Recent surveys conducted by banks, economists and real estate professionals produced some rather unexpected results – the Italian real estate sector is showing signs of recovery.
Economic and Sociological Research Centre for the Real Estate Market's survey presented to the Assembly of the Citizens Association ("Legacoop Abitanti") suggested that the housing market had reached the minimum peak of the crisis. In Q4 of 2012, where just one provincial capital recorded a growth in sales, by Q1 2013, 17 provincial capitals had experienced a growth followed by 31 provincials in Q4. However, during the same period, sales in municipalities suffered a drop from 97 to 70 and then 70 to 54.
Italian Real Estate market forecast: signs of recovery for 2014?
Banca d'Italia's Italian House Market Survey (Short-Term Outlook) published in November 2013 surmised that:
"The property market continued to show signs of weakness in the third quarter of 2013, although these had eased somewhat. Reports of falling prices diminished and there was a rise in new mandates to sell. The percentage of agents reporting a reduction in rents was smaller. Although agents' short-term expectations were still pessimistic, there was nonetheless an improvement for both the national and the local reference market thanks to the more favourable outlook for new mandates to sell and the forecast of a less sharp drop in property prices. Assessments of national market trends for the medium term (two years) were newly positive."
And, according to Nomisma's Real Estate Market Watch "the second negative wave that began in 2011 seems to eventually be receding." Nomisma's report, covering 13 of Italy's major cities, states that "although the market is unlikely to be recover in 2014, there will be a significant recovery in 2015 initially in the non-housing sector"
The report continues that, in comparison to 2012, the overall negative trend in the housing sector is less severe in 2013, and would fade towards the end of the year.
Most non-Italian, and especially the British, prefer to buy properties around the Lakes as well as Umbria and the Southern Regions: Puglia, Calabria and Sicily. Venice has some of the world's most expensive real estate: while Tuscany is the most internationally sought-after.
The consensus as to whether now is a good time to buy or not is a 'yes' for the following reasons:
- house prices in Italy are stable and attractive with many good value properties still available;
- some 'newly discovered' regions of Italy offer a great choice of property at very reasonable prices;
- it's a buyer's market – an ability to bargain prices down still exists
- buying in Italy is considered a safer investment option than buying in other Eurozones, for instance in Spain or Greece The Italian property market has not witnessed a wholesale collapse;
- the process of purchasing is less bureaucratic than in previous years;
- renovation costs are relatively cheap in Italy, meaning a renovation property in Italy is an excellent way to see a healthy return on your total investment;
- improved travel connections and low-cost airlines servicing previously remote corners of the country has seen an increase in demand in those regions; and
- the anticipated 2015 upturn will have a positive impact on 2014 investments.
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