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Italian real estate tipped for resurgence

Whisper it quietly, but there are hopes the Italian real estate market may be stirring back to life.

Italian property conglomerate Tecnocasa forecasts an upturn in demand for homes and other investment property following the slump that began in the second half of 2007.

The group’s study says the resurgence began manifesting itself in the latter stages of 2008. It believes discerning investors are increasingly deciding to take advantage of the fall in house prices –reinforcing our often-repeated advice at that there has never been a better time to buy property in Italy.

In the current climate investors are focusing their resources on small and medium-sized Italian properties, Tecnocasa says.

Two-bedroom homes accounted for nearly 36 per cent of all requests in January, with one-bedroom properties making up just over 28.5 per cent. Some 21.5 per cent of enquiries were for three-bedroom homes.

It is telling, perhaps that in Rome and Milan – among Italy’s two most expensive cities – and Naples as well, prospective buyers are overwhelmingly focusing on one-bedroom properties, the most affordable sector of the market.

In Milan and Naples, studio and one-bedroom apartments currently account for more than half of all enquiries. However, in Bari, in the heart of the infinitely more affordable Puglia, three-bedroom properties top investors’ wish-lists. In Turin, meanwhile, demand is more or less evenly split between one- and two-bedroom properties.

The study of current trends in the Italian property market shows that in Italy’s larger cities, prospective buyers are most likely to have a budget of €170,000-€249,000 – again perhaps reflecting that any market recovery is still in its infancy. Some 24 per cent of clients fall in this price bracket, followed by €250,000-€349,000 (around 21.5 per cent) and €120,000-€169,000 (just over 20 per cent). In other words, around 44 per cent of clients are spending less than €250,000.

In the €170,000-€249,000 range, the overwhelming number of requests are for two bedrooms, followed by one-bedroom apartments. For buyers with budgets between €250,000 and €349,000, two-bedroom properties top the list of the type of home they are looking for, although a significant number aiming to spend in this range are insisting on three bedrooms.

However, the trend observed in other major Italian cities is being bucked in Rome and Florence. Here, the typical Italian property purchaser is willing to spend a little more – between €250,000 and €349,000. In the Eternal City they are happy to settle for a one-bedroom place for that level of spending, whereas in Florence they raise their sights, insisting on a two- or three-bedroom place.

Meanwhile, the cities of Genoa, Turin, Verona and Palermo recorded a surge in requests for properties in the €119,000-€169,000 price bracket.

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