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Nice lake view villa with 3200 sqm of land for sale in Molise.

Beautiful villa at 33 km from the coast, with exclusive lake and countryside view.

Country villa with olive grove and vineyard, at 33 km from the coast, with magnificent lake view terrace, in Guardialfiera. 130.000 €. View Property.

Cheap stone house in good condition, in Lucito, Molise.

Cheap stone house in good condition for sale, in Molise, Italy.

3 bedroom stone house with terrace, cellar, heating system. The house is habitable, it only needs internal revamping. 22.000 €. View Property.

Villa with 3 separate habitable units, perfect for rental purposes.

Villa with 3 separate habitable units, lovely outdoor space and sea view, for sale in the Abruzzo region of Italy.

Beautiful villa, recently renovated and decorated, with sea view, and lovely outdoor space, 17 km from the beach. 169.000 €. View Property.

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Understanding Real Estate Market Evolution in Abruzzo, Italy.

Posted by on in Useful information and resources

There is a part of Italy that has still to be discovered by the outside world, with its charming and unspoiled regions steeped in history, where mountains, countryside and coastlines offer a great diversity of natural beauty.

This is where you can find the authentic Italy. Where time stands still. A slice of this authentic Italy can be very affordable. In many rural areas low real estate prices allow the dream of owning a home in Italy to come true.

This is the case of Abruzzo, so it is important to understand how the real estate market in this region has evolved in recent years.

Table of contents

  1. A little bit of history from the past decade
  2. Nowadays in Abruzzo
  3. The real estate market in the past few years
  4. Is it better to buy a house to renovate or a move-in ready one?
  5. Local vs International property market
  6. Is buying a house in Abruzzo a good investment? Can properties be rented to tourists?
  7. What is new on the horizon?

A little bit of history from the past decade

I started working in the international real estate market in September 2010 and everything was different. Foreign interest mainly came from Britain and the Netherlands, and even though there were also enquiries from other countries, it was not enough to make for a real market case. Clients were looking for houses to renovate, old buildings or ruins in the countryside in need of a total makeover, many of these clients wanted to renovate the houses themselves without hiring contractors.

Abruzzo was not famous abroad, not as a tourist destination and certainly not as a hotspot for property investments.

Twelve years ago the Internet was already widely used, but in a different way compared to nowadays. Websites such as TripAdvisor, Booking, Airbnb were not massively used back then, Instagram wasn't even born and Facebook was not used as a marketing tool.

The Abruzzo region has started to be widely advertised on the Internet only in recent years especially in the English language to promote the region abroad, in Europe and overseas. In the past few years important press such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, The Guardian, Forbes, BBC and many other outlets wrote about the area. Abruzzo was often described as the unspoilt Italy, the region to discover, the authentic Italy and so on…

Not only private companies, but even local authorities have increased their efforts in promoting the area. New accommodations have started to sprawl on the web, as well as new restaurants, wine bars, businesses and entertainment venues.

Nowadays in Abruzzo

The results of these advertising campaigns have been beneficial. Abruzzo has started to receive many visitors from all over the world but without being overwhelmed, thereby dodging the annoying effects of mass tourism.

In Abruzzo tourists can have a full-immersion experience of the real Italian lifestyle and feel part of it all, amongst local people who mostly only speak Italian and a few words in English (if any). You won't come across restaurants for the locals and restaurants for the tourists, like in Rome, Venice, or Florence… . In this region you can easily visit a village where you are the only tourist in town and everyone gives you a warm welcome with open arms. This unspoilt corner of Italy offers authentic real–life experiences and not just crowded sightseeing.

The region is perfect for year-round tourism, both in winter, thanks to the fully-equipped ski slopes and the seasonal outdoor activities promoted by the National Parks, and in the summer when the 130 km of beautiful, pristine sandy beaches can be enjoyed to the fullest.

The real estate market in the past few years

With the area becoming more popular and more advertised worldwide, the real estate market has also started to change.

