The property market in Italy’s cities has bounced back with a sharp rise in activity. But with the economy still struggling severely, country regions are having to show more creativity
Italy’s economy may have shrunk again in Q3 (by 0.1%), the 14th quarter without growth, but its property market has leaped forward. Overall, there was an increase of 3.6% in the rates of buying and selling in Q3, with 207,000 transactions reported, according to the Italian Revenue Service and reported in Ansa. But within that figure was a sharp rise in Florence (23%), Rome and Bologna (19%), Genoa (10.4%), Palermo (8.9%) and Naples (7.3%).
The report backs up the opinions of one of Knight Frank’s Italian partners, Rupert Fawcett, earlier in November, who said: “There has been increased interest this year in city living with an upturn in enquiries for Rome, Venice, Milan and Florence. Rome has returned positive growth in the last quarter for the first time in several years, Venice is showing increases at the upper end and all cities have seen increased sales activity.” Mr Fawcett said that US and UK buyers were returning, while Russians were buying too, but switching to less expensive regions and properties.
There are certainly bargains to be had. In Sicily, a municipality named Gangi (see map, right) has put 20 empty properties up for sale at the tempting price of €1. Aimed to raise awareness of a region where the population has shrunk severely in recent years, the winners would also have to spend several thousand in buying costs, renovations, and each applicant had to produce a plan to develop the village. There were 8,000 enquiries and a significant number came to the village to take part. “Around 150 people came to Gangi from all over the world,” property agent Marie Wester told The Local newspaper, “There were British people, French, Australians, Americans and many Brazilians. A lot of the Brazilians are second generation Sicilians and want to come back.”
By Christopher Nye, Editor, OPP Magazine