The Time Is Right to Buy Property in Italy: A Look at €1 Houses and More

The Time Is Right to Buy Property in Italy: A Look at €1 Houses and More

  • One Euro deals are risky but potentially rewarding
  • Poor economy and high unemployment rates are keeping prices down
  • Areas where foreigners buy offer the best chance of profits

The thought of buying property in Italy has captivated many people over the years. Richard Branson, Madonna and George Clooney are among the numerous celebrities who own homes in this country. Find out whether buying an Italian house just now could be the key to la dolce vita.

Cheap Properties and Massive Variety

House prices in Italy have traditionally been comparatively low, particularly when compared to northern Europe. Figures from 2019 showed a 0.4% annual drop following on from a 1.2% fall. These numbers seem puzzling when we see that Europe as a whole had a 4.3% increase in the year to 2019. 

Other figures show a 0.8% decrease in the third quarter of 2018. This is part of a slow decline in the Italian property market since 2008. While other European markets collapsed in that time, Italian houses have gradually dropped by up to 35%.

Naturally, there are massive differences across the country. Rome and the beautiful Valle d’Aosta region in the North-west of the country are the most sought-after places right now. Meanwhile, some villages and rural locations offer outstanding bargains.

Look for Cheap Renovation Projects

If you dream of buying a run-down property for cheap then Italy is the place to look. At the start of 2020, Taranto become the first city in Italy to sell run-down houses for just €1 each. Previously this sort of deal was limited to remote locations with declining populations.

The idea in Taranto is to breathe more life into the historic, older part of the city. This area once housed 40,000 people a couple of hundred years ago but now has just a few thousand inhabitants. Going back further, in 500 BC, it was one of the biggest cities on the planet.

The plan is to attract 25,000 newcomers to live here. They have started off with just a handful of €1 properties but plan to sell more of them if it goes well.

It is worth remembering that these properties are set in narrow alleys and that many houses are in dangerous conditions due to a lack of maintenance. Indeed, it is reported that many former inhabitants moved away in the 1970s when the buildings started to collapse.

Rural €1 Deals in Italy

In terms of rural deals for €1, the small town of Bisaccia put 90 properties up for sale at €1 at the start of 2020. Many families left here to find work elsewhere, while an earthquake in the 1990s forced more of them to leave.

Authorities in Bisaccia hope that groups of families buy clusters of homes in the town. Again, it is the oldest part of town that is affected. Some of the houses have a common entrance, which is why they are most suitable for big families.

With a €1 property you might think that you can’t possibly go wrong. However, you need to remember that there will be plenty of other expenses and potential headaches along the way if you buy one.

This method of buying a cheap property in Italy isn’t right for everyone. Yet, a bold investor who has a vision for the future and complete confidence in their renovation skills could be tempted to give it a try.

The Future of House Prices in Italy

The big question is how quickly prices could grow here. There have been some signs of demand rising lately. With mortgage rates staying low, this is a cheap time to borrow. However, recent reports confirm that the economy is still shrinking and many young Italians are moving abroad for work.

It is an incredibly attractive country for foreigners, with wonderful cities, art and amazing food. Yet, there is a sluggish demand for homes from Italians. Therefore, it makes sense to look at areas where foreign buyers are present.

One place to look out for is Le Marche. Forbes listed this region in the best places to retire in 2019. Lonely Planet also called it the second-best region to discover in 2020.

A look at historic prices suggests that house prices in Italy are unlikely to rocket anytime soon. However, for a relatively cheap, solid investment and a great lifestyle, it is pretty much unbeatable just now.

By Robert Bell
Having worked for years in the UK banking industry, I began writing and reporting financial markets after migrating abroad to Bolivia. My interests include learning new ways to make money and learning to speak Spanish.

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