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Where to find a property for sale in Como

Accessible from Milan’s three airports, and an easy drive from the Swiss Alps, the lakes of Northern Italy are popular all year round. Homeowners on Lake Como, Maggiore, Lugano or Garda have skiing, golf and boating to hand plus many elegant lakeside towns.

Breath-taking Como is the most cosmopolitan and well-known outside Italy since film star George Clooney bought a home there - since then it’s definitely on the radar of international buyers and various other celebrity owners include Richard Branson seeking Belle Epoque waterfront homes with privacy.

Clooney’s continued presence is now attracting the sort of clientele who gravitate towards the flashier Costa Smeralda or St Tropez - and from Russia, China and India. While some enquiries are for properties over €1 million, the biggest proportion is for those below €100,000, and you can certainly buy an apartment there for that, or a little more.

As with many lakes, not all sides are equal - in terms of sunlight, popularity, access and then property prices. Apart from the stretch around the Clooney’s Laglio, the other hotspots are the elegant tourist resorts of Tremezzo, Cernobbio and Bellagio. American buyers love the cobbled quaintness of Bellagio, and it’s been possible to buy lock up and leave new lakefront apartments from around €300,000 with shared pool, security and parking in recent years.

Cernobbio - home of one of Clooney’s haunts, the Il Gatto Nero (the black cat) restaurant as the lake’s best designer shopping – is glamorous and there you might get a loft-style apartment in a former industrial building from €350,000 to €400,000. There are various small factories and around the lake from the days when the area - close to Italy’s industrial heartland of Milan - was prominent in the textiles and motorcar business.

Look away from the hotspots and your money goes much further, but beware the nuances of lakeside living. The convenience of being close to the water often means being on the lakeside road (and traffic noise); whilst being elevated back and behind can mean better views. On the eastern bank [of the western leg] a property might cost half the price of a comparable one across the water.

Prices drop further elsewhere. The eastern leg (further from Milan and less prettier) is much less popular than the western one but proximity to ski resorts and watersports also draw buyers to the northern half. If you don’t mind being 90 minutes from Malpensa airport you can get a three-bed property for around €250,000, or even a 30 sq m studio apartment in a fisherman’s house on the lake promenade (with a lake view) for around €100,000.

Lake Como is world-famous, great for a year-round home and to earn decent rental income if you want to let our your property, and easily reached for weekends. If you don’t like crowds of tourists, look to the northern half of the lake, or to one of the quieter lakes - or go offpeak!

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