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Demand for Italian real estate sees Germany in the lead

by Adriano Lovera

Foreign buyers’ hunger for the real estate assets in the peninsula is still going strong. Housing requests from overseas has grown by 52% overall, according to specialized portal The portal publishes over 22,000 ads, around 2,000 of which placed by private individuals, the rest by approximately 450 partner RE agencies throughout Italy.

These figures refer to the first half of this year. Germany tops the list of requests, with a 15.6% share of the total, up by a whopping 119% versus 2015. “Proximity leads them to favor Lake Como, though Germans are also behind the recent boom in several areas of Liguria, for instance the province of Imperia,” says the company’s general manager, Simone Rossi.

The US come next, with 14.3% of requests (+43.3% over the past year), followed by the UK. “The very first days after the referendum vote on leaving the EU, requests from across the Channel had taken a nosedive, yet we noticed a rebound as early as the start of July,” Rossi remarks.

The French share remains quite considerable (7.9% of requests), “Many people from France, though Liguria is actually closer, prefer to take a plane and head towards Apulia,” continues Rossi. Belgium and Holland have also seen a major leap in demand; not to mention a veritable record in requests from Israel, which rose by 200% albeit in absolute terms numbers remain small. “The current geopolitical scenario has probably affected Israeli buyers’ choices, where they might previously have been more attracted to Greece, Turkey or France.”

The only clear disappointment in this general scenario is represented by the Russians. “In absolute terms, they’ve never been very high in number, reaching tenth place at most as country of origin, whereas today, they’ve dropped to number twenty. The value of their purchases, however, remains around €1 million.”

As for the average price of purchases, it’s around €435,000, though with a distinct gap between affordable apartments and the luxury segment. In 67% of cases, purchases concern properties priced at €250,000 at the maximum. 14% of investors, however, are ready to spend over half a million in pursuit of family homes with five or more rooms. “In all instances, investors want to use the properties as holiday homes, possibly renting them out for short periods of time when they would otherwise remain vacant. Italy’s is surely not the kind of market where you invest purely for speculative reasons.”

Tuscany leads the way among the most desirable areas (16.1% of total demand, showing a +30.3% rise), followed by Liguria (13%, +55.2%) and Apulia (10.3%, +30%). In spite of being far from the mountains and from the sea, Lombardy is making progress, probably also thanks to the spotlight provided by Expo Milano 2015: a +84.5% rise in requests has placed the region in fourth position.