July 13, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Owning a Piece of the the French Riviera

When visiting the French Riviera for the first time, tourists are stunned by the beautiful beaches and views, the unforgettable French cuisine and the charm of the numerous medieval villages dotting the countryside. For many on the Westside, the popular Côte D’Azur is a habitual destination. In fact, 30 percent of all tourists visiting St. Tropez, Cannes, Nice and Monaco are from the United States.

Jack Westen, a Nice-based realtor catering to Americans, has lived there for more than 15 years. In that time, he has seen an increase in the number of U.S. tourists returning to rent or even buy a home on the Riviera.

“Many rent by the week, but others have realized that it is more advantageous to buy a vacation home and rent it out when they are not staying in it,†he says.

If you’re planning on coming back every year, renting a house or an apartment might turn out to be costly. A week on the Riviera costs anywhere from $1,500 a week for a tiny apartment in Nice to $30,000 for a house with a pool in St. Tropez.

Westen has noticed a pattern since he started his real estate business. “Americans look for certain amenities, which come with a price. They’ll want to be close to the ocean and have a pool,†he says. “But at this rate, if you spend a week or two in St. Tropez every year, you will soon spend a fortune.â€

Westen presents another alternative: Invest in a vacation home. It may sound like a risk, but Westen says it can be the investment of a lifetime and, he insists, it is a lot easier than it sounds.

“Buying in France is not difficult at all,†he says. “Once you’ve found your dream place, you just need to be able to make a bank transfer to a local broker. A French bank can even lend you up to 60 percent of your mortgage, if necessary.â€

Having invested in a property, there are many property management agencies that can manage your place, renting it to vacationers to bring income that will help pay the mortgage.

Still, some may wonder if it is wise to invest now, with a weak dollar compared to the euro.

“It could still be lucrative,†Westen says. “The real estate market is still on the rise on the French Riviera and it is not likely to go down anytime soon. And if you decide to rent out your property, you will be paid in euros.â€

For more information on renting or buying a home on the French Riviera, visit www.PyramidFrenchRiviera.com

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