The coronavirus pandemic “undoubtedly” will have an impact on the real estate market in the coming months, he added, but hasn’t been evident yet. (As of July 20, Corsica had reported 318 hospitalizations and 59 deaths from Covid-19.)
Across Corsica in 2019, there were 2,164 sales of existing houses and apartments, according to France’s organization of notaries. The median price per square foot was $289, with prices higher in southern towns than in northern ones. There were 502 sales with an average price of $321 a square foot in the Ajaccio area, which includes the pricier coast-hugging neighborhood of Les Sanguinaires, west of the city center. Nationwide, the median price for a home in 2019 was $223 a square foot, with homes in the Île-de-France region, which includes Paris, fetching a median of $434 a square foot.
With its Mediterranean climate, plentiful beaches and protected land, Corsica has recently been attracting more French retirees. “Now they really consider the Gulf of Ajaccio as another option than the French Riviera, to go and retire,” Mr. Mallié said.
Ajaccio is a year-round city, unlike the more seasonal destinations of Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio, on the island’s southern coast, so buyers are increasingly looking for properties they can rent out for part of the year, he said.
Those southern Corsica towns, with their broad white-sand beaches, golf and seasonal scenes, are in a bit greater demand than towns in the slightly more “wild” north, said Alexandra Connolly, the owner and manager of Alexandra Lloyd Properties, an agency based in Nice specializing in luxury real estate in the south of France and Corsica.
Mr. Mallié said that luxury properties in Ajaccio cost roughly half the price of those in Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio, estimating the average at around 6,000 to 7,000 euros a square meter ($640 to $740 a square foot). A 4 million euro ($4.58 million) waterfront property in Ajaccio night cost 8 million to 10 million euros ($9.15 million to $11.4 million) in Porto Vecchio, he said.