An Average House or an Italian Village: UK House Prices in Context

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

With house prices at an all time high, it seems like every year we're getting less and less property for our pound. But don't be disheartened - we may have just the solution: save yourself some cash and buy an entire Italian village instead.

We know, it sounds ridiculous. But for the bargain price of just €245,000 the Alpine village of Calsazio could be all yours. The village was listed on eBay in the 'extravagant items' category, and is going for the equivalent of £195,000, well below the average UK house price of £262,000.

The reason for this low-cost listing is that in contrast to the UK, Calsazio has experienced a drastic population decline, The Telegraph reports.

The village in the Italian region of Piedmonte, not far from Turin, once boasted 80 residents and a school with more than 35 children. After younger residents moved away to find work, however, the population has dwindled to just eight.

Despite their stunning location and beautiful stone and timber houses, resident Livia Peira failed to rent out her family's 14 village homes as holiday residences. So instead, she's enlisted her daughter to put them up for auction online.

While UK buyers might baulk at the prospect of finding home insurance for the dusty and ancient buildings, at least some are still inhabitable. More than can be said for the row of six dilapidated garages that sold for £700,000 in Southwest London earlier this year.

In fact, house prices are so inflated that, according to Halifax, a square metre of property in the high class borough of Kensington and Chelsea now costs £10,854. That's the price of a brand new car, and is half a car more expensive than five years ago.

Nonetheless, property experts remain optimistic. A survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors found that a majority of London surveyors expected prices to fall over the next three months as an 'increased air of caution' sets in.

The potential cooling is linked to talk from Bank of England governor Mark Carney regarding mortgage rates, as well as the impact of the Mortgage Market Review, which has tightened lending criteria across the board.


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