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Loft properties in Italy

An increasingly popular type of property in Italy, especially in large towns and cities, is the loft apartment.

Lofts have a certain cachet, evoking images of chic  Manhattan-style apartments, being valued for their style, convenience and location rather than their sheer size and volume.

Unsurprisingly, the profile of purchasers of loft properties in Italy is weighted heavily towards young singles and couples who tend to be professionals with a certain level of disposable income.

Many tend to be people who work a great deal from home, with a part of the property doubling as an office. It helps explain, perhaps, why architects and designers feature strongly among people who are keen to buy such loft properties in Italy. Loft owners tend to acquire the property for personal rather than rental use, attracted by their often roomy open-plan layout.

Because this sector of the Italian housing market has not been immune from the turbulence affecting other sectors, it is becoming increasingly more affordable to buy loft properties. In Italy, however, its arcane and often bewildering fiscal rules mean the authorities frequently do not categorise loft apartments as dwellings in the strictest sense, meaning they do not qualify for financial perks such as assistance on first-home purchases and reduced mortgage rates.

Owners can apply for properties to be reclassified but the properties must meet certain municipal building regulations and fall within certain geographical zones.

In Milan, for instance, loft homes within the area of the city designated "R" or "I/R" can be reclassified, but not those in the area designated simply "I".

When considering buying a loft property in Italy in particular, it is a good idea to be well aware of the additional costs you are likely to incur (heating, maintenance, etc). If it is part of a condominium, check the small print as some condominium regulations insist, for instance, that the ground floor must always be given over to commercial use by shops or offices.

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