Italian Property Market Lures Foreign Buyers

23.03.16

The steep price plunge that ensnared the Italian property market since the crisis is now attracting foreign buyer attention, after prices fell 25% between 2008 and 2015. Latest agency statistics reveal that British buyers made 16.2% of all foreign transactions in 2015, followed by Americans and Germans. The most popular destination for foreign buyers is Tuscany, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, followed by Apulia, Liguria and Piedmont. Interestingly, the average spending budget varies a lot from region to region. For example, buyers are prepared to spend nearly twice as much in Liguria than Sicily.

Experts have noted an important shift in buying habits. Previously, Italian regions were strongly segregated in terms of price and foreign interest, but these differences are slowly being flattened by better infrastructure and access, especially thanks to the low-cost aviation industry.

Lombardy is most popular with the Germans, French and Swiss who are 40% more active on the market and prefer rural property around Lake Garda and Lake Como. Buyers from the UAE are also very present in the region but prefer residential property in Milan.

Liguria is very popular with Scandinavian buyers, especially the Swedes and the Danes. They are three times more likely to request information on listings there than any other nationality. Swedish citizens are exceptional partial to property in Abruzzo, a picturesque region to the East of Rome on the Adriatic coast.

Casale-San_Guiseppe

Prime property buyers are most active on urban markets located in the North of the country. Reasons behind the geographically disproportionate distribution of wealthy buyers are mainly linked to efficiency in transport, infrastructure, access to exceptional summer and winter resorts (proximity to the Alps and sea) and the strong economic performance compared to the country’s southern half.

A main contributor to Italy’s power of attraction is the local currency. The country’s Eurozone membership has made local property more affordable to those earning US dollars and British pounds. Excluding any prolonged tumult linked to Brexit or a massive global downturn, this trend should last throughout 2016.

One nationality could possibly transform the market this year. Continuing capital outflow from China, whose investors are now looking further afield for profitable investments and are already rather active in the Mediterranean, could be directed to some extent towards the Italian market.

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