Property prices in Monaco are propped up by high oil - Emirates24|7

Property prices in Monaco are propped up by high oil

It's a short hop from Cannes to Monaco, where the cost of property makes London's prime areas, such as South Kensington and Mayfair, seem cheap. Most Brits, and certainly most Americans, [if they calculate prices in dollars] regard central London real estate as eye-wateringly expensive to buy or rent.

A reasonably placed flat in Monaco, of say 100 square metres, will set you back $16,000 (Dh58,720) per month.

Purchase prices are double, or treble those in central London. The cost can be even steeper if the location is coveted by a Russian or a powerful buyer from the Middle East.

It seems absurd to talk of an imminent crash in one of the world's most affluent venues, but property in Monaco is propped up by Russian and Middle Easter money. And the reason for that is not difficult to find: oil. If we find ourselves dealing with a commodity that costs $200 per barrel, as some pundits predict, then prices will climb even further.

It is difficult to imagine, as one tucks into the succulent fare in the restaurant at the Metropole Hotel [refurbished a couple of years ago], but the analysis of Monaco property is simple enough. The only aggressive buyers at today's prices are the Russians and those from the Middle East. The conclusion has to be that Monaco property is an oil play.

It is still possible to find the occasional bargain, though. If you find yourself in Monaco and you go to the restaurant at the Metropole, you can snap up a plate of pasta with a generous dollop of caviar for a mere €160 (Dh925).

Some might say that isn't cheap – but it is compared to Cannes. And all things, certainly after a few meetings in the movie world, are relative.

Martin Baker is a journalist, author and commentator on business affairs.