Owning a second home is now something which has become more popular amongst us Brits and there are many excellent options including the coastal parts of Spain, Greece, USA (including Florida and the New York area) and also parts of Italy such as Tuscany and Sicily. Sicily is certainly one of the options worth considering given that the prices in Italy have dropped in the last years and with this island being a largely untapped location in the terms of the overseas property market. So what makes Sicily such a viable option? Below I have listed some of the main reasons for thinking about Sicily.
Sicily has incredible potential as an investment area when it comes to property, when you consider that this island is the largest Mediterranean island and which is yet to become developed on any scale, for tourism. Whether you are looking for a quiet countryside and rural piece of real estate, want to be close to the sea, or prefer a city or vibrant location, there are great choices for all types of buyer. If you are looking for virbrancy maybe consider Taormina, Catania or Palermo. For coastal options Taormina, Syracuse, Acireale and Trapani are all popular, whilst for rural choices can include Ragusa, the Etna and Bronte (a town famous for its pistaccios).
Sicilians often seem to be indifferent to the idea of tourism despite the need for jobs and income to the islands. recent changes though have been made such as the development of a new terminal in Catania airport on the east coast and with cities such as Catania offering a tourist bus. The changes tend to be very slow but visitors are gradually being catered for. There is no denying the potential of these islands though and in recent years several airlines have started flying to Sicily including Ryanair to Palermo, Easyjet into Catania and British Airways to Catania. With an increasing number of flights onto the island accessibility from countries such as the UK, Germany, Holland and France is much improved.
There is no denying that the weather is one of the reasons why a lot of people (especially British and Irish property buyers) buy property abroad. The better climate in places such as Sicily, Italy, France and Spain means fairly consistent patterns of warm and sunny weather between April and October. Sicily offers decent weather for most of the year and I have spent many Christmas days actually on the beach in Sicily. December is generally cold but every 3 or 4 years you can find that December brings some quite warm weather.
Just like any island and region, prices will vary greatly and it depends also of course on the type of property you want and how close to the main facilities you want to live. Overall though, there is potential to find some decent and quite affordable properties and villas in Sicily. If you are interested in a renovation project then certainly there are options in more rural areas which mean that you can get a property for under Euros 100,000. Sicily and other parts of southern Italy tend to be poorer than the North and this means the chance for cheaper properties.
You can buy property in a number of countries and find good beaches and good weather but Sicily also offers a number of locations around the island which are peaceful and offer tranquil rural views and opportunities. The stunning countryside tends to still be within driving of the coastline no matter what part of the island you are based.
Being an island, there are many opportunities to buy property including villas and condos and to be near to a beach or coastline whilst still finding something affordable. There must be worse options for example than buying a villa near to a city such as Siracusa. There are many locations where you can get property for between EUR100,000 and EUR250,000 and within 5 minutes walk of the sea. These locations are often in quiet areas of the island but if a place by the sea in a tranquil area is of interest, then Sicily can be very affordable.
Some of you may want a property which is in a location which is rich in history and certainly Sicily is an excellent location for this. The island has a fascinating history and along with the food, tends to be one of the big draws. These islands have been conquered and lost by many including the romans, normas and catalans amonst others and this has left Sicily with a quite fascinating past. Make sure if you are visiting to take a look at properties, to visit the Catacombs of the Capuchins, the Valley of the Temples, and the Amphitheatre in Taormina (which also offers stunning views of the Etna volcano.
You might consider great cuisine to be important when relaxing abroad and with Sicilian food you cannot go wrong. Fresh fish, fresh fruit (including the local blood red oranges) will certainly satisfy your hunger. Make sure to try the wines and fruits which are produced on the Etna because the fertile soil makes the products much richer in taste. Every town, village and piazza tends to have a place offering high quality and affordable food.
Sicily remains an outpost in terms of the mass of overseas property market and this means that prices are still very good, opportunities plentiful and is in essence a buyers market. As with any investment though, the key is to research very carefully the area of the island you are interested in and start by learning some basic Italian.
There are some down sides and I would rather be honest in also mentioning some things you need also to consider in this respect. The public transportation across the island for example is quite poor and this means that for real freedom to get around, you will need a car. Consider also that driving in Italy can be very difficult if you are not used to the hectic nature of the Italian style of driving. The lack of direct connectivity with the main land also makes it expensive sometimes to get here and you might find yourself over-relying on a few airlines.