Most sale of property in Venice are to overseas buyers, research report shows

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Foreign buyers continue to be attracted to the Venetian property market

Around 65% of luxury property sales in Venice are to foreign buyers and this figure has remained largely unchanged in the last decade, new research shows.

French buyers account for the majority of purchases in the Venetian property market while interest from Russians, Eastern European and buyers from the Middle East have increased, new research shows.

The Swiss and the British are also still among the top foreign buyers but the number of Americans has dropped off, according to Claire Hazle of Knight Frank’s Italian department.

She points out that buyers are predominantly lifestyle driven as opposed to short term speculative investors. Activity remains high among UK buyers, but purchasers from France continue to feature most prominently. In addition, Belgian, Swiss and Dutch buyers are active, and interest from the Russian market has grown in recent years.

Overall, the market in Venice’s city centre remained relatively stable throughout 2011. Prices in Italy’s cities have seen growth of 72% since 2000 and despite the recent global economic malaise prices in the mainstream Italian property market have fallen by only 8% since their peak in the second quarter of 2008.

The luxury homes market has performed well with increased buyer activity due to a slight decrease in prices toward the end of the year. Currently a typical prime property in a central location will now achieve from €6,000 to €9,000 per square meter. The higher end of the market, consisting of the more desirable homes in the very best locations, such as the Grand Canal or within a trophy building, currently command prices in the region of €10,000 to €12,000 per square meter.

Of the six sestieri of Cannaregio, San Polo, Dorsoduro, Santa Croce, San Marco and Castello, luxury properties located within the San Marco area close to the Piazza can be a rare find and achieve the highest prices.

While Castello, San Polo and Santa Croce offer slightly more property for the money spent, the Dorsoduro area is increasingly desirable, as is the Arsenale where you can watch incredible yachts mooring nearby.

Giudecca island has a trendy status and provides a typical Venetian way of life, where reasonably priced restaurants, beautiful walks and convenient boat moorings are easy to find.

The 11 kilometer long Lido Island with its famous golden beach has plans for substantial regeneration to bring a new lease of life to the area. Construction of a 900 berth super yacht marina and the restoration of the Grand Hotel des Bains are already underway.

A Grand Canal location is most coveted, as well as property within buildings of great historic significance. Special Venetian houses with gardens, boat mooring or a terrace, or a house which was lived in by a famous poet, playwright or artist are also desirable.

A good condition first floor apartment, or one on a higher floor with a lift, and with a minimum of two bedrooms and two bathrooms is a perennial favourite. Budgets for properties of this specification tend to range from €800,000 to €2 million.

Hazle said there will be an increase in activity in the second half of 2011 signalled growing confidence in the market and this has continued into 2012.

‘There are now a number of good quality new instructions in what is historically a very undersupplied market. Local residents and international owners alike are realising they are sitting on a sought after investment,’ she said.

‘In my view the Venetian market now represents competitive market value compared to many other European cities. In short, Venice ticks all the boxes for property ownership: a fashionable city boasting unrivalled architecture, iconic history, and a year long calendar of social and cultural events,’ she explained.

‘It remains a firm favourite for buyers seeking an opportunity for solid long term capital appreciation, rental income potential and a stunning romantic setting in which to live,’ she added.

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