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ECONOMY

The parts of Italy where house prices keep rising despite the pandemic

Despite the Covid-19 health emergency damaging many sectors of Italy's economy, the nation's housing market has proven resilient - at least in some areas.

Here are the neighbourhoods where Italy's house prices are rising fastest since before the pandemic.
Here are the Italian neighbourhoods where house prices are rising fastest since before the pandemic.

Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Italy suffered one of Europe’s worst economic slumps in 2020, and the nation’s property market – which was already sluggish pre-pandemic – has fluctuated.

Recent studies have shown that house prices are now declining again overall after a brief uptick last year.

But this isn’t the case across the board. Some areas are seeing a huge jump in demand that means prices just keep rising, according to the findings of a new survey by real estate website Idealista.

Considerable price hikes were noted in neighbourhoods on the outskirts of some of Italy’s large cities, as well as around smaller cities which tend to rank highly on ‘quality of life’ indexes.

MAP: Which are the safest parts of Italy to live in?

Idealista described the localised value increases as “the effect of a phenomenon of regionalisation of growth accentuated during the pandemic”.

The survey revealed the top ten areas that have experienced the greatest rebound and noted the factors they have in common.

“They are peripheral, well-connected and able to meet liveability criteria such as environmental quality and the quality of public space, while managing to satisfy people’s expectations of wellbeing,” stated the report.

This evolution in prices shows how the Italian real estate market is “undergoing a profound transformation”, defined as “a fragmentation into many micro-areas”.

The table below shows the top ten fastest growing Italian neighbourhoods, according to the study.

Source: Idealista/Datawrapper.

The province with the districts that has increased their value the most is Milan.

The Turro area of the Milanese city recorded a 44.9 percent rebound compared to the first quarter of 2020 – that is, the one immediately preceding the pandemic.

That places it ahead of Olmi-Muggiano (42.1 percent) and Val di Sole-Fatima (24.9 percent).

This substantial increase in Turro is attributed to the redevelopment of various areas of the district, as well as improvements connected to the university.

A creation of cycle paths that link different parts of the district are also said to have had a strong impact in this area.

In other sections of Milan, such as Olmi Muggiano, the rise in prices is due to the growing importance of the suburbs during the pandemic.

An increasing amount of people turning to remote working, or ‘smart working‘ as it’s known in Italy, has allowed many people to move to less central areas offering larger, more family-friendly homes at much cheaper prices.

READ ALSO: Why now is the ‘best’ time to buy property in Italy

Padua ranks in the top ten list, with two neighbourhoods. Idealista explains that these are two strategic areas for travelling, both by public transport and by private vehicle.

Another province that has seen an increase in some of its districts is Modena, where growth is recorded at almost +25%.

Smart working has changed where people are buying houses in Italy.
Smart working has changed where people are buying houses in Italy. Photo: Persnickety Prints on Unsplash

These areas are thriving due to their proximity to the university, one of the oldest and most renowned in Europe.

“They feature large, newly built apartments in an area that offers greenery and tranquillity, in a strategic position thanks to its proximity to the historic centre,” the report says.

Bergamo, the Lombardy town at the centre of the first wave of Covid-19, also experienced a rise in house prices.

One district called Giovanni XXIII-Stazione saw sale prices rise by 23.6 percent. This growth, which occurred during the lockdowns, “is attributable to the frequent use of smart working by companies”, noted the study.

READ ALSO:

It’s claimed that many people went back to Bergamo to work there, but used the good public transport connections to reach other cities in Lombardy when needed.

In central Italy, Arezzo is the province where prices have shot up most this year.

Explaining its popularity, the findings said the wealthy Tuscan town offers employment opportunities but at the same time very quiet, in the heart of the Tuscan countryside”.

Palermo takes the title for southern Italy. As various companies have allowed their employees to work remotely, Montepellegrino on the island of Sicily has been the district of choice.

“This area is well connected by a cycle path and offers the possibility of doing outdoor sports, enjoying a temperate climate,” says the report.

Despite Italy recording its biggest contraction in GDP since the end of World War II during the pandemic, house prices in Italy increased overall last year (by +7% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the end of 2019).

See more in The Local’s Italian property section.

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MONEY

EXPLAINED: How to claim Italy’s €200 cost of living bonus

The Italian government is sending one-off €200 payments to cushion the rising cost of living, but they won't be automatic. Here's the latest on how the process works.

EXPLAINED: How to claim Italy's €200 cost of living bonus

The €200 cost of living bonus was announced in May 2022, alongside several government measures aimed at offsetting the increasing cost of living, as The Local reported.

Employees, as well as the self-employed, pensioners and the unemployed, will be eligible to receive the €200 payment if they have an annual income of under €35,000 gross, according to a decree law passed in May.

READ ALSO: Who can claim Italy’s €200 cost of living bonus?

However, the bonus is only automatically made to those who are state employees or pensioners. Those in these categories will be identified by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and INPS and receive €200 along with their salaries or pension payments.

What if I work in the private sector?

Employers working in the private sector should receive their payments in their July pay packet. First, however, they need to submit a self-declaration (autodichiarazione) form to their employer, who will pay the sum with the July pay check and then recover the funds from the state later.

The decree doesn’t specify a deadline for the submission, but as the payments should be made in July, the paperwork needs to be filed before that – so you’ll need to talk to your employer and arrange it.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The rules and deadlines for filing Italian taxes in 2022

The self-declaration serves to establish that the worker has all the requirements to be a beneficiary. That means the person does not go over the income ceiling for the benefit, for example.

You will also have to declare that you will not receive a €200 bonus from other sources, such as from being a recipient of the citizen income or through another employment relationship.

How can other workers apply?

Italy’s government expanded the bonus payment scheme to more people in early May, as The Local reported.

Seasonal workers, domestic and cleaning staff, the self-employed, the unemployed and those on Italy’s ‘citizens’ income’ were added to the categories of people in Italy eligible for a one-off €200 payment.

These other categories of workers will not receive automatic payment, though. Instead, they need to make a special request to INPS to receive the bonus.

There are different deadlines for different people, so ‘domestic workers’ (lavoratori domestici) need to apply by September 30th. Other workers, such as seasonal, for example, have until October 21st.

You can apply for the bonus on the INPS website, which indicates that the payments will be made at an unspecified later date.

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