Tuscany has always been a region popular with overseas property buyers and as prices have been falling it is becoming even more so, especially for those looking for a holiday home. It is the third most visited region in Italy with almost six million international visitors annually and holiday home prices on Tuscany’s coast, while not as bullish as Portofino, Porto Cervo or Capri, are among the highest in the country.
As one of Italy’s key cities, the Tuscan capital of Florence generates robust prices but remains more accessible than Rome, Milan, Venice and Naples. Recently uncertain economic conditions, including the eurozone wide financial gloom, have led to a reduction in house buying activity. Transaction numbers in Italy fell by 33% between their peak in 2006 and 2011, and a further 7% annual decline is expected in 2012 when these figures become available.
According to Nomisma, house prices are some 10% below their peak in the first quarter of 2008 and holiday home prices have fallen slightly further, down around 4.4% over the last 12 months, compared with a fall of 3.4% in the main cities. However, a new international property report from Beauchamp Estates suggests that compared to other European hotspots which have seen holiday home prices cut by more than half, the Tuscan market has been far more stable.
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‘It is supported by a strong lifestyle rather than investment market, and it attracts wealthy purchasers who often tend to buy with cash. Lack of large scale new development targeting overseas buyers has also meant that there is not a surplus of property on the Tuscan market,’ says the report.
Traditionally the holiday home market in Tuscany had been dominated by buyers from the UK but in the last five to eight years, according to the firm, the origin of buyers here has become far more diverse. ‘Buyers from Russia and other CIS countries, who have invested in London houses, have increasingly turned to Tuscany for a second or third home. Over this period, their preferences have increasingly steered away from prime urban properties to quieter rural locations,’ says its report.
‘Large, historic country homes with character, lying in easy reach of the region’s main towns, Florence, Siena and Lucca, and within two hours of airports are the most sought after properties in Tuscany,’ it adds.