Words by Carla Passino - Photos courtesy of ENIT

Even though the Sardinian market is affected by the downturn, it performed better than the Italian average, particularly in the north of the island

While affected by the economic downturn, Sardinia’s property market is holding better than the rest of the country’s, according to the latest report by estate agent group Grimaldi Immobiliare/Gruppo UBH.
Transactions numbered 18,110 in the first semester of 2008—a 10% drop over last year—bringing the market nearly on par with 2002, when it recorded 18,293 sales.
However, this decrease was more contained than the Italian average, which Gruppo UBH puts at 15.7%.
The North of Sardinia—traditionally a very attractive destination for Italian second home buyers and, increasingly, for foreigners—has performed better than the rest of the island. Sales volumes went down by only 6.7% across the Sassari province, which includes the sought-after destinations of Alghero and Stintino, and in Gallura, the verdant, vineyard-carpeted stretch of Sardinian countryside that culminates in the Emerald Coast and the uber-expensive resort of Porto Cervo.
Data from another large estate agent group—Tecnocasa—confirms this trend, although there is a discrepancy over price figures between the market statistics of the two groups. The most recent Tecnocasa study reported stable prices in Cagliari, Olbia and Tempio Pausania and small increases of 0.9% to 4.1% in the northern a,nd northeastern provinces of Sassari and Tortoli.
In Tortoli, second home buyers come mostly from Lombardy, Lazio and Tuscany, but there also are British and German buyers, who often buy properties in the countryside, not necessarily close to the sea. Prices in the second home neighbourhood of Porto Frailis range from €1,800 and €2,300 per square metre, but those with sea views shoot up to €3,000-3,300. Villas with private gardens start from €500,000.
Further north, near Olbia, Olbia Due and Olbia Mare remain popular with second home buyers—often Sardinians making an investment purchase—with prices in the region of €3,000-3,200 for new builds and €2,200 for resales in Olbia Mare, and €2,500 for resales in Olbia Due. In the more sought-after resort of Porto Rotondo, second home buyers chiefly come from Milan and Rome and are looking for panoramic homes priced between €180,000 and €200,000. Average prices are €3,500 per square metre for a good resale—but there is also a market for villas with private moorings and parkland which escapes the logic of prices per square metre.
Among the other second home destinations, the northern resort of Alghero is down by a hefty 6.9% according to Tecnocasa, while, in the South East, Villasimius registers a trend-bucking 8% increase. In the South West, quality resale homes in the ever popular Chia and Santa Margherita command €3,300 and €2,500 per square metre respectively.
On average, according to UBH, Sardinian cities experienced a greater decline than the rest of the region—especially in the the small western city of Oristano, where the market contracted by a staggering 33% (UBH), and prices decreased by about 4.1% (Tecnocasa).
In line with the national trend, however, lower quality properties in urban outskirts were the worst affected, whereas top end of the market held their values throughout Sardinia.