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Sales of vacation houses on the rise and further improvement expected next year

by Marzio Bartoloni

Italians and foreigners are both eyeing vacations homes with interest. After the collapse of the market in recent years and the first signs of recovery in 2014 (up 3%), sales of second homes jumped 7.6% last year. This year, the trend should continue to be extremely positive.
In particular, a snapshot taken by the 2016 National Tourism Real Estate Observer published by Fimaa-Confcommercio and Nomisma, shows sales at seaside locales are up by 6.8%, at mountains resorts by 6.8% and at lakes by 16.1%.

The desire to buy homes has been encouraged by a dip in prices, “which have never been so low or so attractive,” said Santino Taverna, the president of Fimaa-Confcommercio. He said the average price of a second home in Italy is about €2,285 per square foot.

Abruzzo and Basilicata are the regions where prices have fallen the most (down 5%), while in Campania, average prices have held rather steady (down 1%). In almost all regions (15 of 20), prices are down between 2%-3%, in line with the national average, which is down 2.3%.

Prices in some areas remain high. For example, Santa Margherita Ligure (Liguria) remained the most expensive Italian city where to buy a vacation home (costing an average of €14,000 per square foot). Forte dei Marmi (Lucca) is also among the most expensive areas—which are all at the sea—at €13,200 per square meter.

The mountains are close behind in terms of price: in Madonna di Campiglio (Trento), one has to shell out €12,600 per square meter, in Courmayeur (Val d’Aosta) €11,300 and in Cortina d’Ampezzo (Belluno) €11,000.

Last among the 15 most expensive Italian cities where to buy vacation homes, is Sorrento (Naples). Here it takes €8,000 to buy a square meter. In general, the tourism real estate sector, according to Fimaa-Confcommercio, consolidated its recovery in 2015-2016, although its outlook is still fragile and uncertain. “An analysis of the data,” the study says, “confirms the theory that tourism real estate market moves with a delay with respect to major urban areas of the country.”

A real recovery should emerge only next year, said the Observer. “Concrete signals that a crisis is finally over, as it seems to be the case now for the biggest urban markets, usually come first through an increase in number of transactions and then in an uptick in terms of prices.”