Monferrato is giving the Langhe a run for its money

Prices are almost fifty percent lower and the return on investment could be greater. But overseas investors prefer the Barolo wine region
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Many people’s dream second home, particular for overseas investors, is a farmhouse in Alba, the most expensive area in the Langhe region. Yet the property market is more buoyant in Monferrato, where prices are 40-50 percent lower and are set to rise more steeply in the mid to long term. Ever since Langhe-Roero and Monferrato was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2014, it has been attracting more and more tourists year on year and property investments have become increasingly soughtafter. The proportion of Italian buyers has also grown in recent years, although still far below overseas investors. “Purchases made by Italians increased by 7-8% in 2021 compared to 2020. Despite this, around 70% of transactions were still completed by overseas buyers,” explains Andrea Monti, Head of the foreign sector of FIAIP (Italian Federation of Professional Estate Agents) Piedmont. He adds that “The Piedmont hills are proving most popular with Europeans. Some Americans and Asians are also investing, but primarily in local wineries rather than in the residential sector. Most Italian investors who purchase properties in Monferrato or the Langhe come from Milan or Turin.” According to FIAIP surveys, the most soughtafter properties are a stone or fully renovated farmhouse, an Art Nouveau or eighteenth-century villa, or, failing that, a detached house with garden or cultivated land that benefits from a beautiful view. As such, demand is particularly high in the hills, with property searches typically concentrated in the area from Ovada to Acqui Terme, towards Nizza Monferrato, Canelli and the Upper Langhe, VILLE&CASALI 161 to Calosso and the hills of Casale Monferrato, extending as far as Alba and the Barolo and Barbaresco wine regions.


Sky-high prices. According to Enrico Calosso from Houses in Piedmont, an estate agent in Dogliani, most people are looking for a traditional Piedmontese detached or semi-detached farmhouse or cottage with a private garden and views of the vineyards and the Alps. "But this is a difficult property to find on the market. By way of example, in the Barolo wine region, in Monforte d'Alba, a 300-square metre farmhouse ripe for renovation with 1,500 square metres of land to house a pool could cost from €200,000 to €220,000, to which you will have to add at least €300,000 for the renovation”. Here, demand is high but supply seems to be lacking. Luca Stroppiana and Riccardo Mondino from Langhe Real Estate explain that "a fully renovated hilltop farmhouse with a small vineyard in Monforte d'Alba, La Morra or Barolo could cost from €800,000 to 1 million euros." According to Fabrizio Muratore, owner of the Rinaldo Muratore estate agents of Mondovì, because of the lack of supply of farmhouses and villas in and around Alba, demand has shifted to the Upper Langhe towards the sea, particularly Murazzano and Bossolasco. As Emanuele Dotta from Dotta estate agents based in Dogliani points out, in the Upper Langhe, among the woods and hazelnut groves, “many prospective foreign buyers have stayed in order to work from home. They have twice the money to spend as their Italian counterparts and are looking for a stone cottage that is either fully renovated or only requires minor work, with 2-3 bedrooms, land, garden and views of the hills and the Alps.” According to Albina Vassallo from Fiduciaria Immobiliare Langhe estate agents of Cortemilia, “The Upper Langhe property market has always been steady and has never dipped. The Dutch, Danish, French, Belgians and Germans are always ready to invest, enticed by the thriving woods and hazelnut groves, as well as the isolation that comes from being far from the motorways and train tracks, yet just 50 km from the sea and 30 km from Alba and Acqui Terme.” Some estate agents, such as Gieffe Patrimoni of Turin, are dedicated to meeting the demand for such sought-after and luxurious farmhouses in the Langhe and Alba. "Last September, we sold a property for 3 million euros in La Morra,” confirms the owner Gerardo Festa.


The most sought-after property? “The demand for village cottages and detached houses among Italians is steadily increasing, while the Dutch, Norwegians, Swedish, Belgians and now also the Americans favour the hills. Many people from overseas want to move or set up a hospitality business here,” explain Davide, Valter and Mara Boido from the family-run Boido estate agents in Santo Stefano Belbo ( “We work with very serious clients who do not have a lot to spend but are looking for Langa stone houses built in the 1900s Piedmontese style to restore”. The most popular price bracket is €110,000-€150,000. On the border between the Langhe and Monferrato, demand is easier to meet. "In September, we sold a partially renovated 330-square metre stone detached house with 2,000 square metres of land to accommodate a swimming pool, in the heart of the Moscato wine region in Castiglione Tinella, on the border of the provinces of Asti and Cuneo, to a family from London”, the Boido family continue. “It went for €140,000". And the Boidos think that prices are just one of the things that may change. According to Maria Cristina Oggero from Verde Abitare estate agents of Mombercelli in the province of Asti, this increase in prices could become significant “within the next couple of years. I have recently seen a 30 percent increase in sales for detached farmhouses that have either already been restored or are ripe for renovation in the area between Nizza Monferrato and Costigliole d'Asti, in the heart of vineyard-studded hills. They are mostly being snapped up by north Europeans and a few investors from Turin. You can live all year round in the area from Asti to Alessandria. There is no shortage of amenities and the climate is mild for many months”. A 250-square metre cottage or farmhouse in Monferrato requiring a complete renovation could cost €100,000. This price would rise to €180,000-€200,000 if it were habitable, and could peak at around €300,000 for a renovated property finished to an excellent standard (see table). This example was cited by Laura Caracciolo Franco from the Tecnocasa estate agents Costigliole d'Asti branch (tel. 0141.961723), who adds, “My clients are looking for a second home in Monferrato because the prices are lower, sometimes 40-50 percent lower than in the Langhe. And this includes clients from Asti, Turin and Lombardy”. According to Stefania Emanuel and Alessandro Matarozzo, both license partners of Engel&Völkers Asti-Monferrato, “Monferrato’s development has been hindered due to the strong industrial settlement of Turin and its related industries, which has spread as far as Casale, Asti and Alessandria, but it has the greatest potential in terms of property, tourism and food and wine. In our opinion, the real gamble would be to invest in this area, where property prices could one day rival those of the more sought-after Langhe”. The following example speaks for itself: for €600,000-€700,000 you could buy a fully refurbished, 400-square metre highend farmhouse with pool, in a beautiful setting, between Casale, Moncalvo or Cocconato d'Asti, or in Canale, in Roero. “The same house would cost twice as much in Monforte, La Morra or Neive,” explains Stefania Emanuel. “Overseas buyers discovered the Langhe many years ago and there has been no shortage of investors who have built properties of enormous value. Monferrato could become the alternative to Tuscany thanks to its beautiful setting and more affordable prices”.


Published on Ville&Casali November 2021
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