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Italy on top of global real estate markets: reasons of a success

Italy on top of global real estate markets: reasons of a success

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The sales data of the last few years have shown that the luxury and prestigious property sales sector is increasingly seeing the number of buyers coming from abroad, with a predominance from the Arab world, as well as from Germany, England and America.

In search of dream places, high fashion and fancy food

Foreigners are looking for all the elements of luxury made in Italy, with fashion above all, but it is certainly not to underestimate the multi-starred cuisine that the country offers. On top of the preferences, Lombardy is still the towing region, thanks to the unmissable call of the capital, the city of Milan, the one only city that can compete with major capitals such as Paris, London, Monte-Carlo and German cities such as Frankfurt and Berlin.

Neuralgic heart of the country, unique and unrepeatable forge from which all the new trends, fashion and innovations are developed, making it the most requested Italian city. The reason why Milan is really so much liked is soon said: the Stock Exchange, which by volume of trade is second only to London, fashion, cooking; let's not forget that all the most important starred restaurants are in the city, and from here all new culinary trends start. The sector of technology, innovation and cutting-edge medical-scientific research put Milan on top of global preferences.

Even the beautiful and bucolic Lake Como, a few steps away from Milan, so loved by the top-stars, who have bought here one of the beautiful lake view residences, which have therefore now reached prohibitive prices, and accessible only to tycoon and millionaires.

Always very much loved, especially by the English, is Tuscany,with the beautiful medieval towns still virtually intact despite the passing of times, the glamorous life of Versilia, the city of Florence, which alone recalls about half of the historical and artistic tourism of the whole country.

Sardinia, whose sea is more and more often compared tosome tropical countries’, due to the beauty of its coastlines and the crystal-clear purity of its waters, so much so as to register a concentration of super yachts, during the summer season, which has no rivals anywhere else in the world. Here top tourism speaksalmost exclusively Arabic and Russian, while the presence of Southeastern Asian countries is still scarce.

Puglia, a region made up of white villages and large olive groves, is experiencing a sort of second youth, recording a positive trend over the last 10 years. Preferred spot by the international jet-set, which chooses it for super exclusive weddings and a thousand-and-one-nights summer parties*.

Venice, the most romantic city in the world, par excellence the city of love, so exquisitely unique with its canals, calle and campielli, magnificent in any season.

Matera, elected European Capital of Culture 2019, comes to seal the importance of Italy on a global level.

But then all the regions have their own charm, some less known than others, but certainly appreciated by the wealthy international clientele who loves to frequent the beautiful country.

What pleases the most about the beautiful country is its lifestyle, the people's amiability, and the concentration of artistic and historical heritage sites like nowhere else in the world. As a matter of fact, no country can boast the highest number of UNESCO sites such as Italy, with as many as 54 in 2018.

Rome, according to the estimated data elaborated by the Bilateral Tourist Board, counted in 2018 some 13.9 million arrivals, reaching 15 million during end-of-year holidays.

The revenge of Milan

Milan has been crowned "the city of 2019", with foreign tourists having surpassed Italians’, with a peak of 10 million tourists, including metropolitan area,reached in 2018.

Afterthe first place gained in 2018 ranking for the quality of life, and the recent victory of the Wallpaper Award for Design, the city can also celebrate its vocation as a tourist town. As a result, it happens that the value per square meter for the properties in the most desirable district of the city, the so calledQuadrilatero, is the most expensive compared to other European cities. Milan cannot offer the same amount of luxury properties as Paris and London, so the price inevitably goes up. To buy a luxury property, therefore, one must be willing to pay. Much.

The Arabs and luxury made in Italy

The data relating to luxury property sales show that, in recent years, wealthy Arab buyers have been continuously increasingtheir business. In 2015, requests for luxury properties from Arab countries (in particular from the Emirates) increased by 80%, where property valuation almost always exceeds one million euros. The favorable euro /dirham exchange rate helps facilitate purchases.

Since 2015, when the Expo took place, much has changed in terms of architecture, many skyscrapers have been built, or are still under construction. A striking example of the new trend is the brand-new district of Porta Nuova. The newly built district, and its skyscrapers, with an estimated value of over 2 billion euros, have been bought by the Qatari sovereign fund Qatar Investment Authority (Qia), which, with assets estimated at 335 billion euros, is among the most important in the world.

Italy is the second European country in which the sovereign fund of Qatar is more present, second only to England, and where it began to invest in the country as early as in 2009, creating in Porto Levante the world's first liquefied natural gas storage facility.

