capacity. This has put upward pressure on the average price paid per occupied room, up by 1.3%.
Monaco is part of a network of global destinations where wealthy individuals choose to own homes. A property in Monaco is frequently paired with a home in London or New York, the major world city complementing the low-tax Principality.
The preservation of wealth is an increasingly important consideration for footloose wealthy individuals, and Monaco’s low tax environment is attractive. In this regard the Principality does not levy any income tax, wealth tax or capital gains tax. Instead, it uses social insurance, payable by both employers and employees, and VAT payable on goods and services, to raise income.
Corporations are exempt from tax – except where more than 25% of turnover is generated outside Monaco, in which case a rate of 33.33% applies.
With a high density of UHNWIs and HNWIs, Monaco also has a very strong private banking presence. Twenty-one banks are listed in the Principality and several more agencies of foreign banks are located there.
Residential demand from a broad, global base, coupled with restricted supply, means that Monaco remains one of the most expensive destinations for ultra-prime property in the world – only Hong Kong tops it at €109,800psm compared to Monaco’s €90,900psm (Figure 2).
Prime prices in Monaco remained stable in 2015 at €36,000psm in local currency. While US Dollar denominated (and pegged) markets have become relatively more expensive due to a strengthening of that currency, Monaco still offers currency savings to dollar buyers, in spite of some strengthening of the euro since November 2015.
FIGURE 1Ultra-prime prices: prices per square metre around the world
Source: Savills World Research
The Monaco Grand Prix
The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious – and demanding – motor racing events in the world. First held in 1929, it has been a permanent fixture on the F1 calendar since 1955. The annual event has a seating capacity for 37,000, nearly equivalent to Monaco’s entire population, while up to 200,000 more watch from balconies and other vantage points. The Grand Prix is estimated to generate over €100 million for the Principality each year.
The 2016 F1 season features five city tracks. In Monaco, prime two bed apartments in proximity to the circuit have a typical price of €8,500,000, nearly nine times the cost of comparable properties in proximity to the Singapore track, the Marina Bay Street Circuit. At 3,337m in length, the Circuit de Monaco runs through the heart of Monte Carlo and La Condamine, some of Monaco’s most exclusive districts. If the equivalent track area was measured as dwelling floorspace it would be worth €3 billion.
FIGURE 2F1 Grand Prix 2016 season city circuits
Source: Savills World Research