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La Dolce Vita - Cheaper



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By : Laura Latham    99 or more times read
If you stop at Tuscany or Umbria you may be missing out on one of Italy’s best-kept secrets – unspoilt Le Marche. Bordered by the Adriatic and hemmed in by the Apennine mountains, the region offers rolling farmland, medieval towns and bustling coastal resorts.

With recent capital appreciation of around five per cent per annum in the past three years, prices in Le Marche have stayed pretty reasonable. Linda Travella of Casa Travella, says the area is a good option if you want the beauty of more popular regions but don’t want to pay their prices. “The market in Le Marche is stable but still developing,” she says, “you can find similar landscapes to Tuscany but at a lower cost, and you can certainly still find bargains.”

Travella says the northern coastal strip around Ancona is more developed and expensive than south and central areas, which Travella claims offers “some lovely coastal properties”, though she cautions it won’t be dirt cheap because of its proximity to the sea.

For the best value, Travella believes house-hunters should head away from the coast. “If you’re looking for a good investment and high rental yields travel a little further inland to somewhere like Fermo. For a more rural feel go to Macerata or Amandola.”

Travella claims prices in rural locations can start as low as €60,000 (£47,900) and coastal properties in the south from around €100,000 (£79,800) for something in need of restoration, though these are becoming harder to find. Homes in better condition in more sought-after areas retail for around €250,000 (£200,000) but you will often get better value than elsewhere in Italy by having a large amount of land and either being close to a nice town with amenities or within easy reach of the coast.

Gemma Knowles of GK Italian Property also feels Le Marche is an area that will increasingly attract buyers priced out of Tuscany and Umbria. “It’s very Italian,” she says, “and unlike Tuscany and much of Umbria you won’t find restaurants with English menus and shopkeepers that speak English. Though the beaches aren’t as interesting as other coasts, the sand is white and resorts are beautifully maintained.”

Knowles recommends that buyers look at several key locations for the best investments, such as the walled city of Urbino, which she says “oozes history and has a warm, friendly atmosphere. The city is surrounded by rolling hills that drop down to the coast.”

Prices here vary widely and depend on style and location but within the €300,000 to €600,000 (£240,000 to £479,000) price bracket you can find farmhouses, stone village properties and luxury apartments in historic buildings, all in varying states of repair.

Right on the coast, the busy town of Pesaro is another favourite with Knowles: “During the summer Pesaro is much like the other seaside resorts on the Adriatic with its long sand beach, rows of sunbeds and rather dated hotels. But the city doesn’t become a ghost town out of season. Its old town buzzes year round with great shops, restaurants and bars and an increasingly younger population with few British tourists.”

Knowles says buyers should expect to pay around €250,000 (£200,000) for a two-bedroom apartment, with homes in the historic centre or near the beach starting at around €280,000 (£223,000) for something in need of modernisation. “Villas around Pesaro start from approximately €400,000 [£319,000], as there are fewer old-style properties near the town, with most having been built in the last 20 years,” says Knowles. “This is because mainly Italians buy in this area and they typically like new-build rather than older properties.”

If you do plan on buying a restoration project, Le Marche offers lots of possibility, according to John Dillon of Realpoint Italy: “Property in Le Marche offers unrivalled opportunities, especially for anyone who loves doing up beautiful old houses, as strict planning laws restrict the construction of new-builds because the area falls within the boundaries of regional and national parks.”

Dillon says farmhouses, some with outbuildings ripe for conversion, cost from around €500 (£399) per square metre up to €1,700 (£1,355) for something fully restored. He estimates average renovation costs around €500 to €750 (£399 to £599) per square metre, but says, once renovated, such a property would rent for between €600 and €800 (£479 and £639) per week in high season. He recommends the town of Apecchio for second-home owners who may want to rent their property out, due to its popularity with summer tourists.

If you want something a little more modern there is also plenty of choice. Dillon says villas and apartments on the coast with sea views start at around €3,500 (£2,795) per square metre and townhouses from €2,000 to €3,000 (£1,595 to £2,395).

Dillon describes the market in the region as “buoyant” due to buyers being priced out of other areas and an opening up of Le Marche by budget flights. He also claims Italy is a very different market to Spain.

“People choose Italy because they love the country,” he says. “They may have had business links with an area, usually speak Italian or wish to learn, and are interested in the culture of the country. The number of overseas buyers in Italy is growing fast.”
Laura Latham for Homes Overseas - search our extensive range of Marche property for sale, read our guide to Buying Property in Italy and our overseas property news stories affecting the Italian property market.

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