Since 2018 we have started to receive more clients from the USA and over the past two years the trend has been completely overturned, with 60% of buyers coming from the USA, 25% from the UK and the rest from other countries.

The type of properties requested by international clients are no longer ruins or rundown country houses in remote locations, but nice readily habitable houses, or important historic buildings with valuable details worthy of large restoration projects.

This new trend is, in my opinion, very wise and in the next paragraph I will expand on this particular point.

Is it better to buy a house to renovate or a move-in ready one?

For sure it is much more convenient in terms of budget to buy a house that is ready to move into or in need of very light cosmetic works. This is true for several reasons:

  • In the past few years several grants have been provided by the Italian government for the renovation of old buildings (110% ECOBONUS, SISMA BONUS, 50% DISCOUNT ON RENOVATION, just to list a few…), and consequently workforce has become much more expensive and difficult to find. This is for an obvious reason: when demand is very high, prices increase.
  • During the Covid-19 pandemic the costs of materials have increased due to limited availability, and the current Ukraine/Russia crisis is causing prices to go up even further. Therefore, if five years ago the costs of raw materials were affordable now they are expensive and the waiting times to get such supplies are often long.
  • The cost of a total restoration can be as high as 1.000,00 euro per square meter, or in some instances even more.
  • The price of habitable homes is generally pretty affordable, it is possible to find one bedroom townhouses for just 20.000,00 euro, and even two bedroom houses for as little as 25.000,00/30.000,00 euro. With some light revamping, decoration, new furniture and lots of love, these houses can become little gems.
  • It is therefore easy to understand that buying a house which is in good shape is economically more convenient than embarking on a restoration project, unless the building offers unique historic value, like some precious antique property.

Local vs International property market

There are two property markets in Abruzzo, one for local families and one for international buyers.

The market aimed at local families is centred around large settlements and towns along the Adriatic Coast, as families need to live close to schools and workplaces such as factories or offices (obviously large towns offer more work opportunities and facilities than small hilltop towns). Furthermore, the real estate market in such places generally offers new buildings, normally condo apartments ideal for families who intend to take out a mortgage.

The market for international buyers is more focused on small towns, generally further inland, 30 minutes or more away from the coast. In fact, such towns are often very picturesque with beautiful panoramic views while real estate prices in such places are incredibly affordable.

When young couples move to large towns, these smaller villages become increasingly less populated, houses remain empty, and prices drop. For a young Italian family it is not convenient to drive 30 or 40 minutes every day to go to work, take the kids to school or simply reach a large shopping centre.

But for tourists this is not a real issue. When they want to reach larger towns for shopping or to spend the day out, they can simply drive or get on a local bus, in what becomes a sort of little, pleasant day trip.

Moreover, the difference in property prices between a large settlement on the coast and a small hamlet on the hills can be remarkable.

Is buying a house in Abruzzo a good investment? Can properties be rented to tourists?

A house by the beach can be very expensive, it can be rented to Italian holiday makers during the busy summer months at very high prices. Same for a house in the most popular ski resorts.

But a property on the hills is different as it can be rented all year round to occasional tourists, house hunters or internationals who want to try the lifestyle in Abruzzo for a little while before deciding where to retire. Such properties are not rented at very high prices like a flat on the beach, but can produce a small regular year-round income.

On the other hand, the initial investment for a house on the hills is generally moderate therefore, it is easy to get a quick return on the investment.

What is new on the horizon?

As Abruzzo is becoming famous abroad and more international people are moving permanently to the area, the neighbouring Molise region is starting to become well-known too.

In Italy, Molise is sometimes ironically referred to as “the region that does not exist”: IL MOLISE NON ESISTE (or “Molisn't”). Being the second smallest region in the country, it is surely not a hotspot destination and is seldom advertised online or abroad.

But Molise nowadays is similar to Abruzzo 12 years ago. Nonetheless something is changing and in 2021 The Guardian wrote a beautiful article about Molise. We have started to receive more requests from clients focusing on the region… I feel this is the sign that Molise has all the potential to grow like its neighbouring Abruzzo.