Twins of real estate

With a history of almost 100 years, ‘Pastor’ is something of an expert name in the real estate and construction world in its native Monaco. Having started life as a construction company in 1920 by Jean-Baptiste Pastor, the family-run business (the company has more than four generations of experience and expertise in property and development) is best known in London for its property business, Pastor Real Estate. The real estate company, of which Patrice Pastor – Jean-Baptiste’s great grandson – is chairman, opened its first office in London’s Mayfair in 2010; soon followed by another in Chelsea.

While property evidently runs in the Pastor blood, the real estate business’s move into the UK was driven by a certain synergy that the group believes the two locations have, and the experience it has garnered from delivering luxury property in Monaco to a core clientele base for decades.

Indeed, Pastor Real Estate’s Monaco office specialises only in luxury prime properties, selling to a variety of buyers interested in the Monégasque property market, which developed and diversified sharply under the leadership of Prince Rainier III. In Monaco, while luxury tourism remains the main driving force in the local economy, the business sector has also continued to grow and the industry remains dominated by construction, public works and real estate – three areas JB Pastor & Fils have significant experience in.

Yet it is in real estate that the Monaco company has thrived. Unsurprisingly, there has been no shortage of buyers of luxury properties who seek out the coastal city-state in search of warm Mediterranean weather and, in some cases, its advantageous tax system according to David Lee, head of sales at Pastor Real Estate – in spite of the fact it continues to be one of the most densely populated areas in Europe and one of the most expensive.

At just 0.75 square miles in total, including 100 acres which have been reclaimed by the sea over the past two decades, for many investors, Monaco couldn’t be more different from its luxury twin: Mayfair.

“Monaco is roughly the size of Green Park and Hyde Park put together,” says Lee, who has been with Pastor since 2015. “But our company prides itself in both London and Monaco on having an unrivalled knowledge of both places. It is no mistake that Pastor Real Estate opened its first London office in Mayfair, then Chelsea, as these locations and the areas we can service from these offices are where the real estate available is in parallel to Monaco.”

Lee notes that being a small principality, Monaco is unique by comparison to other countries and historically remains buoyant during periods of global economic downturns. According to statistics published by the IMSEE in 2017, the average value of property in Monaco is around the £3,500 per square foot, however prices can reach up to £9,000 per square foot for the more exceptional properties. This is in comparison to Mayfair where the average sales price for Mayfair & St James’s is £2,265 per square foot, according to the latest figures from Lonres.

“The market today is still strong and only last week we completed on some very large transactions,” he says. “But it is unique. We are seeing more and more families setting up home in Monaco and, as a result, there is a higher demand for large apartments, which cater for a family lifestyle.”

This is reminiscent of a style of living that London locations such as Mayfair and Chelsea have also begun to display in recent decades. Indeed, it is one of the reasons the offices in Monaco and the UK remain in constant contact to exchange information. For Lee, the clientele he works with in Mayfair is perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly not far removed with those looking for a property in Monaco, thus both teams are able to refer clients between the group’s core offices. Both offices have a wide variety of clients from around the globe, although Lee suggests that the vast majority in Monaco are North and Western European. They do, however, cater to clients from all over the world including Asia, the Middle East and America.

“Our Monaco and London offices today work closely together to ensure that all clients are receiving the assistance they need, bespoke to their specific requirements,” says Lee. “This will often be with clients looking to relocate from London to Monaco, or vice versa, as well as new international clients who come to us specifically in the knowledge that we can help with finding properties in both locations simultaneously.”

And, like London, Monaco too offers access to some of the finest restaurants, bars, theatre and functions the world has to offer – alongside additional sun, sea, and sand – as well as safety.

“Monaco enjoys a larger number of high-rise apartment buildings by comparison to Mayfair, and much of the supply and demand in Monaco relates to views, generally of the sea, where as in Mayfair such apartments are much more scarce. Yet in Monaco, larger apartments with great views can often sell or let for strong pricing without the need for luxurious interior design, which is more common in Mayfair, for something of a similar price point.”

Yet, despite this, Pastor Real Estate prides itself on having different types of properties available in Monaco and Mayfair, ranging from a few exceptional villas, large lateral apartments and some houses, down to smaller studio and one-bedroom apartments, as well as offices and retail premises available for both sale and to let.

“There is a higher demand for large apartments which cater for a family lifestyle and, of course, there has been a lot of interest in the new Anse du Portier project in Monaco as well,” says Lee, who believes the Anse du Portier project will change the Monaco skyline, expanding the borders by six hectares into the sea. Demand for these types of properties which are available off-plan is unprecedented, which will no doubt continue to drive values in the Principality,” he says. “Indeed, both in Monaco and London, the main drive of late has been for that of new-build properties, which are rarer. However, the market for good quality traditional properties is still very strong. We try to often work with clients to procure then transform more traditional apartments and houses through intelligent design and project management.”