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Buying a property in Sicily: a complete guide

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Yes, the analysis of Sicily's property market is included in our pack

Considering buying a nice property in Sicily? You're not alone!

Many people are fascinated by Sicily's historic charm and dream of owning a traditional house or a modern apartment in this region.

Is it financially viable, though? Are property prices increasing in Sicily? Is it expensive? Is it wiser to buy property in Palermo or Taormina? What are the property taxes? Where are the best yields?

We know the answers.

The Investropa team has done their homework on this market. As a matter of fact, we've put all our findings together in a pack. Get it now.

In the lines below, we'll provide you with helpful information.

How's the property market in Sicily?

Is the property market doing well or poorly? People disagree. Instead of listening to opinions, we prefer to look at data and stats to find the real answers.

Types of properties

In Sicily, you can find various types of properties for sale to suit different preferences and needs.

These include charming villas with stunning sea views, cozy townhouses nestled in historic villages, spacious apartments in bustling city centers, rustic countryside cottages surrounded by nature, and even plots of land for those interested in building their dream home.

Whether you're looking for a serene coastal retreat, an urban dwelling, or a countryside escape, Sicily offers a range of property options to explore.

Buying or renting?

(If you're keeping it for yourself and not renting it)

If Sicily has captured your heart as your destination of choice, you might be considering whether it's better to buy a property or opt for renting in this stunning Italian island.

Generally, buying is a better choice than renting in Sicily due to its low property prices and the potential to generate income from tourism.

But, if you prioritize flexibility, renting is the way to go.

Property prices in Sicily

On average, according to the last data from National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), purchasing a property in Sicily would cost you around $1,130 per square meter.

Naturally, property prices are quite spread out. The value of a square meter for a sea-view property in Sicily might differ from a house in Palermo. We actually offer a more in-depth analysis in our pack for buying property in Sicily and in Italy.

To put things in perspective, it means that, instead of buying an apartment in a big city like Paris, you can afford 12 properties in Sicily.

Also, housing prices in Sicily are 56% cheaper than in Sardinia.

The most expensive places in Sicily are probably Palermo, Catania, and Agrigento, while the cheapest places are likely smaller towns and rural areas.

Sicily Property Price per Square Meter


First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that Italy remains, today, a very stable country. The last Fragile State Index that has been reported for this place is 43.4.

Don't overlook this while weighing the pros and cons of buying a property in Sicily.

Also, according to the International Monetary Fund, Italy's economy is expected to soar by 4.8% in the coming 5 years, resulting in an average GDP growth rate of 1% (it's not much).

If you intend to invest in real estate in Sicily it's a good thing because when the economy grows, people tend to become wealthier, which usually results in higher housing prices.

Also, in Italy, the average GDP per capita has changed by 4.1% over the last 5 years. The growth, although minimal, is still present.

Looking for more updated data? We've done a big-picture study to find out if it's a good idea to purchase property in Italy right now.

Buying property in Sicily

Buying real estate in Sicily can be difficult due to a lack of reliable and up-to-date information about available properties. That's why we have created the pack to buy property in Sicily and in Italy.

Buying process

In the pack of documents we have built, we've covered everything about buying a property, from the contacts you'll need to the taxes that need to be paid, and even where to look for available properties.

Now, we're presenting a simpler version to make it easier for you to understand and follow along.

This is the step-by-step process to purchase a property in Sicily:

  1. Research Sicilian property market and regulations, including the "Piano Casa" urban planning law.
  2. Engage a reputable real estate agent with knowledge of Sicilian property laws and local areas.
  3. Review properties and select one that fits your needs, considering historical buildings or "baglios."
  4. Negotiate the price and terms with the seller, considering the "cadastral value" for tax purposes.
  5. Hire a notary to draft the preliminary sales agreement ("Compromesso") and check for "usufruct" or "rights of preemption."
  6. Sign the preliminary contract and pay a deposit (usually 10% of property value) to the seller or the real estate agent's escrow account.
  7. Conduct due diligence on the property, including obtaining a "Visura Catastale" (land registry extract) and "Certificato di Destinazione Urbanistica" (urban planning certificate).
  8. Obtain necessary permits, such as "DIA" (Declaration of Commencement) for renovations.
  9. Finalize the sales contract ("Atto di Vendita") with the notary, signing in the presence of the seller.
  10. Pay the remaining balance to the seller, including notary fees, registration tax, and "imposta di registro" (stamp duty).
  11. Register the property with the "Agenzia delle Entrate" (Revenue Agency) and the Land Registry ("Conservatoria dei Registri Immobiliari").
  12. Transfer utilities and officially complete ownership transfer, obtaining the "Foglio di Mappatura" (mapping sheet) to update property boundaries.

Also, if you're not from the country, you might want to check our article on how to buy property as a foreigner in Italy.

