Brindisi and Ostuni Property
Laze away a warm sunny afternoon relaxing over a delicious seafood lunch in the shade of ancient olive trees accompanied by the sound of birds, cicadas and the humming of bees; enjoy a glass of chilled local white wine down in Brindisi harbour and watch the colourful sails of the sleek yachts jostling for position at the start of the annual Corfu sailing regatta; explore the charming city of Ostuni, wandering along narrow roads and alleyways to hidden churches and houses rich with medieval history; bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south, Apulia property offers investors the opportunity to buy property in one of the most archeologically rich and fertile regions in Italy – and all just one hour away from the airports of Bari and Brindisi. Two of the most popular areas to buy property are Brindisi and Ostuni; Brindisi property providing spectacular coastline views of sweeping sandy beaches and the sparkling blue Mediterranean sea and Ostuni property the chance to own a piece of Italian history in the form of a Trulli – a traditional conic-shaped dry stone building whose use by farmers dates back even centuries ago and only to be found in a restricted area of Apulia.
Having been settled by the Greeks, the Romans, Goths, Byzantines and the Normans Apulia finally became a kingdom of Italy in 1861. Blessed with a dramatic and natural beauty, the region is know for its warm hospitality and its abundance – it produces more olive oil than the rest of the country combined, most of its fish, 80% of Europe’s pasta and more wine than the whole of Germany. Apulia’s bright sun, crystal blue sea, whitewashed country villages and fragranced fields has been well known to northern Italians for years both as a holiday resort and as a great location to buy a second home, but has only recently started attracting foreign investors. Demand for Apulia property and also for both Brindisi property and Ostuni property is starting to increase as prices in the 'land of the Trulli' are very favourable compared with other parts of Italy.
Brindisi is the capital of the province of Brindisi, and historically has played an important role in commerce and culture due to its geographical location on the Italian Peninsula and its natural harbour on the Adriatic Sea - it was thought to be where the ancient Roman road Via Appia ended and where many set off to Greece and the Near East.
Walk in the footsteps of ancient Romans, Crusaders and Venetian merchants and visit one of Brindisi’s most famous ancient sites - the End Column of the Via Appia. Composed of Turkish marble, the column remains one of the most important symbols in the city. What you see today are the remains of two Roman columns built around the second century A.D. It is believed the two columns were built in the centre of the port as a landmark for seafarers, marking the end of Via Appia.
Feast your eyes on the fabulous architecture of the 13th Century ‘Castello Svevo’ built right in the heart of Brindisi by Emperor Frederick II as a fortified residence for the garrisons. After centuries of abandonment, the castle was first converted into a prison, then a hostel for the Italian Navy and for a short time the residence of King Victor Emmanuel III.
Relax down by the harbour and enjoy a glass of wine and a selection of Apulia’s famously creative antipasti – perhaps aubergine stuffed with garlic, mussels baked with onions and tomatoes, huge marinated olives or the wonderful 'fave' - a smooth puree of broad beans which looks like a kind of Puglian humus. Work off your leisurely lunch by taking the short trip across to the other side and climb the Sailors’ Monument to enjoy the stunning 360 degree views of the city and surrounding countryside.
Regarded as an architectural jewel, Ostuni is commonly known as the ‘the White Town’ (‘La Città Bianca’) for its white walls and its typically white-painted architecture. Surrounded by ancient olive groves, Ostuni is a wonderful fusion of cobbled alleys winding through whitewashed houses, a charming 15th century cathedral and a buzzing social scene centred on Colonna di S. Oronzo, a fine 18th century obelisk at the Piazza della Libertà.
Soak up some culture by visiting the Cathedral - the best known landmark of Ostuni. Built between 1435 and 1495 in the late Gothic style, it has a tripartite façade, divided by two pilaster-strips. Above the central portal there is a magnificent rose window with 24 finely carved ribs. The interior of the church is XVIII century and has a level ceiling and Baroque side chapels.
Wander the town centre streets which curl up the hill to the steep cobbled lanes of the Old Town with its wrought-iron lanterns and stupendous views out over the coast and the surrounding plains. There are plenty of excellent restaurants in Ostuni so sit back, unwind and enjoy some mixed antipasti followed by freshly grilled fish with tomato, olive and caper sauce – delicious!
Italian real estate continues to be a safe investment; a report published last year by Moody’s, ranked Italy ninth in the property market, showing that the average year on year pre-crisis house price increase was a reasonable 5.9%. Even during the financial crisis, Italian property prices grew on average by 0.9% - a far cry from the dramatic property price falls seen elsewhere. Apulia property prices - including Brindisi property and Ostuni property - have risen in the wake of its recent increase in popularity but not too steeply and still remain very competitive compared with other popular regions of Italy such as Tuscany.
There is a good range of Apulia property to choose from including large countryside houses, elegant villas, traditional Trullis and modern seaside apartments.
