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Real estate in Abruzzo, Italy

● Among Italy’s most affordable properties ● Ski & beach resorts ● 2 stunning national parks

There are lots of reasons an increasing number of overseas investors want to buy a property in Abruzzo, Italy. Real estate for sale that’s very affordable is one, as Abruzzo houses some of Italy’s cheapest places to buy. For instance, renovation property in Abruzzo can start from around €9,000 or €10,000 for a spacious town house of about 100sq m.

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If you’re looking for bargain homes for sale in Abruzzo that are habitable straight away, expect prices to start at around the €18,000 mark for somewhere of about 40-50sq m.

Some of the best places to buy in Abruzzo are along its coast. This region of Italy has sometimes been overlooked as a remote, mountainous area, sandwiched between the Adriatic Sea and Apennine mountains. Yet it boasts a stunning 80-mile shoreline, with 14 of its beaches and marinas awarded a prestigious Blue Flag based on 33 factors including water quality, safety and environmental management.

The sandier Abruzzo beaches are generally in the north, with the southern coastline characterised steeper, rockier, more rugged terrain. The best Abruzzo beach resorts include Martinsicuro and Alba Adriatica in the north, Silvi and Montesilvano in the middle and Vasto to the south.

The area around the charming coastal resort of Vasto is becoming increasingly popular with foreign buyers looking for the best places to live in Abruzzo close to the sea. Budget from €40,000 for something basic such as a 50sq m one-bedroom/one-bathroom apartment.

Abruzzo remains something of an undiscovered secret to the outside world, perhaps better known for its famous Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC wines than its property opportunities, landscapes and glorious coastline.

Both Abruzzo and neighbouring Molise to the south — both part of a single region until 1963 — remain sparsely populated areas. For instance, Abruzzo’s 1.3million people are spread over 4,150sq miles — or a little over 310 inhabitants per square mile. London, in comparison, has 3,900 residents per square mile, more than 12½ times as densely packed. It’s easy to see why an increasing number of Brits are falling in love with Abruzzo’s wide open countryside.

Abruzzo’s top seaside resorts, also including the likes of Roseto degli Abruzzi, Giulianova, Pineto, Francavilla al Mare, Marina di San Vito and San Salvo Marina, may still be somewhat undiscovered by the mass tourist trade but they are all the better for it.

In terms of foreign tourists and second-home buyers, the region is still far behind Tuscany. That is quickly changing thanks to the introduction of low-cost flights to airports in Pescara, on the Abruzzo coast; Ancona, in Le Marche to the immediate north; and Rome, around 90 minutes away.

However, its seaside towns and cities have long been immensely popular with Italians, who flock here in their thousands in high season, in particular in the final two weeks of July and throughout the month of August.

One charming feature of the Abruzzo coast is its Costa dei Trabocchi, a stretch of shoreline famous throughout Italy for its natural beauty and its quirky trabocchi. These are wooden fishing huts mounted on stilts in the water and equipped with large narrow-meshed nets rigged to antenna-like masts.

Only around 15 of these awkward-looking contraptions — dating back to the 18th century — still remain today. But they serve their purpose of allowing fishermen to ply their trade in deeper waters further out to sea without the need for boats. Some even include restaurants as well as places for tourists to put up overnight.

Coastal property for sale in Abruzzo

Abruzzo’s Adriatic coast boasts some of Italy’s most inviting sandy beaches. Bustling regional capital Pescara, home to around 100,000 locals, is one of the most in-demand spots to buy Abruzzo real estate for sale — and hence among its priciest, with values around the €2,000 per sq m mark. City-centre garages here have been known to come with a €80,000 price tag. Expect around €100,000 for a one-bedroom apartment around 50sq m.

For something similarly sized but perhaps with a sea-view, prices will typically start from around €140,000. If you’ve a slightly more generous budget and can purchase something a little larger, around €200,000 should get you a 2-bedoom apartment of around 80-100sq m close to the beaches of Pescara, which extend for the best part of 10 miles.

If you’re in a position to push the boat out a little further and splash out on a top-end property in Pescara, you can pick up a villa with three or four bedrooms and around 300sq m-350sq m of floor space for anything up to €1,250,000. If you’re looking to maximise rental potential and future resale value, then Pescara and its surrounding province is the place to be.

Pescara is a handy base from which to explore hinterland towns such as Chieti. Another popular hotspot for buying coastal real estate in Abruzzo is Vasto, a city around 50 miles to the south that has recently begun to entice overseas buyers.

Vasto is perhaps second only to Pescara in terms of prices for seafront homes. It also boasts a lively Old Town and is perhaps the best resort in which to base yourself if you are in Abruzzo for a sun, sea and sand holiday.

There is also Fossacesia, a hilltown halfway between Pescara and Vasto and which already boasts a sizeable British expat contingent. The town is just over a mile from the Adriatic coast and the most sought-after properties come with a view over the sea. Here, a 2-bedroom sea-view apartment can be found from around €65,000. Want something a little larger? Prices for a 3-bedroom villa of around 160-180sq m will typically start at around €225,000.

Abruzzo rural property

If you’re searching for even more affordable homes in this part of Italy, head to the hinterland of Abruzzo. Rural property here is far cheaper than in the towns and cities on the coast. These inland areas are full of Roman ruins, medieval villages and wild countryside, as well as homes for sale with acres of land.

Take property for sale in Abruzzo’s Chieti province, for instance. This area is dotted with scenic towns full of dirt-cheap townhouses and farmhouses to buy. In Fraine, for example, some 25 miles from the coast, you can pick up a traditional Italian stone house needing renovation from as little as €10,000.

