Monaco at a Glance
Moving to Monaco
Finding affordable accommodation is going to be one of the biggest challenges for expats who are planning on moving to Monaco. The Principality of Monaco is, after the Holy See, the second smallest country worldwide and only about the same size as the Central Park in New York City. Add to that a population of nearly 37,000 people in 2013, and you get the most densely populated independent country in the world, as well as a consequently competitive housing market.
Expats moving to Monaco will find that there are three different rental markets in Monaco, which are fully, partly or not at all controlled by the state.
The State Housing and Liberalized Sectors
Dwellings in the state housing sector are owned by the state government and controlled by the State Property Authority. In 2013, there were about 2,870 such dwellings in Monaco, with rents fixed in accordance to their location and area in Monaco.
The purpose of the state housing sector is to offer affordable accommodation for Monegasque citizens, and allocations are made based on a number of different criteria. It is therefore extremely unlikely that expats moving to Monaco will end up in one of these buildings.
Rents in the liberalized sector are similarly controlled, and apartments are given out with a priority for so-called “protected persons”. These are first and foremost Monegasque nationals, close family members (e.g. spouses or children) of citizens, or residents who have lived in Monaco for forty consecutive years or more.
The Free Rental Market
When you are moving to Monaco but aren’t looking to buy, your best if not only option is thus the free rental market. You can try looking for rental listings online or get some help for your move to Monaco from a local real estate agent.
Regardless of how you find your accommodation, be prepared for steep rental costs! Rental prices typically start at about EUR 60/m², depending on the area and on what is included, from swimming pools to fully furnished rooms.
Buying Real Estate
There are no legal barriers that hinder foreigners from buying property in Monaco. However, not everybody is able to afford real estate in this city-state by the sea. In 2013, for instance, official statistics on re-sales in the principality showed an average purchase price of EUR 32,000 per m². Note that this is an average!
For newly build properties, the mean selling price was EUR 6 million. However, the Monegasque Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies already takes care to point out that these sales were mostly luxurious apartments with five or more bedrooms.
If you do decide to buy real estate when moving to Monaco, there are numerous listing sites you can browse and agents you can get in touch with. In regard to the actual transaction, a notary needs to execute and authenticate it, so be prepared for notary fees.
Those who have used the services of a real estate agent have to cover the agent’s fee, which is typically around 3% of the purchase price. Furthermore, one-off registration fees apply, normally at 4.5% of the property’s market value. The seller, on the other hand, has to pay Real Estate Value Added Tax, as well as the fees of the listing agency.
Alternatives to Living in Monaco
If such costs are a bit much for your budget, you might want to think about living in France, or maybe even Italy, instead of moving to Monaco directly. Nearby Nice, for instance, is only a 25-minute train ride away. There are some French towns situated even closer than that, so commuting to work in Monaco should not take long.
Keep in mind, however, that you will have to sort out your visa and residence accordingly and that you might then have to pay e.g. French income tax.
Expats who are moving to Monaco can do so via the A8 motorway, which passes the principality to the north and enables easy access to Nice, as well as other French and Italian cities. More scenic alternatives are the M6098 and the D6007, which run along the coast.
Monaco’s one and only train station is the Gare de Monaco-Monte-Carlo. At peak times, Regional Express Trains (TER) to nearby Italian or French cities depart every 15 minutes. Connections to more remote destinations can be found in Nice.
Most expats move to Monaco via Nice’s Côte d’Azur International Airport. Situated 22km to the west of Monaco, the airport is only about half an hour’s drive away, for example via the direct motorway shuttle service which links airport and principality. With a flight time of seven minutes, the journey is even shorter via Monaco’s Heliport.
For those who can afford to travel in style, Monaco provides two ports, the Port de Fontvieille and the Port Hercule in the quarter of La Condamine.
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