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Real Estate on the Côte Basque

$2,290,750 (1.750 MILLION EUROS)
This six-bedroom house, built in the late 1920s and recently renovated, has 300 square meters, or about 3,200 square feet, of space over three floors, with a finished basement and a one-car garage, an asset essential on Biarritz’s narrow, hilly streets. A staircase from the third floor leads to a space once used as a pigeonelle, or dovecote, that overlooks Biarritz and the Bay of Biscay. 
An entryway on the first floor leads to the living area, which has a fireplace and opens to the terraced garden. The modern, light-filled kitchen has a breakfast nook,  generous counter space and high-end appliances, including a gas stove and a side-by-side refrigerator. The kitchen is open to the dining room, which also has a fireplace. The original herringbone parquet floors with inlaid geometric medallions have been restored. There is also an office and a guest bathroom.
The master suite, with its balcony and dressing area, dominates the second floor, although there is another bedroom with its own bath, as well as an office that could be converted to a bedroom. The third floor has three bedrooms, in addition to a TV room and a studio/exercise room. The basement has a laundry area and a home cinema.
Biarritz’s glamorous Grande Plage, with stylish hotels overlooking a broad beach, and central shopping area are about 10 minutes’ walk. The train station, with five-hour high-speed train service to Paris, and the Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne international airport are 10 minutes’ drive. 
Catherine Thomine-Desmazures of Barnes Côte Basque, one of the agencies listing the house, says the market for sellers has picked up. “In the last two months,” she said, “as soon as very attractive properties are put on the market, you have two, three, even five buyers.”  
French government statistics show a slight bump — 0.3 percent — in overall housing prices for the first quarter.
Recovery from the 2008 recession has been uneven, she said. A nascent recovery in 2010 was halted by the Greek economic crisis and uncertainty surrounding the election of President François Hollande, who had campaigned on a promise to raise taxes on the wealthiest. All told, she said, prices fell around 25 percent from 2010 to 2012. 
Stanislas de Roumefort of Côte Ouest Immobilier, a Christie’s affiliate, said he expected prices in the area to fall further in the next year, around 3 or 4 percent.
“It’s a very strong market,” he said, “but I would say buyers are more clever today. They take time, and they buy because they want it, not because they need it.”
Both he and Ms. Thomine-Desmazures noted the wide variety of properties available in the area: small apartments, for about $500,000; city-center houses with small gardens and pools, for $2 million to $2.6 million; inland villas, perhaps on a golf course, for around $2.6 million; and the most desirable, oceanfront and sea-view homes, up to about $8 million.
 About 50 percent of the buyers who use Mr. de Roumefort’s agency are foreign, he said. Many are British, but there are also a lot of Russians; their attraction to the area is a legacy of Biarritz’s reputation as a haven for Russian nobility before the revolution. The area also draws wealthy buyers from Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as some China.
Ms. Thomine-Desmazures says buyers primarily come from large cities, like New York, Hong Kong or Paris. French buyers tend to have a connection to the area, like a vacation home that has been in the family for generations. Parisians are also moving to the area permanently, drawn by the beach lifestyle, she said.

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