Home Looking in Italy: A Tower North of Milan, South of $1 Million

This six bedroom house is located in Cavallirio, a small town in the hills of the Novara Province in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The house is about 19 km from Lake Maggiore, the second largest lake in Italy. It has a castle-like wing with a tower from the late 18th century. The living areas have frescoed walls, high ceilings, and marble mosaic tile floors. The furniture is not included in the sales price.

The property, on half an acre, has been used for wedding functions, and there is a large tent in the yard that can be easily removed, said Angela Pedrozo, an agent at Italy Sotheby’s International Realty who has the listing.

The 4,305 square meter house has an artfully arched front entrance with wrought iron gates that can be closed over the wooden doors. It opens directly into the lobby, which is frescoed throughout and features an old brick fireplace and marble staircase. Right next to the hall there is an office at the foot of the tower.

A hallway leads to the adjoining living and dining rooms, which are divided by two arches. Both rooms have dark wood coffered ceilings and chic frescoes. The dining room has a massive walk-in fireplace with stone seats built into the wall.

Across the hall, the white-tiled kitchen is small and intended for cooking rather than a meeting place. There is also a guest bathroom on this floor.

The second level of the home has four bedrooms (one is a small room for the staff) and a full bath. The master bedroom has its own living room. All bedrooms have arched doors and shutters to keep the light out. A large covered brick terrace on this floor offers a view of the park-like area.

The renovated upper floor has been converted into an apartment with two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, a kitchen and a study in the tower. It doesn’t have a separate entrance, said Ms. Pedrozo.

The top of the tower serves as an attic.

The property is located in a residential area near the center of Cavallirio with less than 2,000 inhabitants, close to cafes, shops and restaurants. The city of Novara, the capital of the Novara Province with around 105,000 inhabitants, is 32 km south. Milan Malpensa Airport is around 48 km to the east and the city center is another 40 km from there.

Lake Maggiore stretches about 60 km from northern Italy to southern Switzerland on the south side of the Alps. It is split in the middle between the Piedmont region to the west and the Lombardy region (also home to Lake Como) to the east.

Amid the pandemic, the Lake Maggiore area is being discovered by more domestic and foreign buyers looking for space and privacy as it is cheaper than properties near fashionable Lake Como.

“Maggiore attracts more reluctant buyers, people who are interested in nature or historical property,” said Diletta Giorgolo Spinola, sales director at Italy Sotheby’s International Realty.

The corona virus hit Italy hard overall. As of March 2, the country had reported at least 2.9 million Covid-19 cases and 97,945 deaths, according to the New York Times’ coronavirus world map. Italy’s GDP fell by around 9 percent last year, while unemployment rose to almost 10 percent, according to the Italian statistics institute.

But the real estate market remained buoyant, thanks in part to historically low borrowing costs, and that has continued through 2021. “People are more committed to buying right now,” said Ms. Spinola. “Real estate seems like a safe place to invest money and people are thinking more about real estate in places where life is very sustainable.”

According to data from Idealista, a national listing portal, nationwide property prices rose 2.6 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. However, demand for rental properties has plummeted due to job losses, urban exodus and the decline in tourism, said Vincenzo De Tommaso, head of Idealista’s press office.

On Lake Maggiore, the Piedmontese side of the lake from the coastal towns of Stresa to Cannobio is more touristy and expensive. The area attracted money families from Italy and England in the early 20th century and is home to many historic mansions, said Francesco Papurello, owner of Stresa Luxury Real Estate.

“Thanks to the beautiful lake in summer and the mountains for hiking and skiing in winter, this area is the perfect getaway all year round,” he said.

The Lombard side of the lake “is the sunny side with modern villas,” said Ms. Spinola.

It’s usually “a little wilder and cheaper,” said Flavia Dutto, an agent at Engel & Völkers Lago Maggiore.

In general, prices on Lake Maggiore average around 3,000 euros per square meter, while properties on Lake Como can double that, she said.

Before the pandemic, most buyers were looking for properties with prices between $ 500,000 and $ 1 million ($ 603,000 and $ 1.21 million), Ms. Dutto said. This usually purchases a cottage plot of around 2,000 square meters, a small garden and a view of the lake.

But in the course of 2021 “we have more requests from people for 3 to 4 million euros,” she said. “These are the historic houses with frescoes and high ceilings – very Italian.”

Italy was the first western country to introduce national lockdown about a year ago. The government eased restrictions in June, only to reintroduce them in early November after a second surge in infections. A travel ban between different regions and provinces was recently extended to March 27, due to the risk of the virus spreading through highly contagious Covid-19 variants.

According to Idealista, foreigners make up around a quarter of the buyers in the Lake Maggiore area. More than half come from Germany and Switzerland, the rest mainly from the Netherlands, the USA and Great Britain.

Stresa Luxury Real Estate’s Mr Papurello said his agency has seen a surge in European buyers lately, but interest from buyers in the US, UK and Russia has decreased.

There are no restrictions on most foreign buyers, although foreigners from outside the European Union are only allowed to buy property if their home country has a reciprocity agreement with the Italian government. Swiss citizens are not allowed to buy real estate larger than 200 square meters, said Ms. Dutto.

The notary costs amount to approx. 1 percent of the purchase price. The broker’s commission is split between the buyer and seller, each typically paying 3 percent, Ms. Dutto said.

Ms. Spinola noted that the government’s flat tax incentive program attracts high net worth buyers from Asia and Europe, who pay an annual tax of € 100,000 on all income generated outside Italy.

Italian; Euro (1 Euro = 1.21 USD)

Stamp tax is 2 percent of the property value for a main residence and 9 percent for second homes. Ms. Pedrozo said she could not give an exact amount of property tax on this house.

Angela Pedrozo, Italy Sotheby’s International Realty, 011-39-032-20-30-110; sothebysrealty.com

Sign up here to receive weekly email updates on residential property news. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

Comments are closed.