Italian Real Estate market
Sotheby´s Realty is one of the biggest international worldwide real estate companies. They have offices arround the world with a big portfolio of luxury properties. There’s a lot of items to keep in mind when you buy or invest in real estate. We had the opportunity to talk with Diletta Giorgolo Spinola, Head of Residential at Sotheby´s Realty Italy to check how the Italian real estate market is nowadays.
Being the daughter of a former Italian Ambassador, Diletta has lived in various cities all over the world (Berlin, Bonn, Zurich, Vienna, New York, Ankara). This has always helped her to grasp a better understanding of the various cultures and different requirements of international clients. Before joining Italy Sotheby’s International Realty as Head of Residential, she worked for 9 years in the international luxury rental market, dealing both with national and international clients.
- How do you see the current panorama in the real estate sector in Italy?
Italy remains very attractive with a steadily growing demand. Beauty, lifestyle and tax optimization tools such as the Flat Tax are the main drivers for those looking for an iconic property in Italy, known to be one of the best countries in terms of quality of life.
- Which are the reasons why you recommend (if there’s any) people to invest in real estate in Italy?
Many digital nomads are searching for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, more in touch with nature. This is why the interest for countryside houses in Sicily and Puglia is rising. Seafront locations are still one of the main requests from foreign buyers, in particular for Capri, Argentario and Sardinia.
- Which are the most popular cities in Italy with higher demand of your customers?
Nowadays according to the demand, Milan, most of all, and Rome. Growing demand for Turin and Florence.
- Are there many foreigners who choose to look for properties for investment or residence in Italy?
Yes, for sure. In 2022, foreign buyers include Americans (29%), Germans (27%), Northern Europeans (Belgians, Swedes, Dutch) (21%) and Mexicans (10%) of the total of Sotherby´s customers.
- What are the most common characteristics of the properties your clients are looking for?
The HNWI foreign buyer’s attention for his potential new “home away from home” is mainly focused on exclusive and iconic properties, be they villas pieds dans l’eau, country villas and farmhouses, historic mansions or mountain chalets, as well as luxurious penthouses in the glam districts of Milan or Rome. Still very popular are villas on the lake (Maggiore, Como, Garda) or the Ligurian coast. Tuscany is still number one in terms of second home. Umbria or the Lazio’s northern area called Tuscia, beautiful areas as much as Tuscany, are still not that popular but the aim is to make foreign buyers discover this equally valid and unspoiled alternatives.
The new highest trend is Sicily, considered to be understated for the smart a savy international client. Sicily is on the hype because it combines authenticity, culture, preserved nature, sea sight locations and is one of Italy’s best gastronomies.
In terms of characteristics of the properties:
- Salt water swimming pool with pool house
- Well-kept garden with diversity of plants
- Tennis court or péntaque court (in the case of french clients)
- Terrace with panoramic view
- Kitchen with outdoor patio
- Trusted service personnel who worked for the current owner
- Large master bedroom with a comfortable wellness area (spa) and a big walk- in closet
- Automatic water irrigation
- Video camera control system
- Water purification system
- Smart home / Home automation
- How is the working process when a potential client comes to you to look for a property?
Our agents, who work in 10 offices throughout Italy, conduct a thorough search based on the client’s needs in order to gather proposals that will satisfy the client. Once the client selects the properties of his interest, visits are organized in the shortest possible time.
Here we have a guide of the steps:
THE PURCHASE PROCEDURE – IN ITALY
Italy is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world, which is reflected in the Italian real estate. Whether you seek your retreat on the Lake, your penthouse at the heart of Milan’s fashion district, your villa on the Italian Riviera or your mansion in the Tuscan hills, to own property in Italy is one of the most rich, intense and fascinating experiences. And there are no restrictions on foreign ownership in Italy.
STEP 1 | THE PROPOSAL
Prior to completion the proponent must have obtained an Italian tax code (Codice Fiscale); Your agent can help in this process. The buyer may be requested to provide a formal written offer to purchase a property. This step should not be approached lightly. As an accepted purchase offer becomes a fully binding offer under Italian law, the buyer should seek legal advice. The buyer may also be requested to put down a bank cheque as deposit, between 1% and 5% of the offered price, to be held in escrow by the real estate agent in order to secure the offer. If the seller accepts, the buyer gets notified by the agent. At this point the buyer’s offer becomes binding.
STEP 2 | THE PRELIMINARY CONTRACT
A contract is signed between buyer and seller, binding both parts to complete the transaction.The contract is usually signed at the office of the Public Notary (an independent professional who holds the Seal of the Republic and collects taxes on behalf of the Government, paid by the buyer, but not representing any of the parties), who provides specific guarantees and the buyer.
STEP 3 | THE FINAL CONTRACT
Following the Compromesso, the Public Notary will perform due diligence on the ownership title, tie up any loose ends and prepare the final contract transferring the ownership title. The final contract (as know as Rogito) is signed in the Public Notary office, usually within three months of the preliminary contract, during which he performs all the required checks. Then the Public Notary, after the signing of the Rogito, will record the transfer of title in the Title Office and pay the Stamp Duty and other purchase taxes on the buyer’s behalf. The buyer pays the balance of the purchase price. The entire process involves the assistance of real estate professionals. Also of surveyors, notaries, architects, legal and tax advisors, foreign exchange service providers.
ITALIAN FIXED TAX ON FOREIGNERS
Italy offers a special tax regime aimed at foreigners willing to move their actual residency to Italy. On a similar footing as countries such as England, Spain, Portugal, Malta and Switzerland. Individuals who move their tax residency to Italy are eligible to opt for the application of an annual fixed tax and have their foreign-sourced income totally exempted from Income tax. The option, unless revoked, expires after 15 years.
REAL ESTATE TAXATION IN ITALY
Taxation on property is very favorable in italy compared to most other countries, contrary to what is assumed. There are no restrictions on foreign ownership in Italy. Private individuals are exempt from capital gains tax five years after the purchase.
Individuals of any nationality who transfer their tax residency to Italy. They must not have been Italian residents for at least nine of the past ten years.
Exempted income consists of all income earned outside of Italy (irrespective to its remittance), with the exception of:
– Capital gains arising from the sale of qualified shareholdings in the first five years following the effective date of the option.
– Income sourced in Italy and earned through a foreign intermediary entity (e.g. rents from an Italian property owned by a foreign company).
– The beneficiaries may opt to have certain items of foreign income taxed at ordinary Income tax rates. In which case they will benefit from international double tax credits to assist its clients in reaping the full benefits of this new framework.
FIXED TAX AMOUNT
The fixed tax amounts to EUR 100,000 for each applicable year. EUR 25,000 for each family member to whom the effects of the fixed tax are extended.
Individuals who exercise the option are also exempted from the obligation to report their foreign assets to the Tax authorities (except for those susceptible of generating taxable capital gains in the first five years following the option) and from wealth taxes (IVAFE and IVIE) on such assets.
For more information on properties, please visit https://italy-sothebysrealty.com/it/
If you are thinking of buying a property in Italy, Gimbrere Legal can help you.