The Italian Riviera — a crescent-shaped coastal area bordering France, within the larger region of Liguria — has two luxury markets, agents said: the eastern Riviera di Levante, which includes the tourist hot spots of Portofino, Santa Margherita and Cinque Terre; and the western Riviera di Ponente, which stretches from Genoa to France. The two areas are similar, agents said, but the east is more hyped, and consequently more expensive.
The global real estate crisis of 2008 affected the housing market throughout Italy, with prices falling by 20 to 30 percent, and Piedmont followed the national trend, brokers said. But after several years of decreasing prices, Piedmont’s housing market has begun to stabilize in the past 12 to 18 months, said Eli Anne Langen, owner of the brokerage Case in Piemonte. The region’s 2014 designation as a Unesco World Heritage site contributed to that recovery, creating “a noted increase in tourism and investor interest,” Ms. Langen said.
Palermo’s property market has been slow to rebound from Italy’s economic struggles. Prices are down about 20 percent from 2012, said Diletta Giorgolo Spinola, the head of sales in Southern Italy for Sotheby’s International Realty.
While prices in most of Italy’s prime second-home markets declined last year — on average, about 5.5 percent — the Lake Como area was an exception, according to a recent report from Knight Frank. Prices around the lake rose by 1.2 percent, the report said, reflecting the area’s popularity both in Italy and abroad, and its proximity to the Milan airport and the Swiss border.
Frankfurt and Brussels are emerging as tempting alternatives to London as European financial hubs in part because they have cheaper accommodation costs than Paris.
Italy’s real estate market started to pick up in 2014, said Maurizio Pezzetta, the owner and broker of La Commerciale, a luxury real estate agency based in Rome and the exclusive Christie’s affiliate in Rome and Lazio. In 2016, there were around 500,000 transactions nationwide, up from about 400,000 in 2013, Mr. Pezzetta said, although this is still far below the pre-recession peak of around 845,000 sales in 2008.
Milan’s housing market is undergoing a slow recovery in the aftermath of Italy’s prolonged recession and amid continued concerns about the stability of its debt-burdened banking system. The housing market bottomed out in 2012-13, according to a recent report on the luxury market from Tirelli & Partners, a real estate company. While demand had shifted markedly to rentals, the report said, sales have been climbing since 2014.
Investment in Italy’s commercial real estate markets is going from strength to strength with the first half of 2016 seeing over €3.4 billion of sales, up 35% on the same period last year.
The latest investment analysis report from international real estate advsor Savills says that favourable market conditions are fuelling supply in the Italian market through fund liquidations or equity fund investors who are taking advantage of the point in the market’s cycle to dispose of some of the most liquid assets in their portfolios.
It says that it is significant that cross border investment into Italy accounted for more than half of the total investment volume in the first six months of 2016, and close to 65% of all deals. Savills has recorded that international funds are increasingly dominating the market, with 80% of foreign capital coming from Europe.
Rents on prime office assets across Europe grew by 1.5% quarter on quarter in the second quarter of 2016 compared to 0.7% in the previous quarter, the strongest increase in the past five years.
Rents in Europe outpaced the Americas and Asia Pacific regions with Stockholm recording the strongest growth in region of 9.4% followed by Berlin with growth of 6.3%.
The data from real estate firm JLL also shows that Paris saw growth of 3.4% as limited new supply and more robust take-up pushed up prime rents for the fourth consecutive quarter while in Southern Europe, the momentum in the market recovery has continued in Milan with rents up 2% and in Barcelona up 3.7% and Madrid up 0.9%.
There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in Tuscany. Most buyers are looking for vacation homes, not investments, Mr. Giovannelli said.
Prices in Italy dipped by as much as 30 percent from 2008 through 2015, Daniela Gisti, a partner with the Florence-based real estate company Precious Villas, said by email. They have now “stabilized,” she said.
At the higher end, during the last three years, some second-home buyers and investors, many with “a higher budget than five years ago,” returned to the Tuscany market, Mr. Giovannelli said.
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