The young Qatari Emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, wants to create a sort of “bridge between Islam and the West”, with his idea to export political Islam in Europe, by combining sport and religion, art and business, culture and tourism. Having diversified its Italian business, but it is the real estate sector that prevails in its investments.

«The world is divided between those who are Italian and those who would like to be Italian». These were the words of Sheikh Suhami Al-Thani, 31, a member of the royal family of Qatar and second cousin of the current Emir, when he talked about Italy, and about the investment of Qatar Holding that, back in 2013, had acquired a shareholding of 40 % of Porta Nuova. An investment that has now risen to 100% and that has granted to the group the entire district of Milan, worldwide known for the great re-development project, as well as for the Vertical Forest of architect Boeri, considered the most beautiful among the tallest buildings in the world.

Other important acquisitions were luxury hotels in Florence (Four Seasons, St. Regis and Western Excelsior), Gallia in Milan, GrittiPalace in Venice and others in Rome, in addition to a big portion of glamorous Costa Smeralda. The love of the Arab world for our country is widely rewarded, with many Italian participations in projects of primary importance in the Gulf countries.

Record numbers

In 2017, investments reached 11,3 billion euros, and also 2018 ended with very positive numbers, despite a slight decrease compared to the previous year, with a strong interest especially from American, French and British investors.

The weaknesses of Italy, such as the stagnant economy, bank debts and political instability, do not seem to worry investors very much, which, on the contrary, reward the country with important investments.

One of the positive factors of Italy is the fact that, even if the interests of investors tend to focus on the classic trio of offices-logistics-retail, the market also offers a wide range of opportunities in other sectors, including those defined as alternative, like hotels, where the offer is immensely lower than the demand. The hôtelleriesector was one of the great success stories of 2017, with a volume of investments almost doubled,compared to the previous year, with nearly 1.5 billion euro, and the entry of new brands that are revitalizing the market.

The second home market

Over the years the way and also the amount of purchase of the second home in Italy by foreign families has changed profoundly. The buyer has become increasingly international and sophisticated.

Between 2007 and 2017, about sixty thousand people from abroad bought a house for tourism in Italy, with Sicily reporting a real exponential growth. It currently gathers 15% of the investments of foreign buyers who buy a house in Italy, with volumes that in 2016 reached almost four hundred million euros invested on the island by foreign families, with a 20.1% more than in 2015.

Investors are willing to scour the peninsula up and down to find the second home of their dreams, as per data collected and processed at the end of 2017 by Gate-Away.com, which has created a web portal dedicated exclusively to international buyers looking for a home in the country.

Requests coming from abroad for real estate properties in the Peninsula show an increase of 23.68% compared to 2016; the market is growing enormously, compared to 2012, the year of the first report, with the number of requests being quadrupled.

Year 2017 saw the return of a great interest from the German market, whose applications increased by 34.04%, accounting for 15.92% of the total. The fascination for Italy has also attracted American customers, who rose to second place, with an increase of 25.99%; the United Kingdom follows with an increase of 24.31%. If 43.91% of the requests come from the top three countries in the ranking, the remaining 56% come from 152 other countries. Canada saw a growth of 52.91%, entering the ranking of the top ten countries. This shows that Italy has an attraction recognized worldwide.

Interesting data regard the growth of some countries that, despite being in the less favorable positions in the global ranking, see an important growth trend. India increased by 133.33% in 2017, Israel by 127.24% and Turkey, with a record increase of 140.58%.

If Tuscany remains the most classic destination in international desires, it is Lombardy, however, to take second place, towed by the beauty of Lake Como, which sees a growth in purchase requests by 52.77%. This is followed by Liguria (+ 14.73%), Puglia (+ 15.65%) and Sardinia (+ 23.12%). There is no longer a "preferred" region by foreigners; in fact, if 38% of the requests are for the first three regions, the remaining 62% spread uniformly over all the others.

According to the market report "Commercial Real Estate in Italy - H1 2018" realized by Engel & Völkers, data for 2018 showed a volume of investments of about 3.2 billion euros for the first halfof the year. Foreign investors continue to boost the Italian market, with a share of 67% of total investments.

Conclusion

Italy is ready to welcome more friends from every corner of the globe, to share with all its many beauties, and who have crowned it as "the most beautiful country in the world". For this reasonmore and more people are also passionate about the study of the Italian language, which has grown exponentially in the last decade, leading it to be among the most studied in the world. So, welcome to Italy, benvenuti in Italia!

VENEZUELAN CRISIS - US AND EU ULIMATUM

VENEZUELAN CRISIS - US AND EU ULIMATUM