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Property In Berat Albania: Where, What And How To Buy

Explore Berat's property market with Albania Property Weekly: From UNESCO gems to modern homes, delve into this city's investment allure and architectural beauty.

Albania Property Weekly

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Welcome back to Albania Property Weekly, our regular column on buying property in Albania. If you haven’t subscribed, feel free to do so now using the form above – it’s free of charge and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Today, we’re covering one of my favourite cities in the country – Berat. The city, located about two hours’ drive from the capital Tirana, is an architectural gem with a variety of interesting properties that will appeal to lovers of traditional Ottoman houses. Let’s dive in.

Introduction to Berat

Berat, often heralded for its unique blend of history and culture, is a standout city in Albania’s property market. Noteworthy for its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the city offers investors a chance to own a piece of history. Berat’s appeal lies not just in its aesthetic and historical value but also in its diverse investment opportunities, mostly on account of its unique inventory of Ottoman period houses.

Geographical Layout And Property Areas Of Berat

Berat is divided into distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own character.

  • The historical areas of Mangalem and Gorica are separated by the Osum River, with Berat Castle creating a dramatic backdrop. These areas are known for their traditional Ottoman houses, many of which include walled gardens and require restoration. Mangalem is the side most often pictured on Instagram posts and was the first to be restored, as witnessed by a plethora of B&Bs and small shops.
  • Gorica is historically less prized than the opposite side, perhaps on account on having less exposure to the sun during the winter, and is therefore a little bit rougher around the edges. However, it’s difficult to see how the traditional houses in the area won’t be restored to their former glory in the near future. In fact, we recently had the pleasure to visit a beautiful Italianate house from the late 1800s that will be shortly turned into a B&B.
  • The acropolis of Berat sits above Mangalem and is a mix of medieval fortifications, Christian Orthodox churches, an old ruined mosque and a number of – sadly mostly derelict – Ottoman style houses. Several restaurants have cropped up in the area, and, again, we expect to see further restoration works to take place in the future as tourist flows increase and international investors’ interest trends up.
  • The modern part of Berat features buildings primarily from the 1970s onward. While these buildings may lack the charm of the old town, they offer functional living spaces and easier accessibility than narrow cobblestone paths. Notable modern areas for property investment include the vicinity around the mosque Xamia Mbret – including the promenade – and the area near the hospital, both of which offer a more pleasing environment compared to the rest of the modern city.

Where To Buy Property In Berat

For those interested in restoration and history, the neighbourhoods of Mangalem, Gorica, and the area around Berat Castle present ideal opportunities. Here, investors can find traditional Ottoman houses, often in need of significant renovation, which come with the added charm of small, walled gardens. These properties not only offer a connection to the past but also the potential for unique hospitality ventures or distinctive residential homes. For investors prioritising ease of access and modern amenities, the newer parts of Berat around Xamia Mbret and the hospital area provide practical and contemporary options.

Understanding UNESCO Protection in Berat’s Property Market

Properties in Berat’s historical quarters often come under the protective umbrella of UNESCO, which comes with pros and cons. Here’s what potential investors need to know:

  • UNESCO Jurisdiction: Certain properties within Berat are designated as UNESCO-protected, meaning they are considered of significant cultural heritage and must be preserved according to specific guidelines. This status can be both a badge of honor and a layer of complexity for property owners.
  • Renovation Support: Owning a UNESCO-protected property comes with the responsibility of maintaining its historical integrity. However, it’s not all about constraints; UNESCO often covers around 60% of the renovation costs to aid in the preservation efforts. This financial support significantly reduces the burden on property owners and encourages the maintenance of these cultural landmarks. However, it isn’t a given, and support by an experienced architect is necessary.
  • Planning and Materials: Renovating a UNESCO-protected property in Berat involves a more meticulous planning process compared to standard municipal procedures. The authorisation for renovations will take longer to obtain (read, up to a year rather than the customary few months), and there’s a requirement to use traditional materials and craftsmanship. While this might sound daunting, the authenticity and character these properties retain are unparalleled, making them highly coveted in the market. They simply don’t make Ottoman period houses anymore.
  • Local Expertise: Given Berat’s rising popularity among investors over the past decade, there has been a resurgence in traditional crafts essential for the renovation of these historic properties. However, a notable “brain drain” has seen some of the most skilled craftsmen move abroad – typically to Italy or Germany. As such, engaging a local expert who can facilitate introductions and oversee the renovation process is crucial. These experts not only navigate the complexities of working within UNESCO’s guidelines but also ensure that renovations retain the property’s historical essence.

