What type of property is available to buy in Italy – and at what cost?
Part of the joy of buying in a foreign country is the opportunity to purchase totally different property styles than you’d find in the UK – and often much bigger homes than you might afford here too. Italy in particular has a great supply of property and they are varied in both architecture and budget.
Throughout the Italy, you’ll find beautiful, rustic properties known as rustici (singular, rustico). Usually constructed from local materials and traditional stone these homes typically have a farming connection and are located in idyllic countryside.
From olive mills to cow sheds, many rustici have been left to ruin and represent substantial renovation projects. You can pick up bargains for under €20,000 in Calabria but beware – they are likely to be uninhabitable. For a finished project, budget for between €150,000 and €200,000.
Casa di campagna
A characteristic, often L-shaped, farmhouse is another popular choice in Italy – a ruined site will cost in the region of €70,000 in the south, although you can expect to pay a minimum of €300,000 in Tuscany. For a fully finished four-bedroom farmhouse in Puglia, €300,000 to €450,000 is a fair guide. If you’re on the lookout for something more stately, look for the term masseria, which refers to a larger fortified farmhouse, country house or even estate.
Casa di campagna is another term applied to more prestigious properties, which are usually located on the edge of a town or village. Often built on three levels, country or village houses come with large rooms and often stunning architectural features. A four-bedroom restored country house in Piedmont would ring in at around €700,000 while a five-bedroom village house needing full restoration in Lucca can be snapped up for €150,000.
Italy is home to the quirky dwellings known as trulli (singular, trullo). Traditional Apulian dry stone huts with conical roofs these homes – which can be found mainly in the Puglia region – were originally constructed as field shelters but were turned into permanent residences by the agricultural workers who farmed the land. Restoration costs are almost inevitable but trulli make popular rentals because of their fairytale appearance. A decent sized, three-cone version ready for rental, will cost in the region of €300,000, while smaller one and two-cone houses will cost much less.
Villa with a view
If a renovation project is not on your to-do list, modern designed villas and detached houses are also plentiful in Italy. Whereas houses tend to be stand-alone, villas are often built within small developments. A new-build villa with a swimming pool and lake view in Lombardy can be bought for around €350,000 but in sought after locations you should expect to pay a lot more. A five-bedroom villa in Forte Dei Marmi on the Tuscan coast for example could set you back €5m!
Coast and leisure
Apartments are popular in coastal and leisure areas and – so long as you don’t mind neighbours close by – provide a good ‘lock-up and- leave’ option if you are not planning to live full time in your Italian property. Apartments are available both as new-build and as part of renovated historical buildings which can be with some spectacular period features. A one-bedroom apartment in one of Italy’s less fashionable ski resorts can be found for under €100,000, while a three-bedroom apartment in a renovated villa on Lake Como will cost nearer to €400,000.
For something truly special (although you’ll need deep pockets) a Liberty Villa, built in the decorative Italian art nouveau style of the early 19th century, is an enviable lakeside retreat. Or perhaps a pink palazzo full of frescoes with sweeping vineyard or even a Florentine castle complete with medieval chapel. With the right budget, we could go on!
Check list before you buy
There are some fundamentals you MUST consider before you start on your journey to purchasing a property in Italy. Download our free buying guides for a road map for your purchase (scroll below) and read the points below!
Choose your agent wisely. AIPP (Association of International Property Professionals) members have all signed up to a strict code of conduct and are covered by the UK Property Ombudsman which makes for a much safer buying environment. You can search their properties by clicking the ‘Search Property‘ link here or at the top of the page.
Know your budget before you start your search. The Alliance recommends using a specialist overseas mortgage broker such as AIPP member Simon Conn who can assess your current situation and advise on what kind of mortgage would be available to you.
Lock in your exchange rate. With the markets a little volatile, it’s wise to protect your budget. By choosing a currency company who can offer you the best rate and fixing it with a forward contract you need not worry about political or economic factors influencing your purchase power. The Alliance works with Clear Currency. Hear what they have to say:
Engage the services of a fully independent lawyer. Your lawyer should work on behalf of YOU and YOU only – not the seller or developer or agent. You can search for an AIPP member lawyer here.
Seek advice on your tax, pension and wealth management requirements. By speaking with a specialist you can ensure your financial affairs are in the best order to limit your liabilities and future proof your income. The Alliance recommends speaking with international financial advisers Blevins Franks.
Speak to those who have gone before you. Join the Alliance of International Property Owners and gain access to our private members only forum where you can search and connect with members with properties in Italy and other areas you wish to know more about (and right now it’s free to join!)