What's the market currently like?

masca Image
06/05/2010 - 13:50

There don't seem to have been any threads specifically about the state of the property market since last year, and I would be grateful for opinions on it's current state, particularly relating to smaller restored houses (i.e.: those selling for less than EUR 150k). Has the market improved over the course of Spring 2010, or is it still very slow? Thank you!



I guess the american buyers are likely to be more interested due to exchange rate but ...........maybe more expensive properties? I suspect they may want larger properties with pools etc? S

I get the impression that the market is still quite slow. There are no real price surveys such as Halifax-Nationwide etc as there are in the UK. Its a very regional thing but from reading some of the national press it does'nt feel that there has been any recovery. Maybe to the contrary as actual transactions don't seem to have picked up. The summer period normally corresponds with the peak selling period so now should be the best time to put your property on the market if thats what you are thinking of doing. As far as UK buyers are concerned, I really would'nt spend too much time there. Better in my opinion to market into the Italians themselves, the Swiss and Germans. Good luck.

around here in the marche,things ,people tell me have picked up a little.most buyers now seem oriented towards lower cost properties,village houses,restored properties rather than ruins with swathes of land as in the past.also there seems to be more americans/dutch/germans/belgians rather than brits looking...

In reply to by sebastiano

  Here in the Marche the restored farmhouse market favoured by N Europeans appears very flat save the occasional sale of those with really beautiful locations.....Many Brits living here are finding the exchange rate difficult - although mercifully improving of late - and more are selling up. With the holiday lettings market now being so competitive and with imminent increases to CGT in the UK means the market is accumulating even more property.  One small scale agent/property finder geared to the English market around here told me recently she hasnt had an enquiry in 5 months!  Personally I dont think there are any more numbers of Dutch, Germans etc looking than before, rather they have just become much more conspicuous and valued by agents now British buyers have slowed to a trickle.  Naturally, compounding this is the wider economic uncertainty in the eurozone undermining buyer confidence. I think stagflation and market drift is going to be with us for 2 or 3 yrs minimum in Italy, because, even if inflation starts eroding nominal asset prices, with austerity measures and bail outs being announced on a daily basis across the the Eurozone the idea that wages will be increasing any time soon looks fanciful. Ensuring a buyers market for the forceable future. Saying this you are out of my patch.....I would definitely agree with Sebastiano above and guess If you are marketing under e150,000 that you are probably in the least affected part of the market, ie the lower end, but transaction numbers have got to be down. Good luck!

The area of the market where I disagree is the 'lower end' - but as always it depends on the property. Face it, many Brits (exclusively Brits) bought pretty sub-par properties (I'm considering rustici or restored rustici here, I wouldn't apply this reasoning to new build) and because they were not very rich, they have been hit by the exchange rate etc. etc. and want to sell the property they paid too much for. Now, they are only going to flog it to another Brit - the Scandinavians are a bit more canny, the Americans want higher priced stuff, the Italians - by far the most important market if you have your head screwed on - can detect the bargain. The reason stuff was being flogged to Brits is because no Italian woud look at it. It isn't as if the local Italian buyers are terribly clever, it is simply that they understood 'location' in their terms - which is a completely different mindset. However - everything is fickle - and I have been very surprised by prices achieved by "special" houses. The "specialness" which these houses have is a feature which I would have advised clients 'against' (in the sense that I never saw it as a value for money investment in a house which hoped to be traded) - but rich focussed 'greens' are paying over the odds for houses with geothermal/solar etc installed, visible, and working. The Italians (and the not large Belgian contingent) seem to have a nervousness about being pioneers in the alternative market - but present them with an 'alternative' house 'key in hand' and they lap it up.

You make some very valid points Fillide, particularly about the Italians and "location". About 12 years ago we started looking for property in the Numana-Sorolo area. Even then, most properties we saw had been on the market for years because to the natural Italian buyer the location was wrong.

An estate agent friend of mine said there was a bit of a "boom" (used very loosely!) in Italians buying investment properties. Due to the recent amnesty whereby a lot of Italian money that had been held in Swiss bank accounts etc. could be brought back to Italy with only a very small fine payable, the same Italians are now buying property as an investment with that money. This is due to the low interest rates being offered at the moment.

I'm in Marche too smiley We've just sold a house (well ruin) and know a few others who have sold recently so it is a definite improvement on last year. These were properties that had been on the market for a couple of years. It seems to be the big villa-type properties that are not selling IMHO.

In reply to by elliven

We live in Moscow..(but I'm not Russian)..  and own a place in Liguria.  I've seen a big interest amongst Russians looking to buy properties in Liguria.  The French/Italian Riviera's have been a favorite with the more affluent Russians stretching back centuries so I'm sure that has something to do with it..  Spend a day in Nice, Monaco or San Remo and you'll hear Russian being spoken at almost every turn.  I think the Russian market is probably the most attractive in terms of  'disposable income' right now, and will continue to be for some time.  Unfortunately, many people looking to sell a property wouldn't know how to go about tapping this market.  If anyone would like to try, shoot me a note:)

Hi Carl I read with interest your comments above. My wife and I are selling our 2 bedroom viletta o/s near the beach Siracusa, Sicily. We'd both agree that Russian is to be heard across the Med and now more and more in Sicily now there are direct flights with windjet from Moscow/St Petersburg to Catania, Sicily. We're currently marketing the property through one local agent but also ourselves with free websites like Gumtree in UK and others in Belgium, NL, Germany. I'd be interested in your thoughts for showing the property to potential Russian buyers. Regards Liam

From the Economist in their latest survey of Global house prices "Europe shows a familiar split between core countries and peripheral ones. Ireland, Spain and Italy continue to suffer year-on-year price declines; German and French homes have shown big gains in value over the past year, a particular turnaround for France since our previous round-up. The British housing sector’s talent for defying gravity may be on the wane. The pace of annual appreciation in the country’s property market has slowed over the summer. British housing is still overvalued—outright falls may loom".