In an interview with the Times, Lucie Davidson and Jerry O'Shea explained that they were unable to find a one-bedroom flat in Brixton, Bermondsey or Camberwell in south London that met their budget of £450,000 when they started househunting last May.
So, instead, they ended up buying a 110-acre farm in central Italy with no running water or electricity and a farmhouse that had been badly damaged by an earthquake.
The pair had saved up a £60,000 deposit and made a further £25,000 by selling a camper van they had renovated during lockdown. They had cut costs by living with family.
The farm in Le Marche was on the market for €200,000 (about £170,000). They negotiated the price down to €160,000 and bought it outright with their savings and £50,000 of loans from each of O’Shea’s parents.
But in Italy agricultural land comes with a tax bill totalling 12 to 15 per cent of the land’s value. So they agreed to farm the land, to reduce the tax charge to 1 per cent.
They are now selling olive oil and have so far made profits of about €5,000. O'Shea said: “Hopefully one day we’ll be making more than €100,000 a year. We want to be an example of a self-sufficient, organic, regenerative farm. Next year we’ll produce a few thousand bottles of wine."
They also want to renovate parts of their property and rent it out as on Airbnb.
When you can get a whole farm in Italy for less than a one-bed in London, you know something is up.
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