Luxury homes: where and what to buy in Italy

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In search of Italian well-being: between Milan and Rome or among the tourist destinations of Tuscany, the Amalfi coast, and the lake area, what opportunities are there in Italy in the luxury home sector?
Within the real estate market, luxury real estate represents a world of its own. Luxury homes are a sector that differs from other real estate segments in that it belongs to the world of exclusivity. The luxury category must be tangible, real, and obvious. This means that both the object and the context are inseparable. The housing offer must be qualified not only by the property of high aesthetic quality and the services it can offer but also by the quality of the context. Therefore, to ensure an exclusive living model, the property must fall in a context characterized by the presence of services, which in a city can be neighborhood security, subway, parking, and nearby stores, while in a tourist location, direct access to the sea or lake.

How is this sector doing in Italy, and what are the expectations for the coming years?

We Wealth asked Fabio Guglielmi, managing director of Santandrea Luxury Houses, and Leone Rignon, managing director of Santandrea Top Properties, who spoke of a sector that is doing very well, with purchases and sales that, in the last five years, have grown by 53 percent, and indeed positive expectations, both for purchases and sales in cities and for those Italian tourist resorts of the lake, sea, and mountains where people tend to look for a second home.

What differentiates the Italian luxury home market from other international marketplaces?

What determines the Italian market from other global marketplaces is the diversity of the territory and the "Italian lifestyle" that makes Italy unique in the world. When we think of a happy and well-lived vine, the landscape, the shore of a lake, a bottle of wine, food, fashion, artistic heritage, and cities of art, and match it with the word Italy, everything becomes more desirable. Those interested in buying a luxury second home in a tourist location, tending to be foreign buyers, are so because they are looking for "Italian well-being" and Italian-ness.

In Italian cities, the international buyer buys to live there or because they are in love with a city of art, such as Florence or Venice, while in global metropolises (such as London and New York), they tend to do so for business-related reasons. The only Italian city whose trend in real estate values follows the trend (although it still does not catch up) of the "global cities" is Milan, this thanks to a growing financial recognition that increasingly unites it with the previously mentioned metropolises.

Who buys luxury real estate?

Those who intend to buy an exclusive property in our country, precisely for the reasons we mentioned earlier, are people who already know Italy and appreciate its distinctive features. The catchment area is mainly international, for about 70 percent of buyers while 30 percent are Italian.

In this market context and with a view to diversification, could luxury real estate be a viable investment alternative for an Hnwi?

The luxury real estate market is a market for users before it is for investors. The push factor for purchase is the desire to enjoy an exclusive residence, a "one-of-a-kind piece," regardless of revaluation expectations or needs. Purchasing an entire home in an Italian location is more of an investment that enhances and makes one's housing stock more appealing. Of course, some do so in terms of an investment, not so much related to the income generated from renting but from the property's real estate revaluation in the long run.

What are the five areas where it is worth investing?

Obviously Milan and Rome for those who intend to buy in the city, Florence, Venice and Naples for those who love art and the main tourist resorts such as those in Tuscany, Sardinia, the Amalfi coast and the area of lakes Maggiore, Como, Garda. If I follow the market, I will choose a location regardless of the logic of a possible real estate revaluation; I choose that location because I know its underlying. Conversely, there are those who take a more risk-taking approach in the logic of achieving real estate revaluation in the long run. In this case, it means betting on those cities that, due to ongoing economic dynamics, major planned events, or public projects in planning, will experience significant growth in the long run.

What could be the big bets for 2023 or the coming years?

With Genoa going through an exciting period of ferment, Liguria and its coastlines are characterized by the absolute beauty of its exclusive seaside villages. A big bet will also be Piedmont, both in its northwestern side of Lake Maggiore and its southern and southeastern side of the Langhe and Monferrato, which continue to be highly sought after. If we think instead of one particular city, we would say Naples.

In the buying and selling of luxury homes, large sums of money (from six zeros and up) are moving in; what figures stand alongside investors?

In an increasingly competitive environment, the international buyer must be supported by a full-service real estate company provider capable of guaranteeing brokerage and valuation, advisory, property management, and technical appraisal services. This is the real strength that ensures trust and professionalism. For the international interlocutor, moreover, a listed company such as the Gabetti Group, with more than 70 years of activity behind it, ensures the buyer a history of continuity.
Director of and editor-in-chief of the magazine. A professional journalist, she holds a law degree from the University of Turin. She has worked at MF, Bloomberg Investments, and Finanza&Mercati. She has contributed to Affari&Finanza (Repubblica) and Advisor.


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