Make a profitable investment in Sicily

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buying property in Sicily

Where to find a property

Discover these websites to find properties in Sicily.

  • Immobiliare - Italy's leading real estate portal, providing an innovative platform for property listings and searches.
  • Green-Acres - Europe's leading platform for second homes, offering diverse properties for sale in Italy and other countries.
  • Immobiliare Italiano - Offering a wide range of Italian real estate and luxury properties for sale, catering to different preferences and budgets.
  • Houses of Italy - A licensed real estate agency presenting various properties for sale across different regions of Italy.
  • Italian Houses for Sale - A property website featuring a diverse selection of properties for sale in various Italian regions, connecting clients with professional agents.

Also, know that we have included contacts of real estate agencies, property lawyers, moving companies, expats communities and more in our pack for buying property in Italy.

Which properties for which budget?

As mentioned before, the average price per sqm in Sicily is $1,130. For a one-bedroom property of 60 square meters, the cost would be around $68,000, while a two-bedroom with 85 square meters would be approximately $96,000.

Of course, the price of properties can be influenced by their qualities and the area they're in.

The best spots in Sicily usually have higher housing prices. A house in Taormina might be about $210,000, and a house in Ortigia could be priced at $200,000.

Still, some spots are more wallet-friendly. You might find an apartment in Caltanissetta for $40,000 or an apartment in Gela for just $30,000.

We give a more detailed pricing list in our full pack for buying property in Italy.

Risks and pitfalls

Here are the main pitfalls specific to buying a property in Sicily, Italy:

  • Mafia involvement: Potential risks of encountering properties linked to organized crime, leading to legal troubles and safety concerns.
  • Ancient property laws: Sicily's historical property laws can be complex, leading to difficulties in understanding ownership rights and restrictions.
  • Inheritance disputes: Sicilian inheritance traditions may result in complicated ownership claims and legal battles among family members.
  • Eruptive risks: Properties near active volcanoes, like Mount Etna, may face geological hazards and insurance challenges.
  • Seismic vulnerability: Sicily's seismic activity requires careful assessment of properties for earthquake resistance and insurance considerations.
  • Non-EU buyer restrictions: Non-EU citizens may face additional legal restrictions and requirements when purchasing property.
  • Protected area restrictions: Buying properties in protected natural areas may have limitations on development and land use.
  • Tourist rental regulations: Stringent regulations on short-term rentals may impact the property's income potential for vacation rentals.

We don't want this to happen to you, so we have included a full checklist for your property investment in our pack of documents. Avoid these mistakes and save a lot of money.

real estate Italy

Everything you need to know is included in our Italy Property Pack

Living in Sicily

Life in Sicily is full of culture, beauty, and delicious food, making it an ideal place to purchase property and live a relaxed and enjoyable lifestyle.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Sicily is generally lower than in other parts of Italy. Prices for groceries and rent are generally lower than the national average, making it an attractive place for those looking for a more affordable lifestyle.

Here are some examples to better understand the cost of living in Sicily:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the historic "Ortigia" neighborhood of Syracuse: $800 per month.
  • A meal at a local "Trattoria" with "Pasta alla Norma," a famous Sicilian dish: $12.
  • Monthly pass for the "Circumetnea" railway that circles Mount Etna: $40.
  • Utilities (electricity, water) for a traditional "Masseria" farmhouse in the countryside: $120 per month.
  • A glass of "Marsala," a fortified wine produced in the eponymous town: $5.
  • Entrance fee to the ancient "Segesta" archaeological park: $8.
  • Monthly membership at a fitness center in the modern "Liberty" district of Palermo: $50.
  • A jar of "Pistachio Cream" from Bronte, known for its flavorful pistachios: $15.

Areas and spots

We want to show information in a way that is easy to understand and pleasant to read. So, we made a summary table that lists the different areas in Sicily. For yields, prices and rents, check our property pack.

Place Description Strengths Weaknesses


Palerma is the capital city of Sicily with a rich history, beautiful architecture, and a thriving real estate market.

High demand from tourists and locals, diverse property options, and potential for short-term rentals.

Competition from other investors, traffic congestion, and some areas with higher crime rates.


Taormina is a picturesque hilltop town known for its stunning views, ancient Greek theater, and luxurious properties.

Strong appeal to high-end tourists, potential for luxury vacation rentals, and a well-preserved historical ambiance.

High property prices, limited land for new developments, and seasonal fluctuations in tourism.


Syracuse boasts a mix of historical and modern properties, charming old town, and proximity to beautiful beaches.

Good rental potential, lower property prices compared to other popular areas, and a growing expat community.

Some neighborhoods may require renovation, occasional overcrowding during peak tourist seasons.


Catania is a vibrant city with a lively real estate market, a young population, and a strategic location on the east coast.

