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A couple were so impacted by the cost of property in the UK that they ended up moving to Italy and buying an entire farm instead.

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.

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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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