Italian real estate market in 2020: Puglia again at the top of the ranking
- 4 January 2020
- Investing in Puglia
It is a fact that even with ups and downs, Italy never goes out of style, especially for the diversity that it offers: famous seaside, ski and historical places rarely more than two hours’ drive from an international airport.
The political and economic instability may have worried some investors, but in reality after a decade of continuous decline in the real estate market in Italy – during which the properties’ values have decreased up to 40% in many areas – for some years now the values have been stabilized in the big towns as in the tourist places and at this moment it is surely convenient to invest in a property in Italy, above all if you intend to rent for having an income.
In the north there are the Alps and the splendid lakes, in the northwest there is Venice; in the centre is Florence, Tuscany, “the eternal city” Rome and the Marche castles; in the south the Gulf of Naples, the warmth and beauty of Sicily and in the “heel” Puglia, where many VIPs have chosen to buy a property.
Unlike some of its neighbors on the Mediterranean coast, Italy is not known for large-scale vacation packages or for the countless pensioners who decide to winter. A survey found that 26,000 English people live permanently in Italy, which is much less than Spain or Portugal, although in many areas there is the same temperature, a stunning coastline and lower living costs than in the United Kingdom. It is also less likely to find an expat community in Italy, but it is more popular for vacation homes in historic towns and villages, particularly in old renovated properties. So, what are the best places to buy rental property in Italy?
According to the estimates made from 2014 to nowadays, the most attractive regions in Italy are: Liguria, Piemonte and Lombardia in north Italy, Toscana, Umbria, Abruzzo and Marche in center Italy, Sardegna, Sicilia and Puglia in southern Italy. Let’s examine the areas in detail leaving aside now the real estate market of the town and concentrating on the extra-urban tourist areas: countryside, lakes and sea.
The lakes of northern Italy – Como, Maggiore, Garda – continue to be in high demand. Prices are increasing in hotspots, but they are more static in the less popular parts of these places. In Lago di Como, for example, prices are higher on the sunniest part of the lake – where there is the villa, among others, of George Clooney – and at the southern side where there are more attractions and a better access from Milan. But property prices in the wildest northern side are much cheaper.
Foreigners increasingly choose Piemonte to stay or buy a property. Year after year always more foreigners set their sights on this region and its places characterized by a rare scenic and historical beauty reviving the rental and sales market. The most emblematic trades and the most significant flows of foreigners are recorded around Lake Maggiore, Monferrato and the Langhe. Destinations that attract fans of the rustic and food and wine lovers.
Compared to the last few years, the real estate market in Liguria is experiencing a phase of recovery, with vivacity in the volume of transactions, both for purchase and for rent.
The main attraction is linked to the strong tourist vocation of Liguria, which every year welcomes millions of tourists from all over the world. On top of the most sought after destinations, there are “Le Cinque Terre”.
In this sense, investments are particularly linked to the holiday sector and to the creation of tourist accommodation. In fact, the investment in B & Bs is an increasingly common practice, given the interesting earnings forecasts.
Tuscany, Umbria, Marche and Abruzzo – these are the regions of central Italy that for many people offer the dreamy prospect of a country house or a farm set among green hills, olive groves and vineyards. Unlike Marche or Abruzzo, Tuscany hardly needs any introduction: it has been immortalized in international films and not only. The areas around Siena, San Gimignano, Lucca and the elegant Arezzo, where Sting has a wine estate, are particularly popular. Many of the most beautiful estates and restored farmhouses are located in the central area of Chianti between Florence, Siena and Arezzo. This area began to become popular in the 1950s with British buyers and has steadily gained a growing number of foreign investors, including many Americans. Another strong point of Tuscany is its central position which allows easy access to the north of the country, Liguria or the lakes, but also Rome and the islands – Corsica, Sardinia or even closer to Elba and Giglio. It is also a region well served by airports.
Does Tuscany seem a bit too Hollywood for you? Then maybe you should look for something in the small rural region of the Marche. This region has nothing to envy with the most famous neighboring regions: rolling hills of wheat fields and vineyards, medieval towns like Urbino and Ascoli Piceno and 17 Blue Flag beaches. It also offers truffles, excellent seafood and fine wines. An advantage of being off the radar of international buyers is that property prices are also lower.
Abruzzo is also a growing region and it is worth considering if you intend to buy a rental property in Italy. Bordering with Lazio to the west, Marche to the north and Molise to the south, Abruzzo offers fantastic transport links to explore other parts of Italy – and is served by Pescara airport, although Rome is only a couple hours away. Abruzzo, like the small Molise next door, is one of the most pristine regions of Italy as it is almost completely mountainous and has one of the most beautiful natural parks in Italy. The lack of tourists in this region has helped to preserve its historic towns that still preserve ancient traditions. English people love Abruzzo because the prices can be up to 70% cheaper than Tuscany and at the same time keeps an authentic charm. It has not yet been spoilt by excessive tourism and you can eat very well and the vineyards (which produce world-famous wines such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo) are mostly open to the public for free. It is a region characterized by wild national parks that include gorges, lakes (with water sports), mountains and ski resorts and the Adriatic coast (with 13 blue flag beaches) with sandy bays, private coves for snorkeling and beautiful villages at the top of the hill. Property prices are often surprisingly affordable.
With elegant Baroque towns, Greek temples, amphitheaters and a hinterland dotted with villas and beautiful villages, Sicily is a fashionable tourist destination for its wonderful climate, food and beaches, as well as for its abundance of history and culture. It is a variety that you will not find in Sardinia or on the Amalfi Coast. Farmhouses in the countryside or villas near the sea have historically been of interest to international investments, although prices at hot spots on the coast are certainly not cheap. But foreigners are also crazy about the hinterland, like the green valley full of olive groves and citrus orchards on the slopes of Etna where are located some famous wine cellars with restaurants and the village of Milo, very popular with musicians and artists. More recently, the Sicilian government has attempted to regenerate the villages that are losing the population by offering property buyers for € 1 – but buyers have to renovate it within three years, so they must have funds to do so.
Adored by celebrities from all over the world, Puglia, Italy’s sun-drenched heel, has been fashionable for a decade now and in some of its areas remains pleasantly pristine. From stone Trulli to the harsh landscape of olive groves, from the Greek creeks of Salento to historic towns, there is much to discover in this region. Access to the region is improving thanks to the development of Bari and Brindisi airports. For many reasons, it is one of the best places to invest in Italy, but it is better not to postpone it, Puglia is becoming increasingly popular and prices could soon start to rise.