In the midst of a global pandemic, investing in some luxury properties might well be the last thing on mind – but in actual fact, now is, in many cases, a better time than ever to bag a bargain property that will provide you with a valuable nest-egg for the future. And, if you’ve often dreamt of living, holidaying or simply owning a prime piece of real estate somewhere warm and sunny, then Italy might just be the place.
Italy is firmly a buyers’ market at present. Driven, as all markets are, primarily by the law of supply and demand, its dynamics are especially unique when it comes to high end real estate where the supply of properties on the market massively outweighs the number of buyers looking to purchase at any given time – and this is particularly true now, when the majority of potential investors are feeling wary of parting with their money.
Many properties, particularly in countryside locations, are generational properties that may have been in a family for many years. Now in the hands of owners who are not as connected to the property as their parents or grandparents were, they are flooding the markets at a rate where buyers simply can’t keep up. The result? An excellent range of choice for anyone looking to invest in a luxury property in Italy, allowing you to, quite literally, take your pick.
Cameron Avery, director at Prestige Properties – which specialises in the sale of luxury real estate in Italy, says: “Lifestyles have changed, and where many of the properties were previously inhabited year-round, they are now either used sporadically, rented or abandoned completely. The current generation are therefore not as emotionally attached to the property and in fact, often see them more as a burden than anything else. The preference is to sell and to release their equity so that they have the flexibility to invest how they choose or to simply assist them with their own living expenses.”
The result of this dynamic is that there is a glut of countryside properties on the market in Italy. In areas such as Tuscany and Umbria, for every property that is sold to an international buyer, there are a huge amount that remain unsold. As such the market is firmly in the hands of the buyer.
Avery explains: “Asking prices can be used as a guide, but more often than not, discounts – quite often substantial ones – on the asking price can be secured.
“It is not unusual to find a property that has been priced so unrealistically from the outset that, as a result, has been sitting on the market for many years without having ever received an offer. These cases present opportunities for buyers to potentially purchase properties at very attractive prices.”
Buying in a foreign country and particularly one that speaks a different language can often feel like an overwhelming task for international buyers – but this doesn’t have to be the case. All it takes is to work with an expert luxury real estate company that can guide you through each stage of the process, helping you to secure the property of your dreams with minimal stress or hassle.
“Although Italy does of course have its own particular way of doing things, it is actually a rather straightforward process to buy a property in Italy,” says Avery.
“As we always explain to our clients, the key is to use highly professional consultants that speak the same language. In doing so, you will find that the process is a lot simpler and much more streamlined.”
Despite what is currently happening with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic globally and the impact that this is having on international travel, Avery doesn’t see it having much of a detrimental effect on the top end of the market in Italy.
He explains: “Rather counter-intuitively, we have actually seen a higher level of interest in luxury Italian real estate from our clients than pre-Covid. It might be that people have more time to spend looking for their dream property at present, or that their priorities in life are changing, and that for them, the time now feels right to buy a property in Italy.
“I suspect that it is a combination of both, but whatever it is, the level of interest we are receiving is quite staggering. There is a lot of pent up demand to travel, particularly from the North American market, so I believe that once travel restrictions have eased, we are going to see an explosion of interest from buyers.”
Another interesting trend that Avery expects to see is the increase in demand for exclusive villa rentals rather than traditional hotel stays.
He explains: “I suspect that the Covid-19 pandemic and its after-effects will change the way luxury travellers enjoy their holidays in Italy. Those who may have traditionally stayed in hotels may elect to take an exclusive villa rental instead, where they feel safer and more secure. This will provide some very interesting opportunities for investors looking to generate a return on their home in Italy, where properties that are managed professionally can comfortably be rented for up to 20 weeks per year at very attractive rates in the most sought-after destinations.”
There’s no denying that, at present, Italy offers a very appealing environment in which to invest. In addition to this is the little-known and underrated flat tax scheme – which offers non-Italians who transfer their tax residence to Italy the possibility to cap their tax at EUR 100,000 on all income derived outside of Italy.
As Avery says: “The flat tax scheme is extremely interesting. It provides the unique possibility for one to enjoy “la dolce vita” and all that Italy has to offer whilst benefitting from a tax regime as attractive as found anywhere in Europe.”
Convinced? It’s almost impossible not to be. So, to give you a taster of what’s available to buy in Italy at present, we asked Avery to hand-pick four of the finest. The only question left to ask yourself is, which one is for you?
Villa in Capri
Set in an impressive chunk of limestone which towers from the Tyrrenhian Sea beneath, Capri has long been known as one of the classiest and most sophisticated destinations in Italy. Located just off the chic Amalfi Coast – which is home to other picturesque must-sees such as Positano and Amalfi – today it is a playground for the rich and famous. A prime rental spot for those looking for a luxurious and private Italian getaway, the properties you’ll find here are impressive.
This breath-taking property, which is currently for sale, overlooks the sparkling Gulf of Sorrento and offers spectacular views towards the bay of Naples and along the Amalfi Coast.
Featuring a total of 1,100 square metres of floorspace, it also comprises two separate villas, along with two additional small buildings which were previously used for staff accommodation. Set in one hectare of sprawling and perfectly maintained gardens, which come complete with a swimming pool, it is easily accessible from Capri’s main square on foot in just a few minutes, or in a few minutes’ drive by car.
Villa in Sardinia
A magnificent Italian-style villa set in the centre of Porto Cervo, this property sits on 5,000 square metres of land and features a living area of 900 square metres that is spread over three floors. Its beautifully maintained garden offers sweeping views over the famous marina nearby, and is a haven of peace and tranquility for anyone looking to get away from it all.
A relatively new build, it was constructed in accordance with the most up-to-date building techniques and features all the mod-cons you could want. The ground floor comprises three double bedrooms, each complete with its own en-suite, along with a living room, large veranda and swimming pool on the second floor, plus a kitchen and two further double bedrooms. On the second floor, you’ll find a master bedroom which enjoys its own walk-in closet and bathroom, with a spectacular panoramic terrace.
Castle in Tuscany
Set deep within the verdant rolling hills that Tuscany is known for, this stunning property offers show-stopping views of nearby Siena and the surrounding countryside. Dating back to the 13th century, it’s a truly majestic choice for anyone who likes to feel like royalty in their surroundings, and is steeped in immense history.
Forming a rectangular shape around a central courtyard, it features 1,400 square metres of internal floorspace and some incredible original features including its towers, battlements and terracotta flooring. Set in 16.5 hectares of land comprising over 400 olive trees and a hectare of vineyard, it’s a truly impressive property that anyone would be lucky to own.
Villa in Veneto
Set in the stunning countryside of the pretty Italian region of Veneto, this magnificent villa offers commanding views over the Veneto plains and towards the Italian Alps.
Built in the second half of the 17th century, it features classic high ceilings and grand living spaces, with living space spread over three floors. Comprising six bedrooms in total, along with four bathrooms and a selection of reception halls and entertainment rooms, its private landscaped grounds include a spectacular swimming pool, which is perfect for cooling off in the Italian summer heat.
All imagery used in this article credit: Prestige Properties