Marc Lecourt: Keeping It Real
With over 30 years of experience in Monaco’s Luxury Real Estate, tactful Marc Lecourt, CEO of the Groupe SMIR, enlightens us on the actual real estate scenario of Monaco and gives us extensive reasons why investing in Monaco remains a brilliant idea. The IMSEE recently released real estate numbers for 2022. With an increase of 18.2% compared to 2021, this is an exciting moment to be in real estate.
How did the Groupe SMIR experience the market in Monaco in 2022?
As far as we are concerned, the number of transactions was greater in 2021 than in 2022. Nevertheless, 2022 remained an active year for the market in terms of the number of transactions, but it was mostly due to 88 transactions recorded in new development buildings. Approximately 90% of those were signed in the form of a promise over a period of 4 years and in particular at the beginning of construction, but the sale was recorded when those were move-in-ready and the deeds signed.
From a real estate agency point of view, these transactions were counted at the signing of the promise and not at the delivery of the property. We can therefore consider that about 10% of the 88 sales of new estates must have been made in 2022 because some buyers had signed the deed at the time of purchase, not at delivery.
We understand that the new housing market reached new records last year. What would you advise investors; are they better off investing in new or are old properties still holding their value in the market?
This is the advantage of Monaco; the market being scarce in terms of supply, and the demand being so high. The attractive part when buying a new property is that registrations and notary fees are reduced. There is a real market for the two sectors, moreover, the new sector remains nevertheless limited in terms of offers giving also a chance for the older one.
As an expert in the industry, what areas are the top neighborhoods to buy in Monaco?
All the districts of the Principality have developed strongly. Fontvielle, Jardin Exotique, and Monaco Ville have different attractiveness that meets several categories of residents (family, entrepreneur, retiree, etc.). If I really have to give a specific answer, I would say that, like in all the big capitals, the Carré d’Or remains the most prestigious district of the Principality, soon it will probably be extended with the undergoing offshore urban expansion.
Did the demand from international clients increase as the US dollar paced tight with the euro last year?
Of course, the global economic situation has an impact on the real estate market in general. However, I think that the greatest attraction of Monaco remains safety and quality of life. Some will say that the quality of life due to the number of very large construction sites is currently impacted, but the geographical location, the climate, and the development of cultural events remain the main reasons for investment in Monaco. To this must be added a constant improvement of the services of the Monegasque Administration. Moreover, when the world’s economic situation is unstable, Monaco remains a safe haven in a country where the political situation due to its institutions is constantly stable.
The square meter in Monaco has reached 50,000 euros. Are we to expect the price for square meters to go up from here, or have we reached its peak?
I have been doing this job for more than 30 years, and I have lost count of the number of times I have heard: “We have reached the highest price per m²; it will not go up…” Even today, we have some exclusive properties at 100,000 euros per m². The market in Monaco has always been stable or rising, even in 2008 at the height of the subprime mortgage crisis. I don’t have a crystal ball, but if we look at the figures, Monaco is a solid, reliable market that has stood the test of time.
What are your predictions for the real estate market in 2023?
Since the beginning of the year, the market has been very active. We had many newcomers last year, most of whom started their installation with a rental. 100% of new residents will certainly not choose an acquisition, but a large number of them will be interested in it, so I am quite positive for 2023.
Can you tell us a little bit about the Groupe SMIR?
We are a family group whose main values are honesty, seriousness, the concept of service, and professionalism. We had two agencies which we put together and created Groupe SMIR, which is under the supervision of my right-hand, Mèlanie Gouchon, and her team. I am very attentive to the legal training of the company’s employees and their state of mind. We have always wanted to remain discreet. Discretion is a fundamental concept for me, this is perhaps one of the first interviews I have given a magazine.