Buy a ruin and transform it

Real Estate Market in Umbria

An overview of the Umbrian real estate market

As anyone working in the real estate business I get asked almost on a daily basis whether or not there is anything happening at all with regard to Italian real estate. The real estate bubble that burst in 2011 did at first not seem to affect the prices very much, Italians rather stick to their own idea of a price based on emotions and the amount they calculate they need to continue living, and in return the market slowed down significantly.

Things are moving

However, we are convinced that things are indeed moving, and that after coming to an almost complete stop the market is now transforming into a buyers market. Foreigners have always regarded Italy as a highly desirable destination and ideal location to buy a second home. But, times are changing and several relatively new circumstances kick in and changes on the market are bound to happen.

A new generation of buyers

Change of the average buyers wish list: The new generation of buyers is a generation that has known comfort from the moment they were in their cribs. Good heating, low maintenance, the right materials, modern solutions are only natural in life and is what they are now starting to look for. The ideal of living the Italian dream still exists, but that pictures is up-dated with solar panels, modern design villa’s, floor heating and less maintenance, less land to take care of, less isolated locations. Less time is invested in costly ruins and complicated renovations, more people are looking for easy to manage and ready to move in properties.


Ancient Estates

Change of houses offered: At the same time the market is flooded with big ancient estates being put up for sale by their elderly mostly Italian owners whom are often left to fend for themselves by younger family members who, like in any other West European country start to look for opportunities abroad. This results in a situation where a brand new design house can be for sale for the same price as an old stone mansion deprived of any modern comfort but with lots of charm and with an owner who is convinced to own Umbria’s last treasure. The same accounts for properties to restore, outrageous prices are asked and buyers tend to avoid them, looking for a better deal along the way.


Sellers and buyers

Add this all up, and we can say there is a generation gap between sellers and buyers which in the end should bring the prices of the old stone country houses down with a significant percentage. The quite realistic rates of the new or recently renovated houses might remain stable, and the market for smaller, more comfortable homes, will pick up as soon as the country homes get cheaper and the old owners get a chance to sell and move to a home befitting their age.


An enterprise to start

In addition to the above the market for particular properties with a historical significance, like a cold but beautiful castle, a humid watermill in a magical forest always depends on those who fall in love with an item like that, and those people have always been around and will always be around. Now however they are joined by investors looking for special locations to start an enterprise. For them this might be exactly the right time since many owners who over time had such properties in their families lost the income that they used to generate way back as agricultural businesses and maintaining the properties as residences  has become too expensive.


Compared to other European countries, Italy might be a little behind when it comes to the number of foreigners buying, but we regard that as a temporary phenomenon related to a delay in the dropping of the prices. After all Italy has it all, ski mountains and hot beaches, stunning modern design and impressive ancient culture, the best food, both honest and healthy, brilliant coffee, lots of passion, so it seems no more than logical that “all roads lead to Rome”, as they always did, and always will!