Home seekers and would-be real estate investors are often dismayed when they run into the sticker-shock of real estate prices in regions like Tuscany. Folks should take heart, though, because there are some desirable spots in Italy that have remained relatively obscure and, more to the point, much lower-priced than their more famous neighbors. One such region is the affordable and wonderful Abruzzo.
Three reasons to buy a coastal home in Abruzzo
1. Extraordinary landscape – This is a region of inspiring beauty, with the rugged Apennines dropping down to the sunny beaches along the Adriatic coast. Foreign vacationers have long been attracted to the pristine beaches, many of which claim coveted “blue flag” ratings. History, art, fine wines, gourmet cuisine, and a delightful ambiance pervade Abruzzo, and the notion of “la dolce vita“, “the good life”, is no better exemplified than it is in this wonderful coastal area.
2. Excellent position – With Rome only a short drive from its western boundaries, the region is centrally located in terms of access, climate, and transportation. With the convenient Aeroporto Internazionale d’Abruzzo (Pescara), a good network of roads, and proximity to excellent rail connections, Abruzzo is well positioned for future growth, and the region is beginning to grow into its potential.
3. Cheap houses and rental opportunities – Property prices have stagnated somewhat with the economic woes that have plagued all of Europe, but it should be said that the decline in values hasn’t been nearly as precipitous in Abruzzo as it has been in most other locations. For investors and home buyers it is an ideal place to find good deals, especially along its charming coastline. Indeed, apart from being able to enjoy your Italian retreat, another big attractions of owning an Abruzzo beach property is the ability to make money renting it out when many tourists arrive for the summer.
That’s why it is slowly but relentlessly growing in interest among international home investors. According to data collected by Gate-Away.com, from 2013 Abruzzo jumped 3 spots to no. 4 in the first four months of 2014 as one of the most requested regions amongst worldwide potential home buyers, especially from US. Indeed for Americans it is now the most sought-after Italian area. Requests for the region made up a 19.6% of all enquiries from US. It is followed by Tuscany (17%), Umbria (6.2%), Molise (stable at 6.2%) and Lombardy (6.02%).
Where to purchase your beach house
Location, as property buyers and sellers know, is the leading consideration when it comes to setting real estate prices. Many people looking at Abruzzo beach property are in the market for income realty, and here it’s important to know that, particularly in the summer tourist season, the coastal zone is a popular destination for both Italian and non-Italian beach-goers. Smart investors won’t have to wait long to recoup their initial outlay, and they will appreciate the way that the Italian real estate system is designed to protect property values.
Northern stretch of coastline – The quiet and lovely town of Martinsicuro, which borders Le Marche region, offers some bargains you can’t resist. Here you can find for example a 130 m2 apartment located just a stone’s throw from the sea for 125,000 euros (960 euros/m2), well below the average price for property on or near the beach. Or look south, just to the north of Pescara lies the charming town of Montesilvano, another bargain spot along this stretch of coastline. It’s possible here to purchase a nice seafront 70 m2 apartment for 115,000 euros. But more typical in this northern area are prices in the 2300 euros/m2 range. This means that nice sized two-bedroom beach apartment, for instance, would start at around 200,000 euros in many other places like Tortoreto. Anyway, note that a comparable property in Tuscany will be almost double the going rate for similar Abruzzo beach property.
If you step away from the sea, prices tend to drop almost immediately. In the comune of Francavilla al Mare, and a mere 100 meters from the water, housing runs about 2000 euros/m2 or even less. This translates to a large apartment (approx. 130 m2) with an asking price of around 300,000 euros. In downtown Silvi are grand villas that date back to the late 19th century, and a refurbished apartment in one of these mansions can be had for as little as 1880 euros/m2.
Tortoreto and Pineto are two of the north coast locales that are members of the so-called “seven pearls” or “seven sisters” beach resorts. Tortoreto is more of a luxury playground, with homes going for an average of 2100 euros/m2 for habitable detached houses located just a few minutes from the littoral, while Pineto, a relatively new town named for the umbrella pine trees planted by the Filiani family in the 1920’s, has a more middle-class atmosphere. In Pineto, houses usually average around 400 euros/m2 less than they do in Tortoreto. A little further inland, in the first of the coastal foothills, prices drop even further. You can grab a fixer-upper with views of the Adriatic starting from 400 euros/m2 or newly renovated homes with prices fluctuating between 1700 euros/m2 in more affordable places, such as Pineto, and 2100 euros/m2 in one of the most expensive spots of the northern stretch of Abruzzo coastline, such as Tortoreto.
Pescara is the regional hub, with the international airport, and the Stazione di Pescara Centrale is a major rail terminal that connects the city with all points on the Italian peninsula. Property in Abruzzo peaks in value in and around Pescara, though even here prices can be considered a bargain when compared to other regions of Italy.
Southern stretch of coastline – The sandy shores of the north coast give way to the rockier (and less expensive) shores south of Pescara, which is also well-known as the Trabocchi Coast. With your feet still wet from the Adriatic you can walk into south coast houses and apartments that are scaled at an average of 1300 euros/m2 to 2100 euros/m2. In San Salvo, home of the nearly new Adriatic dune preserve, the Giardino Botanico Mediterraneo, a nearly new apartment of approximately 57 m2 can cost a mere 78,000 euros.