Italian house prices pick up as foreigners bolster economy

It’s fair to say that Italy has had something of a bumpy ride over the past few years. Although the path to economic prosperity is proving to be a long and winding one, there are numerous rays of hope for the boot-shaped country, with the most recent figures indicating that Italy’s property market could finally be on the up once more.

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Recent data from the Nomisma economic research institute has shown that both residential and commercial property transactions in Italy increased during Q1 2014. Nomisma’s Real Estate Market Report registered an increase in nationwide sales of 4.1% for the quarter compared to the same period in 2013. The news has been welcomed by those in the property sector, as Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, founder of fractional ownership company Appassionata, confirms,

“The past few years have been tough for Italy and it’s great to see property sales figures heading in the right direction again. There are some real bargains on the market right now and there is a buzz of excitement about the sector once more.”

Dawn certainly knows her stuff when it comes to Italian property. Since moving from the UK to Italy in 2004, she and her family have purchased and renovated four fabulous Italian properties, carefully coaxing luxury fractional ownership holiday homes out of the rubble of former buildings. Their company, Appassionata, has just released its latest offering to the market – the three bedroom, three bathroom Casa Tre Archi, which is available from £65,000 for a one tenth share, with owners entitled to five weeks’ usage of the property per year.

Dawn and the Appassionata family team are representative of a rising trend of foreigners who are driving forward Italy’s economy. Figures from the Unioncamere and Infocamere chambers of commerce and the Rome unit of the National Confederation of Artisans and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (CAN) show that small businesses owned by foreigners surged by 44% between April and June this year. As well as European business owners such as Dawn, Moroccan entrepreneurs have a strong presence (accounting for some 63,000 of the 325,000 non-European-owned entities), as do Chinese businesspeople (accounting for 46,000 companies).

Foreign income from tourism is also boosting Italy’s economy, with the US, Australia and China all providing plentiful long-haul visitors according to figures from the Bank of Italy and the Centre National Tourist Unioncamere-ISNART, with an increase of 5.1% in organised international travel forecast. Visitors from the US during 2013 accounted for a total of 30.61 million overnight stays in Italian accommodation – 9.5% of the total number of foreign overnight stays.

Appassionata’s fractional ownership holiday homes contributed to this figure, with Dawn listing American owners amongst those who have purchased fractions,

“Our fractional ownership holiday homes are truly international when it comes to their owners. We have owners from as far afield as the US and South Africa, as well as numerous countries closer to home.”

With foreign entrepreneurial spirit and foreign income flowing into Italy in such quantities, adding to domestic efforts to enhance the country’s economic situation, it is hoped that the road ahead may be a little smoother for Italy over the coming years.

For more information on fractional ownership and the wonders of life in Le Marche, contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225 or visit www.appassionata.com.

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