Property buyers not put off by Italian recession
Buyers are not being put off by Italy's slide back into recession. If anything, says Target Markets, the opposite is happening.
Italy's economy contracted 0.2 per cent between April and June 2014, the second quarter of decline in a row. While the economic outlook may be surprisingly grim, though, buyers are not being put off. If anything, the opposite is happening.
43 per cent of estate agents expect the housing market to improve in the coming two years, according to a survey in May by the Bank of Italy. They appear to have good reason: the financial figures may be falling, but demand is rising.
Italian property portal Gate-Away.com says that enquiries jumped 31 per cent year-on-year in 2013 and are continuing to climb: enquiries in the first half of 2014 jumped 11 per cent against the first six months of last year, a surge driven by Brits, who made up 14.5 per cent of activity.
The pound has certainly enjoyed a strong year against the euro. The UK economy's growth has boosted the spending power of those looking for property in the continent's more popular destinations. With Italy's economy expected to hold Down property prices for the near future, the potential for bargain holiday homes is attracting both investors and lifestyle buyers from the UK.
On TheMoveChannel.com, Italy re-entered the top five destinations last month. The country's share of enquiries on the site has more than doubled in the last year to reach 5.18 per cent, with July also marking the second month of rising activity in a row.
Demand is being driven in particular by Abruzzo, Tuscany and Lake Como in Lombardy, a hotspot which remains famous for its stunning scenery and equally stunning residents - including heartthrob George Clooney.
Robert Stones, of property experts Target Markets, says that despite the economic downturn, it is no surprise buyers are swooning over Italian property once again. “Property buyers have never really fallen out of love with Italy, even during the global financial crisis,” he explains. “The country has a timeless lifestyle appeal, which will always be desirable from buyers of low-priced holiday homes to wealthy villas. For Britons, Italian property is a chance to improve their life quality during extremely favourable conditions, with affordable house prices and currency rates both helping their money to go further. For other nationalities, Italy still offers a strong opportunity for investment, even without the prospect of immediate short-term growth.
“Italy’s recession may seem like a grey cloud in the housing market’s sky, but it will take more than that overshadow the attraction of ‘La Dolce Vita’.”