The north of Nice is where the real Nicois live. From above it looks like a large residential sprawl, underneath it is a close network of self-sufficient communities. Though the locals may love it, the area offers limited investment opportunity.
As you go up Avenue Jean Medecin past the train station, you enter North Nice. Avenue Jean Medecin becomes Avenue Malaussena, which then becomes then Avenue Borriglione, which then gives way to Avenue du Ray, and then 5km later the residential neighbourhoods evaporate into the winding roads that lead up into villages overlooking Nice.
You would think being so far from the beach prices would be pretty cheap, but many locals prefer north Nice to the ‘congested’ area near the beach and so the price differential is not as much as you might expect. It still contains very nice architecture, and many neighbourhoods are regarded as very good. There are good public transport links, with the tram servicing the area especially well, and at the top the A8 motorway is easily accessible in both directions.
We do not recommend it as an investment area for a number of reasons. The first is that by picking a market entirely driven by the local population, price and demand will be dictated by the French economy. This bypasses one of the chief selling points of Nice: the international clientele that ensure consistent demand hence stable and upward price stability. When the Brits are not buying, the Italians are, when not the Italians the Russians are, when not the Russian the Scandinavians are, etc. This is the reason Nice was one of two cities in France, along with Paris, not to have any price drop even during the financial crisis.
The other reasons are because being dictated by local market forces means: speed of resale dependent on local economy, limited option to “add value” by renovating as locals are not prepared to pay for luxury, and rental limited to long-term rental which has lower yield than holiday rentals.
On the other hand, if you are looking to move or retire to Nice and are determined to “live like a local” then it is worth investigating. The best place to start would be Place Liberation, which is now the site of the morning fruit and vegetable market. The old abandoned train station is going to be turned into a large mall with cinema, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment facilities, and the buildings around are due to be renovated.