Investing in a UNESCO-protected property in Berat offers a unique opportunity to own a piece of history while contributing to its preservation. The combination of UNESCO’s financial support and the unparalleled charm of these properties makes them an attractive proposition, albeit with the need for patience and a willingness to engage deeply with Berat’s cultural heritage.

Properties For Sale In Berat As Of 2024

To give you a taste for what’s available in Berat, we have curated a selection of properties, including both the historical quarters and the more modern districts. If you’re interested in any, feel free to reach out to be put in contact with our property expert. As is the case for many smaller Albanian cities, properties in Berat are often not advertised by agencies, but are marketed on a word-of-mouth basis.

Detached Private House in Berat

  • Location: Berat, Albania, close to the Museum Area
  • For Sale: €58,000
  • A detached house located in a highly preferred area near the Museum Zone, boasting stunning views and traditional cobblestone alleyways. The property features a land area of 270 sqm with a house covering 119 sqm, comprising 2 bedrooms, a living room with a toilet, and is south-west facing. It comes fully furnished.

Two-Storey House with Café in Berat

  • Location: Close to the Ethnographic Museum, Berat, Albania
  • For Sale: €350,000

This property, constructed over 900 years ago and part of UNESCO heritage, offers a total area of 327 sqm including a garden. The ground floor is set up as a large hall with a bar-café (currently run as a business) and garden area. The first floor includes 3 bedrooms, a kitchenette, 2 hallways, a large balcony, and a toilet. Located in one of Albania’s most touristic areas, it presents a significant opportunity for business and tourism.

Detached House in 30 Vjetori Neighborhood, Berat

  • Location: Neighborhood 30 Vjetori, Berat City
  • For Sale: €155,000

A renovated and furnished detached house spanning an area of 580 sqm (€267 per sqm) located in the 30 Vjetori neighborhood. The property includes 2 rooms on the ground floor, with autonomous heating, A+ energy class, and amenities such as a garden, air conditioning, and a parking spot. It is suitable for holiday home, investment, or commercial use.

Residential / Commercial Property On The Promenade

  • Total Area: 180 sqm
  • Price: €400,000

Situated right on the popular promenade of Berat, this first-floor property is suitable for business conversion, with terrace potential for an outdoor café.

UNESCO Historical Properties in Need of Renovation

This is a small selection of properties in need of renovation, protected by UNESCO.

  1. Two-Storey Historical House
    • Total Area: 350 sqm (250 sqm outside, 100 sqm inside)
    • Floors: 2
    • Price: €320,000
    • Comments: Requires significant renovation, including roof and structural repairs, subject to heritage guidelines.
  2. Two-Storey House Needing Improvement
    • Total Area: 122 sqm
    • Floors: 2
    • Price: €200,000
    • Comments: Requires comprehensive renovation, including plumbing and electrical systems, under UNESCO.
  3. Furnished Business-Ready Property
    • Total Area: 117 sqm
    • Floors: 2
    • Price: €200,000
    • Comments: Already furnished for business (it is run as a B&B), under UNESCO.
  4. Two-Storey Renovation Project
    • Total Area: 233 sqm (Small outside space, 170 sqm 1st floor, 153 sqm basement)
    • Floors: 2
    • Price: €300,000
    • Comments: Extensive renovations required.
  5. Two-Storey House in UNESCO Area
    • Total Area: 100 sqm (10 sqm outside)
    • Floors: 2
    • Price: €90,000
    • Comments: Interior requires complete renovation, under UNESCO.

These listings provide a broad spectrum of opportunities in Berat, from turnkey properties to renovation projects with significant cultural and historical value. Again, feel free to reach out if you would like to explore

Albania Property Market: Sign Up For The Full E-book

These listings provide a broad spectrum of opportunities in Berat, from turnkey properties to renovation projects with significant cultural and historical value. Again, feel free to reach out if you would like to explore any of them or to be put in touch with our local property expert.

It would be remiss of me not to mention our comprehensive eBook, “Purchasing Property in Albania Guide.” This step-by-step guide is crucial for anyone considering a property purchase in Albania. Register on this page to receive your free copy and gain an in-depth understanding of the Albanian real estate market. Please register here for your free copy.

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