Who's Buying and Where?
In popular buying spots there is a healthy mix of nationalities including the UK, American, Scandinavian and Benelux markets. The mix is especially cosmopolitian in the Lakes and cities, whilst demand has swung away from rural fixer-uppers to turnkey developments.
The Property Market in Italy
The Italian market hasn't sprung back into life in the same fashion that Spain - or even Portugal or parts of Greece have done to a lesser degree - yet agents report an increase in overseas buyers in 2014.
The world's eyes have been on the eye-poppingly elegant architecture of Venice and Lake Como this year for the Clooney nuptials yet it's been the less starry regions that have been attracting enquiries for their fabulous affordability.
"The market is definitely better than last year," reports Linda Travella of long-established Casa Travella (casatravella.com)." Recently I was inundated with requests and viewings for a €140,000 nicely converted two-bedroom barn near Bagni di Lucca [Tuscany] and it sold for the asking price."
She reports strong interest in this northern Tuscan area - where as illustrated above, you can get a good property for €150,000 - even after the hefty price drops since 2008, farmhouses in central Tuscany still aren't quite that affordable!
Although you can still get some "fabulous deals" around Volterra for around €300,000 that might not be around by the spring. "Prices in rose the most and fell the hardest in central Tuscany so vendors are still willing to negotiate," she adds. "After that there's been strongest interest in the lakes - €300,000 -400,000 price band, plus the southern region of Puglia, where there are property-hunters with both low and mid-end budgets."
On aplaceinthesun.com, there's always interest in properties for €50,000 in the highly affordable Abruzzo that is creeping on to buyers' radars, whilst Marche, Liguria and Sardinia remain of steady, if niche interest.
Key Trends and Statistics
- According to the largest dedicated Italian property portal, Gate-Away.com, the most searched-for regions amongst UK buyers are Tuscany, Puglia and Abruzzo
- Prices still static, many negotiable
- Volumes of enquiries up, more buyers in 2014
- Cash buyers dominate; lending still constrained
- Small improvement in domestic market
- €150k-300k the strongest price band
(Originally published in A Place in the Sun magazine - Issue 120)