Why Italy? - featured in A Place in The Sun Magazine
February 18th 2006
A brief overview of why buyers are looking at Italy and the areas to look out for....
What is it about Italy that sets it apart from other destinations?
Choosing Italy as your destination to purchase a property may not be such a difficult decision to make. Excellent weather, beautiful surroundings, good food & wine, healthy living, culture, history and friendly people are reasons why Italy is second to none as a destination for overseas homebuyers. Italy offers great diversity to the potential homebuyer from lakes to beautiful coastline, from rolling countryside to breathtaking mountains and from magnificent cities to quaint medieval hill towns.
A key difference between Italy and many other destinations is that you will find it difficult to find satellite British communities or huge tailor made and tasteless developments. Buying in Italy is all about immersing yourself into the local culture.
Unlike many other countries, you will find that the locals usually welcome you to their land with pride and are pleased that you have chosen their hometown. One thing that will strike you is the warmth of the locals. If you are moving to a village, then you really must expect to be part of the community. You will find that Italians will be generally interested and curious about you. Expect invites to local feasts and festivals, as well as the odd occasional gift, which usually comprises of food or drink.
Is it still possible to pick up a bargain in Italy?
Italian property sales have risen greatly in recent years due to an increased exposure on the television and the emergence of low cost airlines, which have made Italy more accessible. Property prices in Italy have increased around 8 – 10% per annum, with the more popular and up and coming areas seeing an increase of as much as 25%. Prices are now starting to slow down but sought after locations such as Tuscany, Umbria and the northern Lakes remain pricey overall.
It is still possible to pick up a bargain. Those searching on a slightly stricter budget need to take a look at northern Tuscany, around Bagni di Lucca and north of Arezzo. Le Marche is still reasonable in comparison to its neighbours, especially if you are looking for a renovation project. Surprisingly, there are many bargain properties in the hills above the Ligurian Riviera, which is a stone’s throw from the south of France. There are also an abundance of reasonably priced properties in the more rural areas of Emilia Romagna and Abruzzo and naturally when you head south down to Puglia and Calabria prices start to drop. Try also looking at regions that have less publicity in the UK such as Piemonte, Molise and Basilicata.
What are the areas that buyers should be looking out for and why?
Italy is a large and beautiful country. It is also varied and when it comes to location, you will find yourself spoilt for choice. Italy is blessed with a good climate but the weather varies considerably, so if you are looking for milder winders then it is better to check the regional temperatures.
Historical and regional differences are an intrinsic part of life in Italy and it is important to establish which region is the right location for your new life in Italy. Among the regions there are several well-known locations that have been popular for many years; the Ligurian Riviera, the northern Lakes, the Cities of Rome, Florence and Venice, Taomina in Sicily and Tuscany and Umbria.
Central Italy is very popular with its abundance of medieval towns and beautiful countryside and Tuscany still remaining the first choice for many. Those looking for more affordability in central Italy, can opt for the up-and-coming regions of Le Marche and Abruzzo, which share some similarities with their neighbours Tuscany and Umbria.
In you are interested in looking further south, Puglia is opening up with direct flights from the UK and Sicily is now also becoming a consideration for many. You will find that the coastline in the south of Italy can be breathtaking. Sardinia is also a wonderful destination and a good investment with an excellent coastline.
Transport is an important consideration. Flights to northern Italy have always been good (Venice, Milan, Bologna), central Italy is improving (Pisa, Rome, Florence, Ancona) but the south is still generally struggling in terms of choice of carrier and availability from the UK. Proximity to the airport must be considered, if you are looking at renting your home in Italy, then most clients will be looking at no more than 90 minutes from the airport. You also have to consider that if this is a holiday home, then you will travel to the property at least six to eight times a year.
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