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Europes New Second Home Hotspots

11.04.2015 | The Daily Telegraph

Europe’s new second-home hot spots

Where to find a beautiful bargain bolt-hole in an undiscovered corner of the Continent

Lake Bled Slovenia
Up and coming: Slovenia’s Lake Bled is within easy reach of many beautiful properties Photo: © Jan Wlodarczyk / Alamy

Liz Rowlinson

6:26PM BST 10 Apr 2015


Gone are the days of the property boom when each month yet another destination was heralded as the “new” Tuscany or the “next hot spot” on the back of a low-cost airline route.

Since the global downturn, property hunters have scuttled back to the tried and tested destinations and new train or air routes have been few and far between. Yet our appetite to discover fresh locations will never be quashed and these days it’s more about finding authenticity or affordability away from the big-name resorts or expat enclaves.

Here are four emerging European second‑home destinations.

Alaçati: trendy Turkish surf centre

Alacati: popular with surfers and its cobbled streets host food festivals and concerts

Located on the Cesme peninsula in south-west Turkey, Alacati is a tiny town of cobbled streets and whitewashed blue and green shuttered houses where Greek vineyard workers lived until the Twenties. Its lively sea breezes attract surfers from around the world, but now the town also hosts food festivals and music events, and offers a tempting array of boutique hotels and art galleries. It’s on the radar of Condé Nast Traveller, so it is surely only a matter of time before overseas property hunters discover it.

Historically popular with second-home owners from Izmir (one hour away) or Istanbul, the town is now attracting European buyers seeking something more than the cosmopolitan resorts of Bodrum or Kalkan.

“In the last year I’ve seen Dutch, Belgian, French and Italian buyers appear – they are the sort of people for whom historic authenticity is more important than just a beach home,” says Cameron Deggin of propertyturkey.com. “Most of the properties are in the traditional stone and wood style, but some newbuilds are becoming available too.”

In the old village, which is 2km inland, expect to pay around £150,000 for a three-bedroom renovated home with a small courtyard, but you can go up to £700,000 for a boutique-hotel size property. Rental prospects are good during the short season in this holiday village an hour away from the classical city of Ephesus.

For sale: a semi-detached villa offers three bedrooms and a garden with a private pool in Alacati village £324,000 (020 8371 0059; propertyturkey.com)

Southern Le Marche: bargain Italian beach homes

For those Italophiles for whom central Tuscany has lost its true identity amid the volumes of British and American home owners, the neighbouring Le Marche began to appeal.

First, they headed to the northern part of the region where farmhouses were a fraction of the price of those in “Chiantishire”, but you need to look south if you want a home that’s also near the beach.

In the summer, the Romans flock to their second homes in the charming low-key resorts along a 20km stretch of sandy beaches backed by huge palm trees and a cycling track.

Scandinavians began to buy properties and now the British are joining them, especially if they live within easy reach of Stansted, from where Ryanair flies to both Ancona and Pescara, both an hour away from southern Le Marche.

Grottamare, one of Le Marche's undiscovered seaside resorts

“I think the real reason that this area hasn’t taken off is that easyJet doesn’t fly there yet – the alternative to Ryanair is a 2.5 hour drive from Rome,” says Linda Travella of agent Casa Travella. “I believe this is the best area – along with north-west Sardinia – to get an Italian home by the sea for a great price.”

According to the Italian Tourist Board’s latest figures, a 6.3 per cent rise in tourism (higher than Tuscany’s 4.6 per cent) suggests Le Marche is certainly on the up. Embryonic hot spots are the seaside resorts of San Benedetto and Grottammare, but also Ripatransone and Offida situated a little inland.

Entry level is €120,00-€130,000 (£88,000-£95,000) for a one-bedroom apartment with a small balcony and terrace, or €160,000 (£117,000) for one with a sea view. Or you could consider fractional ownership if you think five weeks a year usage of your Italian home will suffice. For £65,000, you can get a one-tenth share in a historic three-bedroom home in the town of Petritoli, 20 minutes inland of the coast (appassionata.com).

For sale: a three-bedroom furnished apartment is located in a restored casali in Rotella, with shared garden and pool €149,000/£109,329 (01322 660988; casatravella.com)

Slovenia: lakes and mountains

While the high-end new developments of Montenegro’s stunning coastline, or the fashionable islands and music festivals of Croatia achieve an ever-higher profile, the dramatic landscapes of Slovenia are rarely trumpeted.

Its tiny yet beautiful coastline holds surprisingly little appeal for British property-hunters who instead head to alpine Slovenia for a stunning landscape of soaring peaks, deep valleys, crystal-clear lakes, canyons and deep forests.

The three most popular spots of north-west Slovenia are Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj and the Soca Valley (pictured), according to Justin Young of Slovenia Estates, Savills’ associate agent. “We are seeing an increase of British interest since the euro plunged,” he says. “Prices are pretty static and most people are looking for a little house that is easy to maintain and that they might rent out for an income. Younger buyers into adventure sports come with a budget of €150,000-€200,000 [£110,000-£147,000]; 50-somethings come with €350,000-€450,000 [£257,000- £330,000] to spend.”

A two to three-bedroom cottage 10-15 minutes away from Lake Bled – 20 minutes’ drive from Ljubljana airport – can be bought for the lower of those budgets, but you’ll pay €500,000 (£367,000)-plus for something with lake views and a classical old lake villa (perfect for a boutique hotel) is for sale for €790,000 (£580,000).

Better suited for those who love winter sports is Lake Bohinj, which offers the great resort of Vogel. Just north of it, in the village of Ukanc, you can buy a renovated three-bedroom alpine-style chalet for €320,000 (£235,000) (sloveniaestates.com).

For sale In the quiet village of Zasip near Lake Bled, a three/four-bedroom chalet with self-contained apartment and garden €425,000/£311,843 (003 8651 622 444; www.sloveniaestates.com)

Charente-Maritime, France

Although most people have heard of La Rochelle and the Ile de Ré on the Atlantic coastline of the Charente-Maritime in south-west France, this region has pretty much remained a closed book for British property hunters.

Well-heeled Parisians decamp for the summer to the chic resorts along a 420km stretch of beaches, but it seems we Brits are suddenly beginning to realise we may be missing a trick. French agent Leggett Immobilier saw the biggest increase of sales in this region in 2014. With an average price of €173,000 (£127,000), it’s perhaps not hard to see why. An increase in low-cost flights to La Rochelle has also helped.

“The real up-and-coming areas are Surgères, an attractive market town within easy reach of La Rochelle and 30 minutes from the sea; and Saujon, a small town built around oyster production a mere 10 minutes from the beach, and also the villages of the Gironde estuary,” says Tony Murless of Leggett. “Expect to pay just under €300,000 [£220,000] for a three-bedroom property with a pool on the fringes of Saujon.”

The Atlantic coast of the Charente-Maritime is undiscovered by British property buyers

North of the attractive seaside town of Royan (where Leggett have a handsome Thirties central town house for €386,900/£284,000), a new luxury golf resort is being built at St-Augustin-sur-Mer. Four-bedroom fully furnished luxury villas will cost €354,000 (£260,000) with an optional management scheme offering attractive yields (leforetdarmotte.com).

For sale: a detached five-bedroom home with a pool is on the outskirts of Saujon, a short drive from the beaches at Royan €397,500/£291,663 (0870 011 5151; frenchestateagents.com)

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