Biarritz : Head for the country!

While offers are becoming ever rarer in the coastal area and prices soar, buyers are rediscovering the charms of nature, not far from the town and beaches.

An independent group affiliated to Christie’s International Real Estate, Côte Ouest Immobilier, presided by Nicolas Descamps, has been based on the French Basque coast for the past 10 years in three agencies situated in Biarritz, Guéthary and Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

"Buyers who contact us are often in search of a high-end property. They nevertheless give priority to its location and the quality of its appointments, rather than its price. Whether in the case of a studio or a large residence enjoing views of the sea, our proposals always correspond to the client's search criteria. In Biarritz, the most highly-prized neighbourhoods are still those of Saint-Charles, Les Halles and the Côte des Basques, all within walking distance of shops and the beaches."

Nicolas Descamps, Côte Ouest Immobilier, affilié Christie’s. (05 59 26 82 60)

Nicolas Descamps explains that rare availabilities - characterizing the area for a very long time - can be put down to several factors. "Our market is very narrow as it covers the coastal strip which stretches, at most, up to 10 km inland. Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a significant rise in turnover, in terms of both the level of values and the number of sales. A considerable share of the properties sold are intended for use as second or semi-main homes, or for full occupancy when retirement is on the cards. To a great extent, French buyers have replaced the foreign clientele we used to deal with, and distinguish themselves by acquiring properties priced at several million euros."

Specialising in the top end of property markets in the Basque country, Paris, Bordeaux, Provence and on the Côte d’Azur, Benoît Verdet opened the Prestant agency with the intention of giving precedence to quality advice rather than a purely commercial approach.

"Previously, demand mostly focused on urban or seaside properties allowing owners to be within walking distance of the town centre or the beaches. The pandemic has restored their letters of nobility to properties in the nearby countryside, especially as these residences enable buyers to enjoy a peaceful, natural environment while still being close to the town and shore. On the French Basque Coast, our chosen market, prices of apartments in Biarritz range from 6,000 to15,000 € per sq.m. A house benefiting from a garden and within walking distance of the centre or beach will fetch over 10,000 € per sq.m. Finally, front-row apartments with views, on the top floor and benefiting from a terrace, can attain 20,000 € per sq.m. The market in the nearby countryside has also become much more attractive, as evidenced by Arcangues, Arbonne and Ahetze, and the area around Saint-Jean-de-Luz. By way of example, in these sectors, a house of 200 m2 offering grounds of 2,000 m2 in peaceful surroundings will easily exceed 1 million euros as long as it does not suffer from any nuisances."

Benoît Verdet, Prestant Singular Properties. (05 82 80 60 80)

On the market for new properties, Benoît Verdet points to some similarities with that of older homes, ie. demand targetting properties with high-quality appointments. There again, a top-floor apartment endowed with a terrace and parking place will be worth over 10,000 € per sq.m. In this context marked by scarce availabilities, rarity fixes the price and faultless properties attain remarkably high levels, on the markets for both old and new properties.

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