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The Italian Property Market

Transparency, or the lack thereof in Italy’s property market, has long been a major hurdle for investors, owners and buyers when trying to gauge price performance and obtain accurate valuations.

Unlike in the UK, where the Land Registry publishes transactional data for the entire housing market, sales data is not freely available. This void means vendors’ pricing can be unrealistic and buyers’ offers overly optimistic, resulting in protracted negotiations. To address this knowledge gap, we at Knight Frank have recently started producing an Italian Prime Residential Index.

The six monthly report mirrors the same repeat valuation methodology adopted in our other global markets. With it we hope to have produced a valuable and unrivalled tool enabling, for the first time, the tracking of prime residential prices across 15 of Italy’s top second home destinations.

The results of our inaugural index underline the extent to which significant regional variations persist. The price of a prime property in Italy declined by 5.5% on average in 2016 but more than 14 percentage points separate the strongest and weakest performing Italian markets.

Lake Como leads the rankings, in terms of price movement; with prices rising 1.2% year-on-year. Good accessibility via Milan, its proximity to the Swiss border and the Lake’s popularity with both Italians and overseas buyer has shored up prices.

The overall narrative is one of an improving market. The country’s major cities – Rome, Milan, Florence and Venice, all sit within the top half of the rankings and all have seen their rate of decline slow significantly in the last two years. Forte dei Marmi, located in the province of Lucca, recorded the weakest growth with prices slipping 13% in the year to December. A niche market, the town saw a surge in Russian buyers prior to the financial crisis but high stock levels and softening demand has seen values fall. A number of markets are playing catch up. Vendors have been slow to adjust their prices but in some markets high stock levels have forced them to accept the market reality.

We are seeing a return to long term trusted markets. Having dipped their toe in peripheral areas, buyers have retreated back to Italy’s core locations.

For more information dowload our Inside View Italy.