Italian property is still popular with overseas buyers with real estate investors from Russia, the UK, Germany and Scandinavia looking for second homes. According to the Scenari Immobiliari research institute, second home sales to overseas buyers increased 14% in 2012 suggesting a growing number of international purchasers have been willing to make the trade off between currency swings and sliding property prices in recent years.
However, they have competition for property in very popular spots such as Liguria and Venice where Italians also like buying holiday homes, according to the latest report from International property advisors Knight Frank. Liguria and Venice have seen property prices rise by 5% in the first three months of the year although mainstream house prices in Italy have fallen by 12.3% since their peak in the second quarter of 2008. Buyers from Germany, Russia and Switzerland have been snapping up property in Liguria which is known as the Italian Riviera and is only 30 minutes from Monaco.
The Knight Frank report says that since the financial downturn prices at the eastern end of the region have proved more resilient particularly in the sought after towns of Santa Margherita, Ligure, Rapallo and Portofino. In the west, the stretch of coastline from Bordighera to Imperia is also popular as views across to Monaco make property there highly desirable. The best properties along the narrow strip of Liguria’s coastline have risen 5% in value in the year to May 2013. Tight planning rules, along with the steep terrain, restrict new development.
Quote from PropertyCommunity.com : “Buying a property in Italy is not much more complicated than buying one in the United States. Moreover, with the help of a good Consulente immobiliare (real estate agent) and a good Notaio (Notary/Lawyer) very little of this bureaucracy will be touched.”
In Venice prime prices fell last year but they are now recovering. International buyers from France, the UK, Russia and Germany are buying apartments in the city centre and properties overlooking the Grand Canal, San Marco or Dorsoduro are the most popular. In the Italian lakes, another area popular with overseas buyers, prices have been flat. As a waterside home on Lake Como remains top of many wealthy Italians’ wish lists there is considerable competition for the best located properties.
Prices have also remained unchanged in Umbria but according to Knight Frank, sales have increased as buyers realise that the region represents good value for money compared with other more expensive parts of Tuscany. Indeed, Tuscany remains Italy’s most popular region with international buyers. In 2012, 34% of all Italian property searches undertaken on Knight Frank’s website related to homes in Tuscany.
In Chianti and the picturesque Val d’Orcia prices have dipped by around 10% in the last 12 months due to an increase in stock levels. The apartment market in the region’s capital city, Florence, is sluggish, according to the report. Prices in Sardinia have also fallen, down by around 11% in 2012 and sales volumes at the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 have been slower. Porto Cervo and the surrounding Costa Smeralda are the location of choice for most international buyers.
Meanwhile, in Rome prices are down by around 14% and the volume of sales has stayed relatively flat. However, Knight Frank says the market could pick up as sellers are now recognising the need to adjust prices to demand.