High demand for rentals, diverse investment options, and ongoing urban development projects.

Heavy traffic, air pollution, and certain areas may have higher crime rates.


Trapani is a coastal town with beautiful beaches, historic sites, and a growing interest from property investors.

Booming tourism industry, affordable property prices, and potential for vacation rentals.

Limited job opportunities, some parts may require modernization, and seasonal economy.


Marsala is known for its wine production, stunning coastline, and charming old town, making it attractive to property investors.

Increasing popularity among tourists, well-established wine industry, and lower cost of living.

Less diverse economy, limited international connections, and occasional water scarcity.


Agrigento is famous for the Valley of the Temples, offering historical attractions and a tranquil atmosphere for potential investors.

Historical significance, potential for cultural tourism, and lower property prices.

Less economic diversity, limited job opportunities, and some areas may be less developed.

Life in Sicily

The economic landscape of Sicily is largely composed of small and medium-sized businesses, as well as agriculture and fishing. Sicily also has a strong tourism industry, which is a major source of economic activity in the region.

What expats usually like the most in Sicily is the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle, with plenty of opportunities to explore the local culture, cuisine, and stunning landscapes. They also enjoy the warm climate and the many outdoor activities the island has to offer, such as swimming, hiking, and sailing.

Also, you have to know that Sicily can experience earthquakes and volcanic eruptions because of its location along the convergence of tectonic plates.

Access to healthcare in Sicily is generally good, though there are some disparities between urban and rural areas.

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Renting out in Sicily

This part is for you if you want to buy a property with the goal of renting it out and making money from it, rather than living there.


According to the data reported by Wikipedia, the home ownership rate in Italy is 74%, which is average.

When people buy in Sicily it's usually to live there, and not to rent out (or at least not to long-term tenants).

If you decide to rent out long-term, you might want to target young professionals and retirees looking to take advantage of the region's warm climate, low cost of living, and cultural attractions. Additionally, students studying abroad and digital nomads looking for a change of scenery could also be interested in renting in Sicily.

Here is a little summary table we've made for you.

Property type and area Profiles of potential tenants What they are looking for Expected monthly rent in $

Apartment in Palermo

Students, professionals

City living, cultural attractions

$800 - $1500

Villa in Taormina

Tourists, retirees

Seaside views, historical charm

$1500 - $5000

Farmhouse in Agrigento

Nature enthusiasts, families

Rural setting, archaeological sites

$1000 - $3000

Apartment in Catania

Students, professionals

University access, vibrant nightlife

$800 - $1500

Now, you will probably ask us about the yields. Unlike for other places, it would be difficult to give you the average rental yields in Sicily due to insufficient long-term rental properties available for analysis. Also, it's quite diverse. For example, rental yields in Palermo and Catania are quite different from those in smaller towns.

Finally, know that, in Italy, the taxes are around 21% of the total rental income.


You could also decide to rent short-term to tourists visiting Sicily for its historic sites, beaches, and natural beauty. Additionally, you could rent to business travelers in the area for conferences or meetings.

If you decide to go with that option, look for properties in Palermo, Catania, and Taormina. These areas are well-known tourist destinations and offer a great opportunity for short-term rentals.

Is it worth buying real estate in Sicily then?

Buying a property in Sicily can be a fantastic idea if you're looking for an affordable Mediterranean dream. The region offers a wide range of property options, from charming coastal villas to historic townhouses and bustling city apartments. Sicily's property prices are considerably lower than those in major European cities, making it an attractive choice for those seeking an authentic Italian lifestyle without breaking the bank.

With property prices around $1,130 per square meter on average and a cost of living generally lower than other parts of Italy, you can get more for your money in Sicily. Plus, the potential for property appreciation in the coming years, as predicted by the International Monetary Fund, adds an investment angle to consider.

However, it's crucial to be aware of the potential pitfalls. Sicily's property market has its unique challenges, including the risk of encountering properties linked to organized crime, complex property laws, and seismic and geological hazards near active volcanoes. Non-EU citizens may also face additional legal restrictions when buying property.

If you plan to rent out your property, you'll need to navigate the specific rental regulations and evaluate the market dynamics carefully.

Ultimately, buying a property in Sicily can be a smart move if you're looking for an affordable Mediterranean haven, but it requires thorough research and consideration of the region's unique complexities.

Make sure you understand the real estate market in Sicily

Don't rush into buying the wrong property in Italy. Sit, relax and read our guide to avoid costly mistakes and make the best investment possible.

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The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement or advice. While we strive for accuracy, we do not guarantee the completeness or reliability of the information, including text, images, links, or other elements in this material. Following the content and analyses presented here does not assure specific outcomes. For guidance tailored to your individual circumstances, it is recommended to consult with a professional, such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor.