If the gorgeously temperate climate, epicurean food, and rich culture of Italy aren’t enough of a reason to buy property there, the market certainly is. Italy’s property market is notoriously stable, and despite the impact of the GFC, it remains strong and steady in its growth. It is fundamentally conservative: Italy doesn’t suffer the same booms and busts that many other countries do, because Italians generally don’t over-capitalise or over-mortgage, and the average family owns only a single home, which is partly owing to tradition.
This means that it is a comparatively safe market to invest in over the long term. It’s also a buyer’s market: following the GFC, house prices stopped rising, but they didn’t drop dramatically; just enough that they’re below their usual asking prices, and not enough to throw the market into turmoil or to make your investment unwise.
In general terms, the market has made modest growth in the last two years, and it is tipped to trend steadily upward over time, so it’s a good time to buy. Recently, there have also been a number of legal reforms and changes to government measures to increase Italy’s attractiveness to investors, including more favourable terms and extra security for landlords, which reduces even more of the risk of buying and leasing. In consideration of all the risks in property investment, Italy’s a pretty safe bet.
Italy’s most famous cities are a good place to invest. A steady stream of tourism to Rome, Venice and Florence both support the local economy and guarantee the prospect of a good rent stream and investment return throughout the year. Because of the temperate climates, the major cities are visited for comparatively long periods compared to many other European destinations (and at any time of the year), increasing your potential for income and reducing your investment risk. Tuscany and Lake Como have been popular investment areas over the last couple of years, and both are proven to yield extremely good investments anywhere in their regions, although their property prices have risen considerably of late.
But if you’re looking to dive into the authentic culture of the lesser-known areas, there are plenty of other Italian cities where a good rental return is possible. As an example, the cities in Italy’s North have thriving tourism—due to the irresistible appeal of a diverse landscape that offers everything from surprisingly low rainfall and warm temperatures, to vineyards and countryside, lakes, and mountains with ski fields—and regions like Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta will provide both good buying and rental prospects. These regions seem to be flying somewhat below the international investment radar, with considerably lower property prices when compared with cities in more central regions, and there are countless other gems throughout the country with similar prospects.