The Real Deal National

Ciao! Wealthy buyers come back to Italy

The high-end residential market in the country has bounced back, with buyers lured by favorable taxes and hopes of appreciation
June 22, 2019 09:00AM

Italy's real estate market is on the rise, as home buyers seek everything from urban apartments to rural estates. Pictured above is a typical residential street in Venice. (Credit: iStock)

Italy’s real estate market is on the rise, as home buyers seek everything from urban apartments to rural estates. Pictured above is a residential street in Venice. (Credit: iStock)

While Italy has long attracted art lovers — not to mention pizza, pasta and gelato lovers — major real estate investors have largely avoided it for the last decade. But that’s now changing.

Casa & Country Italian Property’s Gemma Bruce said her luxury firm has recently seen an uptick in buyers looking for homes.

They are “people we dealt with six, seven, eight years ago who … suddenly reappeared,” she told Mansion Global. And many of those flooding in are high-income, savvy investors.

Home prices in Italy have increased in the last 12 months after hitting a post-crisis low in 2016 and 2017, according to Bruce.

In 2017, new (and favorable) tax policies were introduced. And those rules were tweaked again this year to entice retirees with foreign pensions.

The new tax rules have ignited interest among foreign nationals as well as Italians living abroad, according to Savills’ Jelena Cvjetkovic, who said appreciation in the residential market is strongest in large cities Milan, Rome and Venice. (Savills has two residential projects in Rome.) But other areas, including the smaller Florence, are also attracting interest. And sources say interest is also spanning different housing types, from luxury apartments to sprawling estates.

Those interested in vineyard estates, rural villas and even castles are usually interested in the Tuscany region, said Luca Giovanelli, a partner of Hamptons International in Italy.

Bruce said a house in Tuscany with some land and, perhaps, a swimming pool will sell for as much as $2.27 million, but that prices for architecturally significant estates can reach nearly $70 million. [Mansion Global] – Mike Seemuth