Often considered the playground of the ultra-wealthy and famous, Monaco has a glamorous and high-octane reputation. But when the party season is over, Monaco calms down and is a permanent home to a number of foreign nationals.
Expat life in Monaco is certainly pleasant. With warm sunshine, high-end facilities and a favourable tax situation, it’s no wonder that so many British expatriates are choosing this small Principality as their new home. It offers a convenient location – bordered by France and not far from the border with Italy – a strong economy and an opulent lifestyle.
When relocating to any country, there are certain costs to take into account. For those moving to Monaco, two of the biggest outgoings to consider and prepare for are accommodation and healthcare.
Monaco offers some stunning accommodation to meet your needs, whether you’re looking for a luxury apartment, or a more substantial villa for your family. Many properties are advertised online and in local newspapers, however it is worth engaging the services of a real-estate agent. They will have an in-depth knowledge of the local property market and can act on your behalf to secure properties, which often don’t stay on the market for very long.
Most expatriates will rent, at least at first, and there is a strong market for it. The most sought-after properties can be found in Monte Carlo. In particular, the Carre d’Or (or Square of Gold), which is near the famous casino, is where you can find the most prestigious homes. It’s not unusual for rental prices in the centre to be more than 10% higher than a little further out.
As it’s such a small microstate, nothing is very far away from the centre and there are no ‘bad’ areas. There are good places to live and even better places to live. Fontvieille offers good value for money, and is the main commercial, economic and industrial centre, south of Monte Carlo. Some expatriates also live in the pretty French border towns and commute into Monte Carlo for work. Here you can find luxury villas with pools and sea views, away from the bustle of the city centre and with a lot more real estate for your money.
There are costs associated with rentals in Monaco, such as real-estate agent fees and maintenance fees, and up to three months’ deposit will be required. One thing worth bearing in mind is that if you’re looking to relocate and rent, try and avoid the main tourist season, in particular the months around the Grand Prix.
Not only are prices hugely inflated at this time, but it can be difficult to find any suitable available properties. Logistically, it is much busier and may make your shipping and unloading more complicated.
There is also the option to invest in property in Monaco given there are no restrictions on who can buy here. Prices have continued to steadily rise year on year, proving that it remains as desirable a location as ever. The cost of the total transaction is considered to be among the highest in Europe. The addition of fees and VAT can add up to 20% on top of the value of the property, which should be taken into considering when looking for the right investment.
Monaco might be a small sovereign state, but it offers exceptional healthcare to all of its residents whether native or foreign national. The healthcare system is similar to France in many ways, with both private and public systems.
The public healthcare system is funded by contributions to the Caisses Sociales de Monaco (CSM), which is paid by all employees and self-employed persons. This covers all social security services, including healthcare. Expatriates are required to pay these contributions and employers also pay into the system. As such, all expatriates will need to be registered with the social security system and will receive a Carte d’immatriculation, or social security card.
This gives access to all the medical and dental services that are covered, which includes inpatient and outpatient treatment at hospitals, prescription medications, some specialist treatment, and antenatal, childbirth and postnatal care. This cover extends to dependent family members too. There are only three hospitals in Monaco, all in Monte Carlo, they are all of a very high standard.
However, despite a robust and high-quality public healthcare system, most expatriates will also have some form of private medical cover. This may be included as part of your employment package, which is certainly worth checking. Otherwise, there are plenty of options for comprehensive policies that you can consider either from an international provider or an insurance company based in Monaco itself.
There are a number of dedicated private practices in Monaco that cater to the international population. This will not only give you access to world-class services, but also means you will be able to meet with a medical professional who speaks good English in this French-speaking country (although many professionals in the public sector are fluent in English).
All insurance providers in Monaco must be accredited by the local government’s sector in charge of financial activities, CCAF. Different policies will have different levels of coverage and you will need to consider who is covered by your policy if you’re moving with family.
You can also consider looking at an international healthcare policy when moving to Monaco. The global coverage these policies offer you could be useful for travelling to other locations, considering how well-placed Monaco is for reaching other parts of Europe. Many international policies also offer portability if there is a possibility of another relocation in the future. Although once you get used to the lifestyle in Monaco, you may never want to leave.
As with any financial matters it is important that you seek independent expert advice, this article is for guidance only.
If you’re moving to France or Monaco, find out how Cadogan Tate can help you with your shipping, packing and unloading, as well as our secure storage facilities in France.