Property markets in Mediterranean Europe have bounced back since the pandemic, with many experiencing rises in both demand and values. That’s not to say there aren’t areas that remain behind the curve, where average prices are yet to catch up with more popular destinations. So, if your budget is at the lower end of scale, here are five affordable places to buy property in Europe that might tickle your fancy.
5 affordable places to buy property in Europe
France – Indre
Halfway down France and just west of the centre, the Indre department is named after the river that meanders its way across picturesque countryside, through old stone towns and the majestic city of Châteauroux, with its charming historic quarter. Perhaps being so close to the Loire Valley, its more famous neighbour to the north, has kept it under the radar, meaning prices in Indre are some of the most affordable in the country.
It’s home to the cultural Berry region, where a network of pretty trails follows the river, taking you on a scenic tour of locations linked to the writer George Sand. Don’t miss Saint-Benoît-du-Sault and Gargilesse-Dampierre, each classified as “one of the most beautiful villages of France”. Another highlight is the Brenne Natural Park, where nature-lovers can enjoy exploring the 3,300 lakes, on foot or by bike, horseback or canoe. Being five-and-a-half hours from Calais makes Indre easily reachable from the UK by car and adds to its appeal as a place to own a character French home.
Spain – Mar Menor
Where the southern Costa Blanca and abundant urbanisations of Orihuela Costa end, the Murcia region and a new hot spot beside the Mar Menor lagoon begins. This 10-minute journey over the regional border brings with it lower property prices and cheaper buying costs (transfer tax is less in Murcia than in Valencia). That said, new projects are springing up and values are beginning to play catch up, helped by the opening of the new Murcia International Airport in 2019. Resorts around the Mar Menor, with a choice of villas, townhouses and apartments within walking distance of the beach and amenities, include San Pedro del Pinatar, Lo Pagán and Los Alcázares. There, the flat terrain, sweeping promenades, longer and less crowded beaches and Dos Mares shopping centre in San Javier are all big plus points.
This area is also where Polaris World built its well-documented golf resorts, most within a 25-minute airport transfer. Re-investment and low resale prices make these a tempting proposition in 2022, with the resorts of Mar Menor, La Torre and Hacienda Riquelme among current favourites.
Portugal – Portimão
Large working metropolises aren’t typical go-to destinations for lifestyle buyers in the Algarve, but Portimão and its suburbs are bucking this trend. It’s the second largest city in the Algarve – and largest in the west, and has a proud nautical heritage of shipbuilding and sardine fishing. Located in the estuary of the Arade river, it has a lively waterfront, historic centre, lots of restaurants and a fabulous market. At the estuary mouth is its world-class marina, one of the best protected in the Algarve with more than 600 berths.
Portimão’s beach is at the touristy Praia da Rocha area, with its apartments blocks and late-night bars suited to buyers who like to be close to the action. Homes designed for the local population in and around central Portimão are especially good value. Or head to the residential districts on the western fringes, where you can still be just a 5 to 10-minute drive from both the beach and city-centre – small developments there offer more affordable alternatives to the Algarve’s pricier cosmopolitan resorts.
Italy – Sicily’s €1 villages
Italy’s one-euro scheme, which enables buyers to snap up a doer-upper project for a single euro, has been well publicised. Only recently PropertyGuides reported how two celebrities have teamed up to do it for a BBC TV series. The month before we told the story Danny McCubbin, who moved out to Sicily and set up a community kitchen after buying his €1 home.
Local councils in old white towns across Italy have adopted the scheme, which was introduced as way of luring foreign people to buy and fix up increasing numbers of deserted homes, thereby breathing new life into local communities. A condition of paying just €1 for a property is that the new owner renovates it within a set period and keeps it for residential or tourism purposes. Estimated costs for reforming properties, typically two or three-storey character houses, is €20,000-€30,000, more depending on the extent of work.
It’s in Sicily, a part of Italy already known for its affordable property, where municipalities and local agents have really got on board with the scheme and now around 20 towns, tucked away in the island’s rustic interior, are signed up. They include Mussomeli, Salemi, Sambuca, San Cataldo, Leonforte and Troina.
Cyprus – Paralimni
Make the effort to head to the easternmost corner of the Republic of Cyprus, where it borders Northern Cyprus, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful beaches, a year-round expat community and arguably the most affordable property on this sunny Mediterranean island. Paralimni town, located within the Famagusta district, mixes a working town, complete with a large square, old town and full range of amenities, with a small British population.
The centre is 5-10 minutes’ drive inland, but between there and the pretty coast are an increasing number of small developments geared towards the foreign market. Local to the town and within its municipal boundaries are Malama, Kapparis (Fireman’s) and Trinity beaches, all sandy and with sparkling clear water. Unlike the greener, more mountainous landscape of western Cyprus, home to the popular Paphos resort and district, Famagusta is flatter with an agricultural interior, known for its distinctive red soil and traditional irrigation windmills.