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Holiday houses: sales have grown, but prices are going down

06 August, Il Sole 24 Ore

The trend of transactions is slow but positive, but prices are still reducing. The report by Fimaa and Nomisma about the holiday house market in Italy confirms the difficulties the segment is experiencing, both for beach and mountain destinations. Prime locations are the only exception.

Transactions in 2017 registered a 3.5% increase from the previous year. Lake is the favourite destination (+8% for sales, although in 2016 these spiked by 15.2% from 2015), beach lost its appeal (+4.8% against the 19.9% registered in 2016 in comparison with 2015), while mountain destinations reported a 4.3% fall (transactions were +23.5% in 2016).

Meanwhile, prices are dropping everywhere, with not much difference between beach and mountain locations. Friuli Venezia Giulia (-0.1%) and Puglia (-0.5%) are stable. The report surveyed 203 beach destinations and 112 lake and mountain locations. Concerning the beach, Abruzzo and Lazio registered the biggest decrease in apartment sales in 2018 (-4.1%), followed by Sardinia (-3.5%). Regarding mountain and lake destinations, Umbria reported the worst performance (-4.5%), followed by Abruzzo (-3.9%).

In 2018 the average price to buy a holiday house in Italy is set at 2,173 euro/Sq m, with a yearly reduction of 2.5%. However, the average price doesn’t fully explain the situation, as this also includes peaks as 13 thousand euro in Santa Margherita Ligure (referring to luxury houses) as well as bottom-end prices like 400 euro/Sq m in Serra San Bruno and Porto Rosa.

According to the analysis carried out by Fimaa-Nomisma for Il Sole 24 Ore, it turns out that between 2014 and 2018 (first semester), the average prices for the first 13 holiday destinations have dropped with reductions comprised between -2.5% in Anacapri and -19.4% in Forte dei Marmi. In Anacapri, new and prime properties have registered the sharpest decrease (-6.6%), while being the only location where prices have remained stable in the first part of 2018 in comparison with the same period of 2017 (+0.9%).

Looking at the high-end prices (hence exclude the average ones), after Santa Margherita Ligure, there are Capri with 12,800 euro/Sq m and Forte dei Marmi with 12,700 euro/Sq m. They’re followed by popular mountain locations such as Madonna di Campiglio, Courmayeur and Cortina d’Ampezzo with prices between 10.800 euro/Sq m and 12,400 euro/Sq m.

On the overall, the destinations that didn’t see their prices decreasing and remained substantially unchanged have been locations in Puglia such as Ostuni, Vieste, Manfredonia, Peschici and San Giovanni Rotondo. Vieste and Peschici have bet on the renovation of existing construction, while Ostuni has gotten the attention of international buyers, thanks to its farmhouses, olive groves and old houses to remodel.

According to the analysts, the holiday house market is mainly driven by purchases for direct use (63%), only 16% of the transactions are for investment, whereas 21% is a mix of both. Italians represent 81% of the buyers, while foreigners constitute the remaining 19%, confirming the trend reported last year.

Source: Il Sole 24 Ore

Translator: Cristina Ambrosi

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