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Lake Iseo, hidden hot spot for small budget property buyers

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Daria Burimova — real estate sales manager for Italy and other countries,
Daria Burimova — real estate sales manager for Italy and other countries,
Svetlana Grishina — real estate sales manager for Italy,
Svetlana Grishina — real estate sales manager for Italy,

The north of Italy has been pegged as the place to experience the famous ‘dolce vita’, but it’s not without a hefty price tag. Around Lake Como and Lake Garda, Lombardy’s top destinations, real estate is in demand and prices are high as more and more wealthy Europeans buy property there.

However, all is not lost for those on a smaller budget! has found Lombardy’s secret, where prices are still reasonable and the views as magnificent.

This hot new destination is Lake Iseo (Lago d'Iseo). Less promoted than Lakes Como and Garda, the area has maintained its beauty, tranquil atmosphere and affordable real estate prices. Daria Burimova and Svetlana Grishina, sales managers at , are well acquainted with the shores of this lake and ready to share its property secrets.

About Lake Iseo…

Lake Iseo; it’s not as large as Como or, say, Lake Maggiore and is surrounded by marvellous green hills, chestnut woods and olive groves, orchards and vineyards. It stretches from the foot of the Alps in Lombardy to the southeast of Lake Como and to the west of Lake Garda. It is 25 km long from north to south and 5 km wide.

The climate around Iseo is fantastic. You find that with the fresh air of the Alpine foothills, it never becomes unbearably hot during the summer and hits a comfortable +28 ºС while the crystal blue waters of the lake stay between +22 ºC and +28 ºC, keeping it warm enough to swim. On top of that, the winters are mild and windless.

It takes about an hour and a half to reach Iseo by car from Milan or Verona, which both have regular flights from all major European cities. High-speed motorways link up the lake with ski resorts in the Alps like Montecampione, Presolana, Ponte di Legno, etc. They are about a ninety-minute drive away and if you go a bit further, you can reach Lugano in Switzerland by car in about two hours. There’s even a rail connection from Brescia to Val Camonica along the eastern lakeshore.

Iseo has Italy's largest lake island, Monte Isola
Iseo has Italy's largest lake island, Monte Isola

There are about twenty towns around the lake including Iseo, Sarnico, Pisogne and Lovere, the largest ones. All of them are cosy little marvels with narrow lanes, stunning medieval centres, fabulous villas and churches. They all have grocery shops, clothing boutiques, healthcare facilities, state and private schools, cafes and bars that make everyday life comfortable here. Farms, wineries, cheese dairies and local restaurants offer endless choice of fresh and tasty food and drinks from the area.

For the more active buyers, there is sailing, windsurfing schools and hiking, as well as spas and thermal baths for those who want to take a break from city life. The three thermal baths near Lake Iseo are Boario Terme, Trescore Balneario and San Pellegrino Terme where the world-famous mineral water is produced.

Prices for all budgets

Lake Iseo has been known by European tourists and Italians themselves for a while now, though it’s not quite a famous as Como, the summer getaway for Hollywood stars. Iseo is where you’ll find the Italian celebrities enjoying time off in their own villas and the lake’s island of San Paolo belongs to the owner of Beretta, the Italian firearm producer.

One of the great things about this area is that the cost of living is not as high as most places in the north of Italy, and this goes for local property too. Italians, followed by Brits and Germans, are the top buyers scouting the lake for their new holiday homes. Today Iseo has a great variety of affordable housing in neat residential complexes while the apartment layout and construction technology allow local developers to set affordable prices.

€150,000 will buy a one- or two-bedroom flat with a superb interior here in the prestigious Italian region of Lombardy, overlooking the shimmering lake or plunging mountain slopes.

Lakeview property is still affordable in Iseo
Lakeview property for sale in Italy is still affordable in Iseo

Yet another undeniable advantage of Iseo for real estate is that there is a wide range of new builds, whereas Lake Como or Maggiore real estate for sale is mostly pre-owned. European buyers appreciate these advantages, demand is steady and properties are sold out quickly. Right now, even has some new properties for sale on the Iseo with special terms meaning you don’t have to pay commission to the seller.

Properties on offer

So in short, Iseo has a wide selection of new properties in small residential complexes offering apartments and villettas. That’s the Italian word for a house or a townhouse that’s part of a complex. These properties have no more than 22 apartments with surface areas ranging from 40 to 150 sq. m. Most of them have a pool, sauna and sunbathing facilities for the residents too.

When they started building this type of construction, the developers took into account several key factors like the lake view, proximity to the historic town centre as well as access to ski resorts, amenities and infrastructure. The rationale is simple: the closer a property is to the water, the higher its price.

For example, there are rather expensive new properties on the south shore of Iseo only a five-minute drive from Sarnico. A 91 sq. m lake view ensuite two-bedroom apartment with a spacious two-car garage is the most affordable option here at €360,000. There are two swimming pools, a gym and spa inside the complex, not to mention a beach, tennis court, children's playground, cycling paths and a supermarket within a walking distance. The prices here are rather high because of this and the cutting-edge German technology used to build them.

Not to worry though, there are plenty of options for modest budgets too like Lovero on the northern shore. Currently, we have a 60 sq. m, one-bedroom Iseo-view property with a hall, a kitchen and a bathroom listed for €150,000.

Even a small budget of €69,000 can buy a magnificent view in Iseo, like the 40 sq. m one-bedroom apartment with bathroom, hall and kitchen in a residence near the historic town of Fonteno, just 7 km away from the western shore of the lake. In Italy, property with this layout is called bilocale. The town centre, lakeshore, Bergamo and the railway station are just a short bus ride away.

For buyers looking for more space, there are detached two-storey villettas of 135 sq. m with three bedrooms, hall, kitchen and two balconies each. They cost €322,000 and include a 50 sq. m. garden as well as free access to an outdoor pool located within the complex.

New apartments in Iseo can be bought furnished
New apartments in Iseo can be bought furnished

There are even options for those winter sports fans. The mountain town of Onore is 20 km away from the lake and prices for a two-bedroom apartment of 50 sq. m in a small residential complex start at €112,000. A larger two-bedroom of 90 sq. m with an attic and terrace sells for €150,000–170,000.

The price of any apartment here includes interior design and the buyer gets to choose the materials from a catalogue. It only takes a week to finish the apartment or house after that.

The residents of the complex enjoy the all-year view of the Presolana mountain range and can reach the nearby ski resorts of Monte Pora and Colere in just ten minutes by car.

All these new buildings in the valley or mountains and near the lake are perfectly integrated into the environment: they are compact buildings with no more than two storeys with spacious terraces and yards. Local developers use natural materials for the interior design, such as stone, wood and tiles.

“Lake Iseo is perfect for buying a pre-owned or new home for permanent residency or holidays. There is also great potential for investors: the region is growing and developing extensively on all shores. Those dreaming of their own lakeshore home should hurry before European buyers snatch up all the great properties here.”

This article was compiled by the  team:

  • Daria Burimova, Real Estate Sales Manager
  • Svetlana Grishina, Real Estate Sales Manager
  • Anna Bugaeva, Promo. Manager
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