When Italy opened up travel, Fredrik Eklund went hunting for his Tuscan dream home

The star Douglas Elliman broker ultimately left empty-handed

Fredrik Eklund (Getty)
Fredrik Eklund (Getty)

Italy’s picturesque Tuscany region is apparently getting a lot of attention from potential homebuyers from abroad amid the pandemic.

Among the first foreigners to go shopping when the country opened up to foreign travelers was Douglas Elliman agent and “Million Dollar Listing: New York” star Fredrik Eklund, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Eklund says he’s dreamed of owning a property in Tuscany since camping vacations there as a child with his family. A day after Italy reopened for international travelers, Eklund flew from Los Angeles to Milan to go home shopping.

Market activity fell 90 percent in the spring, according to Knight Frank. Eklund figured there were deals to be found.

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“I’m not there to take advantage of a situation, but the reality is that there has been no local activity because the market has been shut down,” Eklund said.

He saw several properties, including a 12-bedroom villa asking $5.9 million, and an opportunity to build a custom home part of a 92-acre development in the Bolgheri region. He passed on the first because of upkeep costs and the latter because he doesn’t want to wait for his home to be built.

He ultimately made an offer on a 5,000-square-foot restored 17th century farmhouse in San Casciano dei Bagni that was listed for $1.5 million. The deal didn’t close, because travel restrictions meant Eklund’s husband couldn’t make it out to see the home. They might wait until next year to close a deal.

Complications with travel could dampen the surge in interest in Tuscany. Depending on what course the pandemic takes in coming months, the surge in Tuscany could end up being short lived. [WSJ] — Dennis Lynch