Since the last six monthly review written in July, the Marche property market has not changed very much. Given the circumstances, this may seem a very odd statement, but it is not if you consider the distinction that must be made between the effect of the credit crunch on buyers and vendors.
The current situation.
To most foreign purchasers, the credit crunch and all the consequences it has had on the economy has meant that the best policy is to wait and see what happens to the market and personal circumstances before buying. The result has been a drastic reduction in the number of foreigners currently viewing or buying. In particular, the British, who in the last few years have made up the lion’s share of the buyers, have almost completely vanished. There are some prospective buyers from the eurozone still looking, although numbers are down by about 50%. Interestingly, many agencies are noting a small increase in the number of non local Italians looking for a bargain.
To most vendors, the crisis has not had such an effect that they are forced to sell at rock bottom prices, firstly because they, like most Italians, are not heavily leveraged and secondly because selling the ruin is simply an option rather than a necessary step on the property ladder. There has infact been very little evidence of a drop in advertised prices.
Generally speaking then, despite demand collapsing, house prices have not followed. The question is – where are the good opportunities?
The most obvious bargain is to be had when buying from British owners of restored houses. Desperation to sell combined with a particluarly weak pound have brought prices down by about 20-30% and may go further. Be warned however – many second home owners carried out minimal restoration work on the basis that they would “make do” for a couple of weeks each Summer. It is essential that buyers fully understand the condition of the house they intend to buy as costs to repair shoddy restoration work can quite easily overshadow the gain made on a seemingly good price.
Less obvious is the bargain to be had when buying from those Italians that need cash for one reason or another. So as not to lose face, many local vendors will not publish a price decrease but, having noticed a dearth of foreigners in recent months, will negotiate quite substantial reductions. Local agencies say that 15% drop can be obtained. In this case, the trick is to find an agency that knows where the opportunity exists.
Investment in the Region
They say that a recession is a good time to invest and this cerainly seems to be the case in Le Marche.
An international group based in Milan is finalising its plans for a €150 milion euro investment in 3 championship standard golf resorts. The resorts will be spread throughout the region and will combine what the group has termed as “Heritage and Tourism”.
The idea is that the resorts will revive the areas they will be in by concentrating as much on social issues, restoring existing buildings and encouraging local farming, as providing high standard golf courses for tourists.
The first resort,called La Rocca di Montevarmine, will be near Carassai in the province of Ascoli Piceno and building will start before the Summer.
There is no doubt that this investment will have a huge effect on holiday home property prices. If the resorts go as planned, Le Marche will shotly be the number one region for golf in Italy.