Bidart : an exclusive shoreline
Radia Amar - 08 October 2021
Due to the scarcity of seafront homes, buyers keen to live in this seaside resort are obliged to hike their budgets or accept a location further from the ocean.
Pursuing a career in real estate since 1995, Chantal Marthan runs the Guéthary Immobilier agency which specializes in sales and year-round rentals within a perimeter covering the entire Pays Basque. “In Bidart, our high-end clients are mainly looking for second residences within walking distance of the beach and centre. As apartment blocks are rare in this area, the market is dominated by houses. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the average budget has been around 1 million euros, at least. To acquire a villa of 140 m2 in the centre of Bidart, with a garden but no pool, you can expect to pay a minimum of 1.5 million euros, depending on condition. We sold one this summer. Due to strong demand over the past few months, our stock has fallen from about 50 to less than a dozen properties, with some sellers benefiting from scant availability, and posting prices that are sometimes exorbitant.” Chantal Marthan has noticed a resurgence of couples nearing retirement, from large French cities, in search of a second home in Bidart which could become their year-round residence. “Offering a peaceful natural environment, well-protected, between the ocean and mountains, the French Basque coast is widely seen as a privileged place in which to live and enjoy holidays. In Bidart, the most sought-after locations are those between the Route Départementale and the coast. I encourage owners wanting to sell their properties to get in touch with us, even if they are on the outskirts of Bidart, as buyers are now prepared to consider moving away from the heart of the village in order to live in our region.” A family firm launched in 2009, Artis Immobilier consists of 3 agencies, in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle and Guéthary. According to General Manager Frédéric Diana, demand for Bidart is extremely diverse, but extraordinarily steady. “We focus especially on the quality of the relationships we maintain with each of our clients, to whom we offer recognized expertise. Though from studios to luxury properties, everything sells ! Demand is now such that properties posted at coherent prices find takers straight away. Even so, in Bidart, buyers prefer detached houses, which start from 800,000 €. The Basque coast’s appeal has always generated demand that outstrips supply, though the Covid crisis has accentuated the fact. Our privileged locations and reputation enable us to offer diverse properties for sale, though we are now working under tight conditions and only have a few properties in our stock.” At the end of the first lockdown, Frédéric Diana noted a significant rise in prices. Today, however, the trend is more towards stability. “Two search criteria prove to be decisive : proximity to the coast and a quiet environment : silence is a luxury. Buyers with budgets high enough to acquire oceanfront homes insist on peaceful surroundings. The majority of our clients are young or future retirees, mostly French, aiming to make Bidart their year-round residence. Which constitutes a growing share of the sales market.” Given the rarity of building land, new developments are few and far between, though demand remains strong, fed in particular by buyers unable to lay their hands on older properties.