Are you in love with the bella vita and seeking an affordable Italian holiday home? Now could just be the time to make your move.
Recent figures from Italy's tax agency, Agenzia delle Entrate, show property prices down in its 12 largest cities highlight the golden opportunity that the wider Italian real estate sector represents for UK buyers.
As a further incentive, sellers across Italy currently have to discount an average 15 per cent from listed prices to clinch deals, according to Italian business federation, Confindustria.
However, large, tourist hotspots such as Rome, Florence, Milan and Venice rarely offer genuine cut-price deals - because prices are high to begin with and any reductions are comparatively slight.
British bargain-hunters are instead better off heading to coastal resorts in the south of the country for the best discounted offers.
Why Buy a Property on the Coast?
Simon Llewellyn, marketing manager at Homes and Villas Abroad, explains: "We still get clients asking for a two-bedroom apartment in places like Rome, Venice and Lucca for £60,000. That's unrealistic.
"Southern areas such as Sicily are too often overlooked by Brits, yet Sicily has superb beaches and weather, easy airport access - and prices have fallen around 30 per cent over the past five years. This year, however, our stand-out tip for buying on a modest budget is the little-known resort of Scalea in Calabria."
Just £22,000 can buy an already renovated two-bedroom apartment of 45-50sq m here. Prices often start even lower, with studio flats from £18,000 and some one-bedroom sea-view apartments at £20,000.
Most foreigners who buy properties in Calabria use them as holiday homes and are happy with two bedrooms. But even larger properties need not break the bank, with three-bedroom apartments starting from around £38,000.
As it is currently a buyer's market, greater concessions are possible, such as bargaining even further and asking whether the seller can include the furniture in the final price.
Mr Llewellyn adds: "There are also one-off deals of the century. For instance, there's a one-bedroom apartment currently on the market reduced by 50 per cent to £13,500 because it's an unused holiday home."
And as Scalea is relatively small - just over eight square miles and 11,000 inhabitants - you are rarely more than a seven- or eight-minute stroll from either the beach or the town centre.
Other attractions include its eight-mile beach and its balmy climate that means average daytime temperatures of around 30C in summer and a mild 14C in winter. For lovers of historic attractions, there is the 12th century Santa Maria d'Episcopio church, a 13th century Norman castle and remnants of a medieval city wall.
Getting to Calabria
There are two main options for getting to Scalea. Lamezia Terme Airport (served by regular Ryanair flights from Stansted) is around a 90-minute drive to the south, while Naples' Capodichino Airport (served by EasyJet from Gatwick) is just over two hours away to the north.