Italian Real Estate

Grab Bargain Real Estate On Italy’s Lake Como

Posted on | July 23, 2010 | No Comments

real estate prices italy
by dbking

Grab Bargain Real On Italy’s Lake Como

First he ignored a number of well-heeled would-be buyers ready to part with more than USmillion for his mansion, now he’s shrugged off the discovery of a half-ton arsenal of wartime explosives just 45ft away. Screen idol George Clooney is obviously so attached to his million property in Laglio, on Lake Como in Italy that he’s not selling up anytime soon.

And who can blame him? Italy’s lakes district is so picturesque that most people find it a wrench to leave. Other well-known faces who own Lake Como real include fashion designer Donatella Versace, Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson, rock star Sting, Ryanair owner Michael O’Leary and soccer coach Jose Mourinho, while relatives of late designer Gianni Versace sold their lakeside villa for Euro 30million. Such is its glitzy allure that parts of Daniel Craig’s first movie as James Bond as well as Star Wars blockbuster Attack of the Clones were shot here while Cernobbio, on Lake Como’s south-western shores numbers Angelina Jolie, Sharon Stone and Sir Paul McCartney among its fans.

Since Clooney purchased his 25-room Villa Oleandra in Laglio in 2002, close to Cernobbio, regular visitors have included the likes of Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. The actor also picked up a rundown building neighbouring his for USmillion that has been fixed up into an annex for his famous friends.

Lake Como forms an upside-down “Y” that starts in the foothills of the Alps close to the Swiss border and extends south for around 35 miles. Its breathtaking views along with the Alps forming a stunning backdrop make this one of the country’s most sought-after locations for Italy real investors. Among the dearest too. Having Clooney in the neighbourhood saw a boom in the market that has seen an average annual growth in prices of 5%. Notwithstanding the worldwide property downturn, the market here has stayed buoyant, fuelled by demand from Milan’s wealthy elite and Swiss banking executives. This location has more than its fair share of Euro 10million mansions if you want an illustrious home on the banks of the lake with a movie star next door.

Yet the good news is one doesn’t require a hedge-fund manager’s bank balance to buy a villa or apartment in Lake Como. In Laglio, a lake-view development of nearly 40 apartments was put on the market recently with prices from Euro 137,600 to Euro 400,000 for a two-bedroom flat. In Lenno, 10 miles away, you can find a new-build flat for just Euro 165,000. And in Tremezzo nearby, Euro 250,000 can buy you a two-bedroom lake-view flat with terrace.

There are even better bargains further north up the lake. Locations on the north-west coastline such as Pianello Lario, Musso and Dongo are a popular alternative on a Euro 275,000-300,000 budget.

In Pianello Lario, a new development with lake views just 500 metres from the lake and complete wit  communal swimming pool has one-bed flats from just Euro 110,000. The Alps being close at hand means rental potential is excellent, up to around Euro 3,500 a month. The village of Gravedona, some  seven kilometres north is more affordable still. Here, expect to pay around Euro 100,000 for a lakeview apartment with a couple of bedrooms, although you may have to settle for being slightly away from the water.

Lake Como has drawn superlatives from visitors from all walks of life for millennia. The Roman writer Virgil – it was Lake Lario in his day – told of its allure. Some years on, Roman statesman Pliny The Younger had a couple of villas here. Shelley wrote in glowing terms about how the lake “exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty”. And writer Henry James was left awestruck as he wrote: “One can’t describe the beauty of the Italian Lakes, nor would one try if one could.”

It’s easy to see why. This is the country’s third largest behind Garda and Maggiore and is just under 150sq km of calm blue water overlooked by mountains, hills and woods, a picture postcard of superb beauty.

The view is stupendous from almost throughout its 110-mile coastline. However, it’s hard to top its middle section where the lake breaks off into two forked arms, that run to Lecco and Como.

Bellagio is known locally as The Pearl of the Lake and many people in these parts declare there is no town more stunning in all Europe. Stroll down its charming cobbled lanes, gazing at the view, or hop on a ferry to Menaggio or Varenna, the Alps rising imperiously in the background, and you would struggle to disagree. Six airports serve the area: Lugano in Switzerland, just half an hour away; three in Milan, all within an hour and a half; and two slightly further out, in Verona and Brescia.

The author works for property in Italy website Homes and Villas Abroad.com, who advertise 3,000 Italian homes for sale. Her other areas of expertise include Tuscany real estate, property Sicily and Umbria real estate.

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