The disparities between town and country are considerable in the Italian real estate market. This diversity is reflected in very marked price differences from one region to another. This situation has an advantage: there are holiday accommodations for all budgets.
From quaint towns with a rich cultural history to vineyards, lakes, beaches, hills and mountains, Italy has it all. “The housing market is anything but unified, explains Ronald de Rooy of the ItaliaCasa agency, which is active throughout the peninsula. In addition to the major regional disparities, it is also necessary to distinguish between the market for permanent residences and that for second homes.”
From quaint towns with a rich cultural history to vineyards, lakes, beaches, hills and mountains, Italy has it all. “The housing market is anything but unified, explains Ronald de Rooy of the ItaliaCasa agency, which is active throughout the peninsula. In addition to the major regional disparities, it is also necessary to distinguish between the market for permanent residences and that for second homes.” “The cities mainly attract an Italian clientele of permanent residents, observes Kris Mahieu of the Italy House Hunting agency. The countryside is more attractive to foreigners looking for holiday accommodation. In tourist regions such as Tuscany, Umbria, Marche and Puglia, the supply has become scarce. However, there are many less popular rural areas where it is still possible to find houses to renovate.” “The demand for housing in the countryside is currently very high, observes Nicolas Dewulf, responsible at Advitalia for the legal framework for buyers. Never has the need for tranquility and greenery been so great. Following the pandemic, many have understood that a small apartment in town is not the ideal place to be locked in. Confinement is much less painful in a small house with a garden and a swimming pool, in a beautiful hilly setting. Both foreigners and Italians with large cities are applicants.” “The fear of investing one’s savings in volatile stock markets is boosting the Italian residential market. Properties that are ready to be occupied and can be rented immediately as holiday accommodation are going like hot cakes,” he adds. Who says regional differences, says price differences. “There is no comparison between the northern cities of Aosta and Venice, and the southern regions such as Calabria and Sardinia, points out Nicolas Dewulf. For the rest, the evolution of prices is rather uniform throughout the peninsula. Since the pandemic, home prices have stabilized or even experienced a slight decline, a general trend seen across the country.We are moving more and more from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market in which owners are less willing to negotiate the asking price.” “Both the market for second residences and that of permanent housing have seen prices change considerably due to the lifting of the various confinements and low interest rates, analyzes Ronald de Rooy. But regional price differences remain very marked. the most popular regions show levels comparable to those of the most prestigious regions of northern Europe.On the other hand, it is still possible to acquire a small house at an unbeatable price in less frequented rural areas .” “From a general point of view, Italian property prices have seriously declined from 2008 to 2018, adds Kris Mahieu. From 2019 to 2021, almost all popular regions have experienced a turnaround, although prices remain below the level of 10 or 15 years ago. Almost all regions of Italy have recovered since the start of 2022, with the exception of Calabria and Marche.” But despite the general evolution of prices, Kris Mahieu still notes strong regional differences. “In working-class rural areas, the few dwellings only improve while properties to renovate in remote areas in the middle of the countryside are sometimes still very cheap. For example: the prices of a turnkey dwelling vary from 1,000 to 3,500 euros/m2.” According to Ronald de Rooy of ItaliaCasa, the increase in interest rates has so far had no impact on the Italian housing market. “This is explained by the fact that second residences are most often purchased with equity, in other words with a minimum of financing”, he ventures. The impact of the rise in interest rates is nil for the moment, according to Kris Mahieu, who nevertheless anticipates consequences in the more or less long term. What about the explosion in construction prices worldwide? The effects are not yet felt, according to Kris Mahieu. Ronald de Rooy, for his part, notes that the price of dwellings to be built is regularly revised upwards to align with the ever-higher construction costs. “Furthermore, the increased demand for second residences is boosting the demand for services from construction companies, he underlines. The margins of negotiation for new buildings are therefore almost nil.” Buying a holiday home in Italy remains pretty much unchanged. The liability of the notary is always very limited. He never moves and therefore has no idea of the situation there. It does not verify the conformity of cadastral plans, building permit criteria and town planning regulations. He limits his liability by multiplying sentences like “The seller declares…” and “The buyer accepts…” “It’s not without risk, warns Nicolas Dewulf. In southern Italy especially, Landlords and officials used to be wildly imaginative in circumventing building regulations.Any violations are passed along with the property to the new owner.A thorough check by a licensed estate agent is therefore essential. -he screens the certificate of conformity and in the event of irregularities, makes proposals to correct them, estimates the cost and the deadlines.A professional agent then draws up a provisional sales agreement under private signature. be so detailed that its content is generally included in the notarial deed of sale.By mentioning all the uncertainties and possible conditions precedent, the agent ensures the buyer the protection necessary. After acceptance, the purchaser pays a deposit in principle of 10 to 20% of the purchase price. The final notarial deed is then drawn up within three months.” In Italy, the purchaser will pay a transfer tax of 9% on the purchase of a holiday home and 15% on the land. These percentages are calculated not on the actual purchase price but on the cadastral income of the house, which is generally much lower, and on the average tax value of land of the same type in the region.The fees of the Italian notary amount on average at 1 or 1.5% of the purchase price. Also count nearly 500 euros in additional costs, for tax stamps and taxes in particular. “The new owner will also have to assume recurring annual costs, explains Nicolas Dewulf. Since last year, the IMU (comparable to our property tax) and the TASI (municipal taxes) have become one. The percentage is assessed on the cadastral value of the property but the municipality sets the rate itself. It generally varies between 0.86 and 1.14%. Added to this is the TARI, the tax on the removal of waste which depends on the size of the dwelling. It costs in most cases between 200 and 500 euros per year.”