The data from ANSA comes on the heels of an equally positive report from Knight Frank, who found that as well as increasing interest from Chinese and Asian buyers, American and British buyers are returning to Italy in ever-growing numbers. Part of the reason is the relative strength of both the pound and the dollar against the Euro.
According to Rupert Fawcett, a partner at Knight Frank, ‘Italy continues to face challenging market conditions with Europe again coming under the spotlight recently over its muted economic growth and with some of Italy’s banks faring badly in the latest stress tests. However, the food and culture, the wine and architecture and la dolce vita remains a permanent feature and continues to draw buyers wanting a slice of Italian life.’
‘There has been increased interest this year in city living,’ Mr. Fawcett went on, ‘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. We expect prices to remain stable in these locations over the next year, but we do not expect any price increase for at least the next few years.’
Much of Italy’s recovery in sales has come from overseas, a recovery that’s likely to be unstable in comparison to one with a foot in domestic demand, and that’s likely to continue until the Italian economy picks up. Meanwhile, the country continues to attract Russians as a result of ‘political uncertainty in Russia,’ says Mr. Fawcett, though mainly ‘at lower price points’ as wealthier Russians reduce their exposure to weather potential storms.
Finally, Milan is preparing to host the Universal Exposition in 2015, and this event is forecast to generate considerable invester interest in Italy. Together with an increase in the amount of capital coming into the country from Asia, particularly China, it’s a good indication of two things. One: the Italian property renaissance is real, and Two: it’s an investor’s recovery at his point. That means Italy still has bargains for buyers prepared to take the risk and that a real, sustainable recovery that includes price as well as sales and is powered by a recovering Italian economy is likely to be several years away.
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