Island of Capri with yachts and sea

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Credit: Sotheby’s International Realty

Capri: why buyers are willing to wait years to find the right property on the vibrant Italian island

30 April 2024 • Written by Ruth Bloomfield

Ruth Bloomfield takes a look at property favourites on the Italian island of Capri...

Flanked by mountains and lined with pastel-painted cafés and bars, the waterfront at Marina Grande has plenty of rustic Italian charm.

It is also reported to be the most expensive marina in the world, its berths booked months in advance by summer visitors who use the island of Capri, with its chic restaurants and boutiques, as a staging post for tours of the Amalfi Coast. And – no surprises here – Capri’s property market is equally oversubscribed.

Cristina Carrani, real estate agent at Engel & Völkers Capri-Amalfi, says she has a number of buyers eager to buy a home close to vibrant Capri town itself, who are willing to wait years for the right property. The desire for space and solitude that emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic means that Anacapri, the wilder, more rural western side of the island, has also begun to attract buyers from around the world, resulting in strong price growth in recent years.

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This six-bedroom Caprese-style villa in Anacapri enjoys a touch of solitude on a private road.
Credit: Engel & Völkers

Capri, in the Gulf of Naples, has been a holiday resort since Roman times and later acquired a slightly bohemian reputation, bolstered by visitors and residents such as Oscar Wilde, Henry James and Maxim Gorky, who all fell for the island’s unique atmosphere and extravagant natural beauty.

Around half of Carrani’s buyers are islanders who have amassed great wealth through Capri’s thriving tourist industry and are keen to invest in large estates. “On Capri we have one of the highest incomes in Italy,” she says. Another quarter per cent come from cities on mainland Italy – nearby Naples, as well as Milan and Rome.

The rest are foreign buyers, mostly from Europe and North America, who Carrani notes often work in either finance or the film and music industries. Many are self-employed, giving them the freedom to spend weeks at a time at their holiday homes around the world.

Credit: Sotheby’s International Realty

Diletta Giorgolo, head of residential for Italy Sotheby’s International Realty, sees a larger proportion of international buyers on Capri – around 70 per cent of the homes sold by her team go to middle-aged Americans and Northern Europeans, although she notes that the number of Italian buyers is increasing. 

“After the pandemic, Italians have wanted a nearby, reachable second home by the sea,” she says. Whatever their nationality, most buyers are after a holiday home and will rent their properties out when not in situ.

Buyers keen to be close to the action in Capri town must budget an average of between €11,000 and €13,000 (£9,300 and £11,000) per square metre for a property, says Carrani. But those looking for a piece of really prime real estate covet Capri’s most exclusive street, Via Tragara, which snakes down from the town to the island’s southeast coast. “A Canadian buyer recently paid around €17,000 per square metre for a house there in need of complete renovation,” says Carrani.

This seven-bedroom villa in Anacapri is one of the island’s few 19th-century residences.
Credit: Sotheby’s International Realty

Another key location is Via Marina Piccola, prized for its views of the iconic Faraglioni – three spurs of rock that rise out of the sea off the island’s south coast. “There was one sale which went beyond €20,000 per square metre, because the house was new, and the views were beautiful,” Carrani says.

The problem with the town of Capri, premium prices aside, is its sheer shortage of stock. “I have a waiting list,” says Carrani. “Clients are willing to wait two to three years to find the right property.”

The other option is to search for a home around Anacapri, three kilometres away, where average prices stand somewhat lower at between €6,000 and €9,000 per square metre. There are more options to choose from, and buyers can pick up a substantial villa from around €2 million.

“Capri is more expensive, and there is a very limited supply of homes,” says Carrani. “Anacapri has become more interesting because you can get more space. It is also less fancy and visited by fewer tourists, so it is more relaxed.”

This five-bedroom villa just south of Capri town dates from the early 1900s.
Credit: Sotheby’s International Realty

Giorgolo observes another geographical divide between first-time buyers and long-time aficionados. “The new buyers prefer destinations reached by car, especially Marina Piccola,” she says. “True lovers of the island, on the other hand, choose locations that are only accessible by walking.”

Across Italy, house prices have struggled to fully recover from the global financial crisis, which hit relatively late here in 2012 and 2013, and have been on a long, slow decline ever since, thanks to a series of shocks, including rising taxes, the pandemic and the Ukraine war. 

On Capri, Carrani says limited stock plus high demand means prices around Capri town have remained comparatively stable, and the renewed interest in Anacapri has stimulated growth. She estimates that since she came to live on the island six years ago prices have increased by around 50 per cent, proving that despite a lethargic national property market, Capri is the place to be.

On the market:

A five-bedroom villa, just south of Capri town

Built in the early 1900s, the 450m2 property is set in mature gardens with spectacular views
of the Faraglioni. €15m to €20m,

A landmark 19th-century house in peaceful Anacapri

The recently renovated seven-bedroom property measures a spacious 790m2. Outside is a terraced garden, with swimming pool and sea views. €15m+,

A six-bedroom villa in Anacapri

Perched on the hillside in Anacapri, the property commands stunning sea views. The 231m2 house is designed in the traditional Capri style and is surrounded by a terraced garden with a swimming pool. €4m,

First published in the April 2024 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.

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