Sicily, a large Mediterranean island off the Southern coast of Italy, is famous for its spectacular beaches, unique cultural heritage and its excellent quality of life. A popular destination for relocating Expats and retirees, the island’s property market offers prospective buyers some amazing opportunities.
Property prices in Sicily are extremely competitive, even in the island’s capital, Palermo. In more rural parts of Sicily, you can purchase properties at incredibly cheap prices, especially if you’re willing to conduct renovations and upgrades after the sale has gone through. Although the island’s infrastructure is not as well developed as in Rome or Milan, Sicily has great transport links to the European mainland and is generally one of the best places to live in Italy.
Is Sicily A Good Place To Buy Property?
Sicily has become a popular destination for relocating Expats, particularly Expats from America and Western Europe. But as with any location, there are pros and cons to buying property on the island which you should carefully consider before making such a major decision. Overall though, Sicily is a very good place to buy property.
The Pros Of Buying Property In Sicily.
There are some great advantages when it comes to buying a property in Italy:
Great Value For Money On A Wide Range Of Property Types.
There’s a surprising selection of properties available to purchase in Sicily; from luxury properties that can easily set you back a million Euros to small, traditional stone houses in rural villages that can be bought for as little as 5000 to 50,000 Euros.
Even so, it’s worth bearing in mind that the very cheap properties in rural parts of Sicily will almost always require fairly considerable renovation work so this should be factored into the cost. By contrast, a fully fitted villa with a private pool and garden will cost between 300,000 to 500,000 Euros. Meanwhile, the average property price in the historic center of Palermo, the island’s capital, comes in at around 1,600 Euros per square meter.
Sicily’s Travel Infrastructure Is Improving.
While it’s true to say that some of the island’s roads, especially in rural parts, can be a little rough and difficult to navigate, it’s easy to get to and from the island from the Italian mainland. For instance, you can fly directly to the Falcone-Borsellino Airport, 35 km to the West of Palermo, or the Fontana Rossa Airport outside Catania from Italy and other parts of Europe.
Alternatively, there are numerous passenger and car ferries that operate between Sicily and the mainland each day. These are low-cost and scenic ways to travel to and from the island.
The Sicilian authorities also have future plans to build a suspension bridge across the Strait of Messina, to connect the island to the mainland. However, these plans have been discussed for many years and as yet the construction work hasn’t started.
1 Euro Properties!
As hard as it is to believe, you can actually buy properties in Sicily for as little as 1 Euro. But there is a catch! These properties tend to be in a derelict condition and will require extensive renovations to get them up to scratch. You also have to agree to use local builders on the renovations and to have the renovation work completed within 3 years of buying the property.
However, if you really want to create your absolute dream home in Sicily, then there’s no better way to do so than to renovate a run-down property in a beautiful location.
Sicily Is A Strategic European Destination.
For people who plan to travel extensively in Europe while having a lovely permanent home on a quiet, paradise island, Sicily really ticks all the boxes. Similarly, Sicily is also strategically located, in the middle of the Mediterranean, for business travelers who want easy access to Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Sicily’s Climate Is Hard To Beat.
The Sicilian climate is the epitome of the Mediterranean idyll. With upwards of 330 days of sunshine a year and average temperatures that rarely dip below 8 Degrees Celsius in the winter, if you like the sun, sea and sand lifestyle you’ll be in seventh heaven! Temperatures during the summer can sometimes be a little oppressive though, often peaking between 33 to 35 Degrees Celsius at midday, although evening temperatures are a pleasant 20 to 25 Degrees Celsius even at the height of the summer.
Unique Culture, Cuisine And History.
Sicily’s history has been influenced by several distinct cultures and so it has become a mixing pot for a wide range of culinary, architectural and artistic styles. Famous for its seafood, North African-influenced dishes and delicious wine, grown on the island’s volcanic slopes, Sicily is a food buff’s dream come true. Equally, the island’s museums, art galleries, cultural events and festivals are exciting and take place all throughout the year.
Welcoming Expat Community.
If you’re planning to relocate to Sicily then you’ll find that the local Expat community is extremely friendly and welcoming. There are online social media groups that you can join as well as countless in-person clubs and societies. This means you’ll have no trouble making new friends, getting advice if you’re having difficulties and finding your feet in your new life abroad.
