Toyah’s French Property Success

Toyah Willcox can easily be said to have lived her life – from her early training as an actor, through the anti-establishment image she had as a punk rocker (an image from which she has now stepped away) to TV presenting, writing, an appearance on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! and a slot as a guest panelist on Loose Women. Toyah is currently back on stage and touring a production of the musical Vampires Rock.

In between appearances on stage, I managed to catch up with Toyah to have a quick chat about her overseas property ventures.

What is clear is that Toyah hasn’t gone into any of the property investments she has made in the UK or overseas with her eyes closed. What comes across is a sense of purpose in all of the properties she has bought – there appears to be a clear plan of what the property is there for, and why it has been added to her portfolio. This is an approach which allows her to become attached to the properties bought for herself, and not to the investment properties.

For example, Toyah currently owns two properties in the south-east of France – one as an investment intended for long-term lets, the other purely for herself in the town of Menton. “The apartment in Eze was bought off-plan as an investment, and is in a modern block of five apartments. Until recently it had been rented out by a local IT worker for a long period, and provided a regular rental income” she said. The recent recession has resulted in many people working in France’s IT and technology sector, based in the technology park of Sophia Antipolis, northwest of Antibes, being made redundant, which has meant Toyah’s long-term tenant has had to move out.

The second French property Toyah owns is a much more personal choice, and is located in the
Cote d’Azur town of Menton. Known as being the warmest town in the whole of France, Menton has its own microclimate to keep temperatures up, but also is private enough to allow Toyah the escape she needs. “I was looking for somewhere a little warmer to buy a property, and my percussionist in the band mentioned Menton. As soon as I went out there, I felt I had found a town of like-minded people. The lifestyle is superb, and much more culturally-rich than people expect. I’m teetotal but can happily sit in a restaurant on my own for the evening without any problems and the town isn’t a tourist destination for most people so it doesn’t get too full up even in the summer. It is my escape, and I go out there to write around four times a year – in fact I’ve written a book and two albums on the balcony of my apartment in Menton.”

However, despite the enjoyment she has had from owning her apartment in Menton, Toyah is considering selling both of her properties on the Cote d’Azur: “I’m thinking about selling both properties, and then buying one, bigger property overseas” she says, but won’t be drawn on where that new property might be. In any case, it appears that both properties have performed well as investments. On top of the rental income received for the apartment in Eze, Toyah says that both properties have increased ‘significantly’ in value since she bought them.

I’m interested to find out how Toyah found the infamous French bureaucracy during the process of buying not one, but two properties. “I remember that it was an incredibly slow process, and there was an awful lot of red tape to sort out, but I was slightly removed from it all. Luckily, I have a friend who is an estate agent in the area, so I was able to pass much of it off to a professional who could look after things for me. I would say that it is important to make sure you have someone you can trust who is familiar with the local market and knows how to get things done in that part of the world. Also, I found it incredibly useful to make sure my money was transferred using a specialist currency exchange company – I saved a significant amount of cash through a great exchange rate.”

With that kind of sound advice, it’s little wonder that Toyah will be able to reap the benefits of her sound investments.

Buy Association
November 2009