Investing in Italian real estate doesn’t have to be the logistical mess you might think it is: it is possible, and within the reach of the ordinary Australian family, to own a dream property in this glorious European country that you’ve always dreamed of living in. Thanks to the stable Australian dollar, and the global reach of the modern property market, there are more good reasons than ever before to buy property in Italy from Australia, and live (or holiday) ‘la dolce vita’.
A dream holiday destination
Airfares are steadily decreasing in a competitive modern market, making regular overseas holidays more accessible to Australians than ever before. But to top it off, imagine that at your destination there is a place you can really call home, a place that becomes familiar to you and your children, and loved over many years of shared enjoyment. Buying a property in Italy gives you both a holiday home—which could dramatically reduce your holiday accommodation expenditure—and a proximity to the rest of Europe that puts the opportunity to travel to countless other countries at your feet.
Throughout Italy you will find countless treasures in gothic architecture, renaissance art, and ancient relics; rural towns rounded with vineyards and stone farmhouses; and coastal towns dripping with warmth, expansive ocean views, and incredible food. But Italy isn’t just for languishing in the sun: its sublime mountains and noteworthy ski resorts offer the opportunity for ski holidays with a truly unique flavour. Because many of Italy’s ski resorts are located near the borders of Austria, France and Switzerland, you will experience an eclectic influence of European culture, combined with the traditional Italian lifestyle of good food, good wine, and good company. It’s great skiing, but not as you know it—you’ll never find anything quite like it in the rest of the world.
Living la dolce vita in retirement
Italy is also fast becoming a popular retirement destination for international investors. Australians today are less likely to embrace a traditional retirement lifestyle, opting instead for settling down in their dream destination, and Italy is the perfect place for the kind of relaxation and luxury that modern Australian retirees are looking for.
You can live very well as a retiree in Italy. You will enjoy a high standard of living, and you might even find that your hard-earned retirement fund will go further there than it will in Australia. Furthermore, Italy’s health services are also ranked second in the World Health Organisation’s list of excellence, which adds an extra layer of security if you are intending to spend your later years there.
If you are fearful of the language barrier, you might be surprised to find more English-speaking people than you thought you would—particularly as you come to know the locals, who are generally warm and inviting—and that you can get by without speaking in the local tongue. But why should you, when you could immerse yourself in the authentic cultural experiences of the country? Even in the popular tourist destinations like the Amalfi Coast, Italy upholds its tradition and identity, and most international investors have chosen it for the love of the culture that is virtually uninfluenced by globalisation.
Whether you are enamoured by sleepy rural landscapes and farmhouses, historic villages, villas on the seaside and crystal clear lakes, or picturesque mountains and ski fields, Italy really is the country that has it all, and it has a lot to give international retirees.
A stable property market and a wise investment
If the gorgeously temperate climate, epicurean food, and rich culture of Italy aren’t enough of a reason to buy property there, the market certainly is. Italy’s property market is notoriously stable, and despite the impact of the GFC, it remains strong and steady in its growth. It is fundamentally conservative: Italy doesn’t suffer the same booms and busts that Australia does, because Italians generally don’t over-capitalise or over-mortgage, and the average family owns only a single home, which is partly owing to tradition. This means that it is a comparatively safe market to invest in over the long term. It’s also a buyer’s market: following the GFC, house prices stopped rising, but they didn’t drop dramatically; just enough that they’re below their usual asking prices, and not enough to throw the market into turmoil or to make your investment unwise.
In general terms, the market has made modest growth in the last two years, and it is tipped to trend steadily upward over time, so it’s a good time to buy. Recently, there have also been a number of legal reforms and changes to government measures to increase Italy’s attractiveness to investors, including more favourable terms and extra security for landlords, which reduces even more of the risk of buying and leasing. In consideration of all the risks in property investment, Italy’s a pretty safe bet.
Consistent rental returns
Italy’s most famous cities are a good place to invest. A steady stream of tourism to Rome, Venice and Florence both support the local economy and guarantee the prospect of a good rent stream and investment return throughout the year. Because of the temperate climates, the major cities are visited for comparatively long periods compared to many other European destinations (and at any time of the year), increasing your potential for income and reducing your investment risk. Tuscany and Lake Como have been popular investment areas over the last couple of years, and both are proven to yield extremely good investments anywhere in their regions, although their property prices have risen considerably of late.
But if you’re looking to dive into the authentic culture of the lesser-known areas, there are plenty of other Italian cities where a good rental return is possible. As an example, the cities in Italy’s North have thriving tourism—due to the irresistible appeal of a diverse landscape that offers everything from surprisingly low rainfall and warm temperatures, to vineyards and countryside, lakes, and mountains with ski fields—and regions like Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta will provide both good buying and rental prospects. These regions seem to be flying somewhat below the international investment radar, with considerably lower property prices when compared with cities in more central regions, and there are countless other gems throughout the country with similar prospects.
It’s easier than you think it is
With the right advice, buying a home in Italy is not just possible, it’s easy. You might have heard that the systems and processes for international investments in Italy are convoluted, and that legal and planning permissions issues are a long and drawn-out headache.
But don’t let all the negative talk dissuade you from your passionate dream of living the Italian lifestyle: with our understanding of complex bureaucratic systems, Doorways to Italy can provide you with valuable advice, and a comprehensive guide to buying property in Italy, so you are fully prepared when it comes to making your very rewarding decision. With our team of Italian professionals, and our broad network of contacts, we can navigate you all the way through the Italian real estate purchasing process, and we’ll stay with you until you set foot in your new ‘casa dolce casa’.