Raphaël, in 2016, you started your own agency, Corsica Luxury Estate, focusing on prestigious real estate on the south shore of Ajaccio, but what is your experience in the field? Please tell us about your itinerary…
My dad was a land promoter and my mom a property trader, so, my path was naturally carved in stone! My professional debut in 1999 consisted in creating a transaction service for my father’s business, as an extension to real estate development. As I built up professional knowledge, the love of Corsica, my origins and my mother made me go and work there. My fifteen years of work as a specialist in negotiation on the south shore of the Gulf of Ajaccio in a large local agency gave me perfect knowledge of the sector and its specificities. But, above all, it convinced me that clients and their requirements can only be satisfied through quality guidance and impartial advice.
Why this focus on the prestigious sector of the market, and what is your scope of activities?
The real estate agent’s profession has greatly developed with the arrival of the internet; however, no algorithm can replace the human being. Especially when it comes to high-end real estate where subjectivity and emotion are pre-dominant. It is in this sector that our added value makes complete sense. Because we provide very personalized advice to owners as well as buyers and tenants. This constant attention is very time-consuming and, therefore, cannot be applied to a large number of files and clients. Our scope of operation extends over the whole region of Ajaccio. We select rare and character properties there. They can be luxurious pieds-à-terre, properties with panoramic views, waterfronts or sites with high building potentials.
How do you view this market in the Gulf of Ajaccio and, more broadly, Corsica? How do you see its development?
Corsica is still little known to a majority of Europeans, not to mention the rest of the world! The potential remains enormous, subject to a reasoned and mindful development of integration. The market has been doing well since 2000. Prices are progressing slowly but surely without suffering any shock in spite of crises. This stability stems from a variety of factors related to taxation, urban planning (canceled land use plans), interest rates and weaknesses in other investments that have hampered sales, and hence supply. In addition, there is a strong demand, as prospects of urbanization growth disappear with the regressive PADDUC coming into effect.
The Gulf of Ajaccio, less frequented and less publicized than the extreme south, attracts a discreet, family clientele in search of simplicity. Moreover, the proximity of Ajaccio and frequent continental exchanges make the region very attractive year round. You can see a significant increase in purchase of permanent and semi-permanent residences. When you add this to the purchase of second homes, growing prices will be guaranteed!
What are your clients looking for? Have their expectations evolved over the years?
Of course! Because decoration, tastes and architecture have changed a lot in the past 15 years! In addition, despite our support capabilities, clients do not necessarily want remote work. That is why they favor properties with current standards and finishes. The first rows on the shore remain a must, but they cost rarely under 2 million €. Some prefer more panoramic views by going higher, affordable from a million €.
What advice do you have for buyers?
To entrust us with a research mandate because one single speaker will simplify their work by being their eyes and ears on the job. It allows us to prospect off the beaten path and visit all the properties on the market discreetly on their behalf, including those with our colleagues. Offers are rare and the turnover very low, which does not facilitate our task as an intermediary. In these circumstances, I advise motivated buyers to be reactive when a property is offered for sale.
Reconsider older properties; these off er, in return, better sites and excellent vegetation. You see, renovation takes only a few months, whereas it takes 30 years to perfect a garden.
What services do you off er your clients?
Real estate involves multiple skills, be it a transaction, a summer rental or property management. Our clients wish to be supported to the best of their interests in this wonderful adventure whose final goal must always be pleasure. That is why we provide them with personalized and confidential advice as well as a range of services tailored to their needs. That includes case follow-up, marketing strategy, after-sale services, links with our partners and construction site monitoring. Property management is only the last step of our mission.
How do you foresee the future?