Liguria - A Region of Italy Offering Natural Beauties and a Strong Property Market- By: Massimo Viola
Liguria is the third smallest region in Italy. Situated in the North-West, it is a narrow strip of land squeezed between the sea and the mountains. Its beauty is really largely connected to this constant coexistence of sea and mountains: the Alpine chain has its origin here (at the Colle di Cadibona), in this land especially known for the sea.
Foreigners, especially Englishmen, discovered the coast of Liguria, better known as Riviera, in the late nineteenth century. They were attracted by the sun and the mild climate (the westernmost part of the Riviera is considered to have the best climate in Europe), and maybe also by the charm of the villages, made of narrow alleys and old buildings, surrounded by ancient walls defended by mighty towers. They were attracted by the sea, but knew that the good climate is guaranteed by the chain of mountains, which protect the coast from the cold currents.
The famous resorts of Riviera, resorts such as Bordighera, San Remo, Alassio on the west, Santa Margherita and Rapallo on the East, owe their fame to this first wave of tourists.
The touristic success of Liguria was accentuated after the war, with the economic development, when the coastal resorts began to be crowded by modern buildings (not exact oriented to the respect of the environment) and the prices of the houses began to grow. The proximity of the rich cities of North Italy (Milan, Turin) and the strategic position which makes Liguria an easy access to the sea for the European continental countries have contributed to the big rise in the house prices on the coast and to affirm the peculiar house price model of Liguria.
The resorts on the coast have average house prices which are three four times higher than the inland villages. In each resort, the price of the seafront houses is at least two times the price of houses located inside. In the case of Portofino, the difference with the inland villages arrives to eleven times! Portofino in fact is a very special case: it is one of the most expensive resorts in Italy (the other one being Cortina d'Ampezzo). The price of the houses in the central square (the famous piazzetta) is determined by the number of the windows overlooking the square: nearly one million Euros for each window! Despite these very high prices, the house price index has increased of nearly 150% in the last six years.
The average house price in Liguria is sensibly higher than the average price in the whole Italy (2,700 Euros/SQM versus 1,550), but, as mentioned previously, its touristic attractive, the proximity of a large pool of potential wealthy buyers and the territorial and regulatory constraints to build new houses make Liguria one of the most stable property market in Italy. Also consider that Italy, generally, has an exceptionally stable property market. Just think that 80% of inhabitants are house owners in Italy: Italians consider the house (the brick, as we say here) as the prime form of investment and the house prices have not dramatically fallen also during the last international crisis.
So, if you are persuaded to take a closer look to this region, do not neglect to compare the prices because it is possible to find affordable prices also on the coast. For example, on the West Riviera, Camporosso Mare, Arma di Taggia, Santo Stefano al Mare enjoy the same enviable climate than Bordighera and San Remo and feature affordable prices (about 3,000 Euros/SQM for a new or renovated home). And if you look inland, you may find dozens of picturesque hamlets perched on the hills among the beech and the olive trees, offering fresh air, nice view and low prices.
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Massimo Viola is the founder of Liguria for Sale, a web guide for people who want to buy a home in Liguria (Italy). To know more about Liguria, you may wanto to read an article about the Liguria property market trend in 2011.