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 Vatican City, 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 around 37,900 people in 2016, and you get the most densely populated independent country in the world, as well as a consequently competitive housing market, with the average property only changing hands every 37 years.
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.
Dwellings in the state housing sector are owned by the state government and controlled by the State Property Authority. There are about 3,300 such dwellings available, 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.
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 60 EUR/m², depending on the area and on what is included, from swimming pools to fully furnished rooms.
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 2015, for instance, official statistics on re-sales showed a purchase price on apartments in Monaco of 36,000 EUR per square meter.
For newly built properties, the mean selling price was 4.5 million EUR in 2015 and a staggering 13 million EUR in 2014. However, the Monegasque Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies already takes care to point out that these sales averages heavily depend on the type of property typically sold in the respective years.
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% (plus VAT) 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.
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 from Monte Carlo. 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 22 km 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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