Or take Gissi, around 12 or so miles north of Fraine. Here you can purchase a habitable townhouse and still get change from €20,000, although it may require some tender love and care. The picture is the same in nearby Casalanguida, a small town of around 1,100 inhabitants and about 15 miles from the coast.

In Casalanguida, a cosy one-bedroom property will typically cost from around €20,000 and a small detached home from around €50,000. If you are confident enough to buy a rundown rural property to renovate you can get a detached farmhouse of around 100-150sq m from as little as €35,000.

Finding the cheapest Abruzzo properties

Finding Abruzzo real estate for auction is another option if you’re shopping on a budget and are looking for a cut-price deal. Aside from the fact that you are picking up a home for a fraction of its true market value, another advantage is that you do not have to pay notary and surveyor fees, which between them can total around £4,000-£5,000.

A further plus is that in certain auctions overseen by a judge, the court may grant an amnesty on properties built without the appropriate planning permits, a hurdle that usually renders the property unsellable. However, auctions involve a highly specialised procedure and it is advisable to engage the services of a company that specialises in auctions

Arguably the cheapest option for buying property in Abruzzo was the offer of houses for sale in Abruzzo at €1 made by officials in Lecce nei Marsi to woo people back to the abandoned town in the National Park of Abruzzo. It came on the heels of an identical homes-for-€1 gimmick in the town of Gangi, Sicily.

The catch was that the owner needed to shoulder the cost of restoring them to their original splendour while staying true to local architectural style. The bonus, of course, is the huge appreciation in a property’s value after it has undergone a comprehensive revamp.

As with all intended property purchases anywhere in Italy, nothing beats spending a few days at first getting to grips with various parts of Abruzzo to decide which feel the most natural fit. Far too many prospective buyers rush headlong into a part of Italy on a whirlwind round of property viewings and then find — often a number of months after signing on the dotted line — they haven’t made the right move. Abruzzo is too cold, too hot, too rural, not rural enough for them…you name it.

With one-third of its landscape given over to natural parkland, this is one of Europe’s greenest regions and its ruggedly beautiful landscape make it perfect for nature lovers —despite being just around 1½ hours’ drive from the hustle and bustle of Rome.

Abruzzo is a region of glorious contrasts. Its hinterland boasts the Gran Sasso National Park, with the imposing Gran Sasso mountains, and the Maiella National Park, featuring the towering Monte Maiella and bordered by spectacular canyons. Its mountain ranges mean skiing is as much of a draw in winter as its beaches, just a few miles away, are in summer.

While the sands around Pescara and Ortona draw the sunseekers, many people who buy Abruzzo property will be just as awe-struck by the 375,000 acres that make up the Gran Sasso National Park, Abruzzo’s most popular inland area.

The sprawling parkland offers a multitude of biking and hiking trails. Then there is the giant mountain range. Its tallest peak is the 9,609ft Il Corno Grande, the highest mountain in the Apennines. It is a mecca for mountaineers, although its climbing routes range from moderate to extremely difficult. In all there are 20 peaks within 12 miles of one another, each more than a mile high and for six months of the year spectacularly covered in snow.

The stunning landscapes of the Gran Sasso’s Campo Imperatore plateau, 6,600ft above sea level, mean skiers find themselves perfectly at home in Abruzzo. Indeed, Abruzzo also boasts no fewer than 21 ski resorts.

The most popular skiing area is the Cinquemiglia, a five-mile long plain some 1,200 metres (nearly three-quarters of a mile) above sea level. The Gran Sasso is immensely popular with filmmakers as well and the 1980s Sean Connery movie The Name of The Rose was shot here, among others.

Further south lies the heavily forested Maiella National Park, its hundreds of memorable walking trails — many of them accessible from medieval towns such as Sulmona and Pescasseroli — immensely popular with hikers and nature-lovers. It remains one of Italy’s most impressive wildernesses and is home to bears, wolves and more than 100 indigenous species of flora and fauna.

Sulmona in particular is an excellent base for skiing or hiking in the Maiella. It is a bustling commercial centre famed for its goldsmiths, paper industry and sugared almond makers (which Italians know as confetti, as opposed to the stuff thrown at weddings).

Abruzzo National Park , to the south of the Maiella’s swathes of parkland, is the third largest in all Italy, extending for nearly 100,000 acres. It is known for its striking, rugged landscapes and its wildlife. For instance, it is one of the few areas left in Western Europe still inhabited by bears and wolves. Abruzzo National Park is also home to a plethora of other animals such as wild boar, eagles, lynx and otters.

Finally, a word about the seismic risk. The town of L’Aquila is slowly being rebuilt following the tragic April 2009 earthquake. Much of its city centre remains out of bounds for reconstruction, a process expected to cost upwards of €600billion and last until 2021. Parts of L’Aquila are back in business, though, for instance the restored restored Basilica di San Bernardino and the Fontana delle 99 Cannelle (Fountain of 99 Spouts).

The area formed by the L’Aquila-Sulmona-Rieti triangle and encompassing the Sirente-Velino Regional National Park is known be seismologists to be at particular tremor risk. House prices in this area are understandably lower as a result. If you plan on buying here please ensure that your property has been built according to anti-seismic regulations.

If you are interested in Abruzzo property you may also want to take a look at:
Basilicata property | Emilia-Romagna property | Rome property | Tuscany property | Umbria property


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