Puglia Property
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Property in Puglia

Puglia is a fascinating and welcoming place to visit, but many Britons are now looking at Puglia with a view to buying property there. The reasons are clear to understand – its mediterranean climate, mild in winter and hot in summer, and prices which are temptingly affordable compared with northern Italy and Tuscany. Add the relaxed lifestyle and the friendliness of the people here and you have a prefect recipe for a holiday home or all-year-round living.

Many buyers are attracted by the area’s most distinctive feature – the trulli. These cone-shaped buildings are unique to the area. Alberobello is the trulli capital, with over 1,000 trulli in the town. The surrounding area, spreading towards Cisternino, Martina Franca and Ostuni, is known as the Itria Valley, and is the most sought-after location for trulli houses. But bargains can also be found further afield, where purchase price and restoration costs can be substantially less.

The theory is that trulli are cool in summer and warm in winter, due to their thick stone walls. But because their air volume is larger than a normal room, and unless they are damp-proofed, they can be expensive to heat in winter. They can, though, provide perfect atmospheric character properties for living in or for rental.

A group of trulli for restoration can be purchased from as low as 30-40,000 euro, however it is important to understand that a small group of, say, 3 cones, will not be able to provide a home without extension. The amount by which you can extend a group of cones varies from place to place – each town has its own rules – so it is important to purchase through an agent you trust to give you accurate information on development potential.

Habitable and restored trulli are in demand – this is an area of the property market in Puglia which is moving quickly. Whereas two years ago a habitable property of three bedrooms including trulli in the Itria Valley area would have cost about 80,000 euro, today it is hard to find the same for under 200,000. Budget at least 160,000 for a good two-bedroomed property in a good area.

Unrestored trulli provide excellent investment potential. Although the costs of restoration and extension can exceed the original purchase cost, there will certainly be a leap in the market value of the property when restored, as restored trulli are increasingly hard to find.

It is also worth considering new build of a villa or character property as it is not too difficult to find rural land capable of providing planning permission, and construction costs are comparatively low.

There is also a wider range of property which Puglia offers. A masseria is a south Italian farmstead. This can be a humble farmhouse, or it can be a classic walled and fortified masseria, often with a large parcel of land. Many of the large masserias are being converted into up-market hotel accommodation, or “agritourism” projects which combine hotel accommodation with direct selling of farm produce. A range of masserias is available, many offering investment opportunities. Others offer the chance to develop and restore an elegant period character home. Prices range from 200,000 to 1 million euros or more.

Other country properties range from simple stone structures to modern villas. It is hard to find small villas in the Itria Valley, but south of Ostuni you can still pick up a habitable villa with an acre or more of land for a bargain price.

There are bargains, too, in the luxury villa market, where large modern properties are on offer for enticing prices. Expect to pay between 200,000 and 400,000 euros for a three-bedroomed villa with garden by the sea. Prices are cheaper inland. You will be lucky to find a villa with a swimming pool, as the Italians prefer to enjoy the beach culture, but there is generally no problem with installing a new pool.

Anyone considering investing in Puglia would be wise to take the step now. Across the region many rural areas are subject to severe development constraints, and this will put a premium on existing property as demand mounts. The market is active, and with more Britons expected to take advantage of direct international flights from London prices look set to rise for the foreseeable future at rates well above the Italian national average.

Up to now the rental market has been for north Italian clients who take properties for a month or more during the summer. This has changed significantly recently - with Puglia opened up to the British holiday market there is a huge opportunity for holiday letting, particularly character trullo holiday homes or villas near the sea. And especially sought after are villas with pools. You can expect a good proportion of weeks let May to September, particularly if you have a swimming pool and advertise your property through internet rental agencies. Rental prices are comparable with or higher than other Mediterranean destinations.

July 2007