Property in Italy: A weekly roundup of the latest news and updates

Property in Italy: A weekly roundup of the latest news and updates
Photo: Alberto Bigoni on Unsplash
Stay up-to-date on the latest Italian property and renovation news with The Local's weekly roundup.

Superbonus extension

You’ve probably heard of the Italian government’s superbonus scheme, an economic stimulus measure introduced amid the coronavirus crisis which promises homeowners a tax deduction of up to 110% on expenses related to property renovation.

While most people are unlikely to be able to claim the full amount, there are still potentially hundreds of thousands of euros in savings to be made via the so-called ‘ecobonus’ and ‘sismabonus’ which can be used in conjunction when making energy-efficiency upgrades and reducing seismic risk respectively.

The government has promised to extend the superbonus scheme into 2023, as a huge spike in demand means many construction companies are now unable to start new projects until at least early 2022. While this hasn’t been signed into law yet, it looks all but certain to happen.

READ ALSO: The building bonuses you could claim in Italy in 2021

The complexity of the paperwork involved in claiming these bonuses has also meant many projects are taking a long time to get off the ground – and many people have reportedly decided against using the bonuses altogether.

A quarterly report by market research firm Nomisma found that, one year on from the launch of the superbonus, there have been “obstacles in the path meaning that the number of [renovation] projects increased but not at the expected speed, and there is resignation and discouragement on the part of Italian families.”

Photo: Antonio Sessa/Unsplash

The most popular (and expensive) areas for would-be buyers in Italy

As the coronavirus crisis and the move to remote or flexible work is reportedly spurring people to move out of the cities in Italy, as in other countries, where exactly are people moving to?

Data analysis from property search website Idealista found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of property searches in the first quarter of 2021 were recorded in southern regions . mainly Campania, Puglia and Sicily.

The study only includes municipalities (towns, or city districts) with at least 2,000 inhabitants, but it showed that the most popular areas included Naples, Lecce, Taranto and Palermo – a new trend perhaps fuelled by people who’ve moved north to work and have been looking at a move back home, as well as those dreaming of a new life by the sea.

The Italian municipalities which recorded the most online property searches in Q1 2021. Source: Idealista.

But is this really going to lead to an exodus from the major cities, or a boom in house sales in the south?

There haven’t been any dramatic changes so far, with Idealista also recording that the majority of enquiries made about properties for sale continue to be in the cities of Milan, Bologna, Naples and Rome.

Meanwhile, average sale prices were highest in Venice, Milan, Florence and the Tuscan seaside town of Pietrasanta.

More one-euro homes in Sicily

No Italian property guide would be complete without a mention of the rural towns selling off neglected homes for the price of a coffee.

The latest to get on board is the Unesco heritage-listed town of Caltagirone in Sicily.

This one is slightly unusual as, far from being a crumbling village in the middle of nowhere, Caltagirone is a lively town with some 40,000 inhabitants and a beautiful historic centre.

The town’s councilor for heritage said they wanted to stimulate repopulation and regeneration in the historic area as “many inhabitants preferred to abandon their homes in the historic centre to build in the new expansion areas.”

READ ALSO: Bargain homes and fewer crowds – but Italy’s deep south is not for everyone.

As in many Italian towns, older properties in the historic centre are often passed down through generations. Often, those who inherit them have no interest in spending money on the (usually sizeable) renovation project needed, and are keen to sell the houses quickly due to the tax and expenses incurred.

You can find more information about the properties for sale in Caltagirone here, and see our detailed list of towns offering one-euro homes here.

(Please note that we at The Local won’t be able to help you buy one of these houses – but we’d love to hear about it if you make an offer!)

Photo: Philippe LopezAFP

Did you know?

The taxes and additional costs involved when purchasing property in Italy are notoriously hefty, with some experts advising buyers that they’ll need to budget as much as ten percent of the property price just to cover these upfront charges. And of course, that’s in addition to any deposit.

The biggest extra chunk you’ll pay is likely to be VAT, which comes in at around 2% of the cadastral value of the house. That’s if you live in Italy full time – it’s 9% if you don’t.

One bit of recent good news is that, if you’re under the age of 36, you may be able to benefit from a new tax rebate scheme which refunds this cost over five years and also cuts various other taxes and charges when purchasing a property.

Find more details here: Under 36? Here’s how Italy plans to help you buy a house

Property tip of the week

In some countries, a mortgage broker is seen as an unnecessary extra. But in Italy they might be key to a smooth (and surprisingly fast) purchase.

In personal news, I finally succeeded in purchasing a property of my own this month after several failed attempts over the last couple of years (which long-time readers may have read about). This time, the process was far easier and faster than I expected, taking just over two months from start to finish. 

I couldn’t believe how quickly things moved – after all, the average time it takes to complete a property purchase in Italy is around four months – and it can easily take much longer.

Deciding to pay for the services of a mortgage broker made all the difference in my case. The fee was eye-watering, but it turned out to be money well spent, both because the mortgage has much better terms than anything I could’ve got independently, and because the broker smoothed over various bureaucratic difficulties and sped things up significantly.

If you’ve used a mortgage broker in Italy, what was your experience? I’m hoping to write about this in more detail, so please do email me and share your thoughts.

Useful links

Here are a couple of useful articles and resources we’ve put together at The Local recently for anyone looking at buying a home and relocating to Italy:

What do you think?

Please get in touch at [email protected] to let us know if you’ve found this new weekly feature useful and share any suggestions you have for property-related news from Italy.

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