Nestling in swathes of olive groves in remote rural locations are the Masseries; large mansion farmhouses, which were once at the centre of vast areas of agricultural land, they have been restored to provide wonderfully spacious and luxurious accommodation. If a sea view is top of your list, then head to the coast where Brindisi property offers luxury villas or apartments with wonderful views of the Mediterranean. For something completely different, head further inland where Ostuni property boasts the charming Trulli - circular, conical-roofed white-washed stone houses – often set within their own grounds and surrounded by nut and fruit trees.
Blessed with a richly fertile countryside, the longest coastline in Italy, fabulous fresh seafood and a superb range of wine, Apulia offers a relaxed and civilised way of life. Now is the time to invest in Apulia property whilst prices are still competitive; whether you invest in Brindisi property or Ostuni property those wise enough to do so will enjoy their taste of unspoilt Italy.
Guide to the Italian Buying Process
1. Making the Offer to Purchase (Offerta)
Once you have found the property you wish to purchase you will start the process by making a formal offer to the vendor, the estate agent will act on your behalf and put forward the offer, a deposit will be made available, generally around (10,000 - 20,000 EUR). Once the vendor has accepted the offer it will be formalised in writing to the vendor in both English and Italian. If this is accepted the deposit (Caparra Confirmatoria) will be paid to the vendor. This will form a legally binding contract. Neither party may withdraw at this point, the sale can be forced by either party or a claim for damages can be made. If the purchaser withdraws their deposit will be lost, if the vendor withdraws the purchaser can claim twice the deposit in compensation.
2. Signing the Preliminary Contract (Compromesso or Contratto preliminare)
The next step will take place between 1 and 3 months after the offer has been accepted, this is a formal agreement between the vendor and purchaser to sell and buy the property, this agreement is the Preliminary Contract and will contain the conditions and terms of the sale. It is important at this stage that you have a full understanding of all the details contained in the contract. We would strongly recommend that you appoint a Notary who is fluent in English. This document will include the purchase price, a detailed description of the property including completion date and will cover any obligations placed upon the buyer and the vendor. All information relating to the property including any planning permissions for the property and the cadastral details (a public record, survey, or map of the value, extent, and ownership of land as a basis of taxation). Once the Preliminary Contract (Contratto preliminare) has been signed a further deposit (Caparra Confirmatoria) will be paid, this will generally be 10% - 20% of the purchase price. There will also be an estate agents Commission Fee (Provvigione) which will need to be paid at this point.
3. Signing the Final Deed of Sale (Rogito or Atto Notarile)
The purchaser must have a bank account in order to make the purchase on completion. The signing of the final deed of sale which will authorise the transfer of the property must be overseen by a Notary (Notaio). The buyer will select and hire the Notary, but they are members of an independent body of public/professionals who will draft the purchase deed, they will oversee the passing of the title legally from the vendor to the purchaser. The Notary will also verify the legality of the documentation and registration with the Conservatoria dei Registri Immobiliari and the Local Land Register.
4. Formalities to be observed after Completion
Foreign buyers should obtain a certified copy of the Purchase Deed (Rogito), which the Notary will have lodged with the authorities. Generally this will be available to collect around 2 – 3 weeks after completion. The Notary will also give you a form to complete for the the local authority (Questura) who will have been given formal notice of the purchase. Your Notary will help you to complete this form. You will need to contact the utilities companies to set up new contracts (power, water, telephone, gas etc.). If the property is a flat, the condominium manager (Amministratore del condominio) should be informed of change of ownership of the property.
Various taxes must be paid on purchases. Registration tax / stamp duty (Imposta di Registro) is calculated on the government’s valuation of the property (Valore catastale). This will vary according to whether the property is being purchased as a holiday home, or as your primary residence. For a holiday home stamp duty will be 10% of the valuation. If you are intending to use the property as your primary residence and apply for residency (Prima casa), providing this is done within 18 months of the property transfer then stamp duty will be reduced to 3% for an existing property and 4% for a new build. This will be paid to the Notary on completion of the purchase.
Land registration, mortgage and cadastral taxes also need to be paid to the Notary on completion. These are one-off payments and are around €168 each.
Once the property has been purchased further taxes must be paid. There is a local council tax ICI/IMU property tax (Imposta Comunale sugli Immobili) of 0.4% to 0.9% of the property’s cadastral value. The rate for this is calculated annually by the council and paid bi-annually in June and December. This rate will be reduced if the property is the primary residence (Prima Casa).
If you are not resident in Italy you will have to declare any income gained from activities in Italy to the Italian Tax authorities. This income will also have to be declared in your country of residence, you will need a double taxation agreement to mitigate against paying twice. This declaration will apply to any income you might obtain from letting a property in Italy. Some expenses incurred on the property may be off-set against the income you derive from letting out the property. This can include management expenses, local taxes, repairs etc.
There is one tax which applies only to holiday homes, there will be a 20% Capital Gain on the difference between the buying price and the selling price if the property is sold prior to 5 years ownership.
IMPORTANT - Disclaimer :
All information provided is believed to be current and provided free of charge. No liability can be accepted for the reliability of the information and statements made as this is obtained from 3rd parties. We always recommend you take legal advice from a fully qualified Lawyer or Notary before buying a property overseas.
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