Words by Carla Passino

Have you always dreamed of buying a house on the Italian Lakes but your budget didn’t quite stretch to it? Now may be the right time to purchase.

According to Italian estate agent Gabetti, prices in and around the lakeside city of Como have gone down for the first time in five years.
The Gabetti study refers to the first half of 2009 and puts current values for properties in the city at £3,000 per square metre for renovated flats with lake views, and £4,000 per square metre for period homes in the historic centre.

Although the price reduction is hardly colossal—only about 5%— proceedable buyers may be in for greater discounts. Sale volumes have gone down too and vendors, keen to secure a sale, are prepared to offer rebates of up to 10% on the asking price to the right person.

Earlier in the year, Gabetti had also reported a slight decrease in prices for second homes in villages along Lake Como.
On the Como side of the Lake, prices went down by about 10% to about £5,000-6,500 per square metre for a lakeside flat in posh Cernobbio, and £4,000-6,000 for a waterside home in neighbouring Laglio, Moltrasio and Carate Urio. The Lecco side of the Lake was similarly affected, with homes here rarely going above £5,000 per square metre.

All this brings formerly unreachable properties within the realm of the (barely) affordable. To take advantage of the market, though, you may need to act quickly as other buyers are in on the secret. Indeed, Gabetti reports that demand in Como has already started to increase, albeit by a modest amount.
And the usual proviso applies—like elsewhere in Italy, premium homes on Lake Como held their value far better than those further down the property ladder.