10 things you need to know about property on Lake Como

10 things you need to know about property on Lake Como

It’s not hard to see why so many people dream of buying a home on Italy’s Lake Como. Photo: Lakeside Real Estate, Lake Como.
If you’ve ever dreamed of buying a home on Lake Como, here’s everything you need to know about the area’s very particular property market.

The Italian market in general has a few pecularities that potential buyers (and sellers) need to be aware of. For one thing, it’s the only country in the EU where house prices, overall, are actually dropping.

But if you’ve got your heart set on a home in the Lake Como area, you can expect the market to be very different. It’s one part of the country where prices just keep going up, and yet, properties are quickly snapped up by eager buyers.

The shores of Lake Como. Photo: Depositphotos.

But that doesn’t mean buying in this sought-after region is an impossible dream.

The Local asked property experts from Lakeside Real Estate, based in Menaggio and Argegno on Lake Como, what potential buyers in the area need to know.

Why is the property market on Lake Como so different from elsewhere in Italy?

Here, the agency explained, prices just keep on rising – they expect prices per square metre to increase by around two to three percent every year.

And while, in many areas of Italy, houses can languish on the market unsold for months or years, Lake Como properties are often snapped up before agents even get chance to advertise them.

This is because demand in the area is increasingly outstripping supply – no doubt in part because Como’s image as a glamorous, cosmopolitan place to be is constantly being boosted by celebrities buying homes in the area.

George Clooney’s Italian home, Villa Oleandra, situated on Lake Como’s southwestern shore. Photo: AFP

Is all property on Lake Como expensive?

Despite what we may imagine, there’s “something to suit all budgets” in the area, according to Sara Zanotta, the founder and managing director of Lakeside Real Estate.

In fact, the area has “properties of very different types, from the little stone rustico, to the standard apartment in classic or modern style, to the villetta surrounded by greenery, up to the finest and most valuable waterfront properties,” she explains.

Prices range from €20,000 for a rustico in need of total renovation, to €200,000 – €300,000 for apartments in residential complexes, up to €800,000-€1 million for a detached villetta.

New apartments are also an option around Lake Como. Photo: Lakeside Real Estate.

But if your heart is set on that dream lakeside property, you probably will need a film star’s budget. “The waterfront segment is a peculiar niche, with prices ranging from €1.5 million to €40 million,” she explains.

Are there any bargains to be had?

Even in this sought-after area, Zanotta says prices are “pretty much always negotiable.”

You could negotiate a discount from five percent up to as much as 30 percent, or even more, she says, adding: “Generally, it depends a lot on the personal situation sellers are in.”

What’s the average price per square metre?

Though this is one of the most common questions Zanotta gets, she says it’s hard to give an exact answer. “Prices vary significantly depending on lake view, specific location, and condition of the house,” she says.

“For instance, we could have a brand new house with a stunning view for €7,000/sqm, and another one – still brand new – without the view for €3,000/sqm.”

The agency gives the following price guidelines, which Zanotta stresses “must be taken with a grain of salt”:

  • Brand new properties for circa €6,000-7.000 per sqm; ‘
  • 70s-80s-90s properties for €2,000-2.5000/sqm;
  • Renovation projects for €1,000-1,500 per sqm;
  • Waterfront properties for €10.000-20.000 sqm.
  • Recently built and inhabited properties (dating back to the ’00s) for approx. €3,000-4.000/sqm.

Who’s buying?

Buyers from all over the world are becoming increasingly interested in the area. “In the last five years, the Lake Como property market has been flooded with a burst of enquiries from all over the world, with the British and Americans always ahead,” Zanotta says, “After that come Scandinavian countries, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Israel, France.”

She says this is “yet more proof that Lake Como has become a brand with international appeal.”

What’s so special about property here?

Como isn’t the only lake in Italy, and the entire country is dotted with beautiful towns and villages. So what is it that makes this area in particular so irresistible, particularly to international buyers?

“Compared to the other lakes in Lombardy, Lake Como has retained an undeniably timeless appeal,” Zantta says. “Lake Como is an old painting, and that’s why their properties – even the little townhouses – are so precious.”