However, it’s not just the Expat community that you’ll find welcoming. The local Sicilians are renowned for being friendly and will always be happy to lend a hand or give you some advice, especially if you learn a little Italian.
Excellent Rental Income Opportunities In Sicily.
Sicily is a popular tourist destination for Italians, Europeans and Americans. Consequently, there are great opportunities for renting out a property to tourists and visitors to the island. This is particularly true during the tourist high season when you can charge a premium rate, but even during the low season, there is a consistent demand for high-quality rental properties on the island.
Low Cost Of Living.
Sicily has a relatively low cost of day-to-day living when compared to other parts of Italy and Europe. Everything from your weekly groceries to clothes and meals in restaurants are all much cheaper than in other parts of Western Europe. This is particularly true if you choose to base yourself further away from the island’s main cities.
The Cons Of Buying Property In Sicily.
There are some major disadvantages when it comes to buying a property in Sicily:
Problems With Historical Paperwork For Sicilian Properties.
Many of the properties and land in Sicily have been passed down through multiple generations and as a consequence, it can often be difficult to track down the deeds and establish the lawful owner. Paperwork might have been lost, misplaced or never even filed correctly. This can make it hard for you to legally complete the purchase of a property with proper due diligence.
This means it’s essential for foreign buyers in Sicily to work with a local lawyer or estate agency. They will be able to track down the necessary paperwork and flag up any potential legal issues regarding the purchase. For instance, if there is any outstanding debt on the property you could find yourself liable to pay the debt if you proceed, unknowingly, with the purchase.
However, as long as you work with a local lawyer or real estate professional, you should have no problems purchasing a property. If you can, you should also check in advance that the lawyer or estate agency can provide you with English translations of all relevant documents so you can keep up to date as the sale progresses.
Sicilian Property Taxes And Fees Can Be High.
On top of the sale price of the property, you will have to pay additional costs to complete the purchase. These additional costs, which include taxes and legal fees, can be quite steep and even add up to as much as 10% of the total sale price of the property. It’s always worth establishing this before you commit to purchasing a property in Sicily.
Sicily’s Property Market Can Be Unpredictable.
Although you can purchase properties at a very competitive price, the island’s property market, in general, is fairly unpredictable. Therefore if you’re primarily purchasing a property to resell for a profit in the future you may find the resale price is not as high as you had expected.
However, if you buy a property to renovate and resell you should be able to accurately predict its future resale price. So it’s extremely important to research the Sicilian property market if you’re mainly buying a property as an investment to resell.
Bureaucracy and Red Tape.
Even if you work with an excellent lawyer or real estate firm, there’s no denying that the bureaucracy and paperwork in Sicily can be frustratingly slow and complex to deal with. There are numerous stages to purchasing a property so you shouldn’t expect to complete the purchase as quickly as you would in the United States or other parts of Europe. Similarly, planning permission and regulations regarding renovations can also be quite equally difficult to manage.
Can A US Citizen Buy Property In Sicily?
Yes, just like any foreign national, a US citizen can legally buy a property in Sicily. There are no legal restrictions relating to US citizens although you will have to complete a little extra paperwork compared to a local Italian. Fortunately, Italy and America have a legal mutual agreement which means that a US citizen does not need to pay higher property taxes or face any additional restrictions when purchasing a property.
If you’re unsure about the precise process of purchasing a property, including the onerous paperwork, you should contact a local lawyer who will be able to explain the details to you in full.
Why Are Properties So Cheap In Sicily?
Property prices in Sicily are considerably cheaper than most places on the Italian mainland. This is partly because the island has experienced a history of poor economic growth and political instability. The lower standards of certain amenities, such as hospitals, have also meant that many parts of the island have very cheap property prices. Lastly, many of the cheapest properties in Sicily require major renovations which are taken into account in the advertised sale price.
Sicily’s Property Market Offers Good Opportunities.
Sicily’s beautiful landscapes, cheap properties, low cost of living, fantastic cuisine and world-class local wines all make the island a hugely appealing destination for foreign property buyers. Whether you’re in the market for a top-of-the-range luxury property or a low-cost rural cottage, Sicily has something to suit every budget.