On the 6th June 2017 the “Osservatorio del Mercato immobiliare” (OMI) – a branch of the Italian Revenue –  issued its quarterly reports on the Italian property market, for the first quarter of 2017. Click here to read the report.

Following recent legislation which has officially appointed OMI to monitor and to report on issues of the Italian property market, the format and contents of this quarterly report has changed, when compared with the previous years.

A report on residential properties has been issued separately from the corresponding report on non-residential properties. The main source of the information has been moved away from the data provided by Italian public notaries (Note di trascrizione) to the data available at the local land registry (Catasto). Also, data on the surface area of properties considered  in square metres (sq.m.), is now provided.

In order to enable a useful comparison, the data for the earlier years have also been revised, along the same lines.

Further statistics on secondary buildings permanently connected to residential units (Pertinenze), now classified in different classes, were also introduced. All in all, these are important changes that will result in more accurate statistics.

Residential premises – in the first quarter of 2017, almost 122,000 residential units were sold in Italy, an increase of almost 10,000 units when compared with the first quarter of 2016, or + 8.6% in statistical terms.

The main increase in the volume of sales was based on the Italian islands (+ 11.9 %), whereas the increase in the volume of residential property sales in the Northern Regions has been + 10%, and respectively +8% and + 5% in the Central and Southern Regions.

This translates in terms of surface area, into an overall 12.8 million sq.m. of residential premises sold, + 9.8% when compared with the surface area of residential properties sold in the first quarter of 2016.  The average residential unit sold in the first quarter of 2017 had an overall surface area of 105 sq.m.

Overall, residential units ranging between 50 sq.m. and 85 sq.m. have been more frequently sold, with a 30% share of overall sales, followed by residential units ranging between 85 sq.m. and 115 sq.m. with a 27.5% share. Smaller properties, with an overall surface area of 50sq.m. or less have recorded only 9% of the volume of sales.

As a result of the increased volume of sales, increased sale prices have also been registered, in line with a consistent improvement trend, recorded in the previous two years.

Considering the main cities, some more encouraging data continues to emerge. Overall there has been an almost 10% increase (+ 22,170 units) in the number of residential units sold in the main Italian towns. The main increase in the volume of sales was recorded in Florence (+ 16.5%), Genoa (+15 %), Milan (+ 13.8) and Rome (+ 10.2%).

Secondary units permanently connected with residential units – For the first time, data is also separately available for these units.

Cellars and lofts (Depositi pertinenziali) have recorded a substantial increase in the volume of sales, when compared with the first quarter of 2016 (+ 17 %), the average surface area for these units being stable at an overall 15 sq.m. However, details of this data change from town to town, from a small average 8.2 sq.m in Rome to a larger 17 sq.m average, in Naples.

Garages and parking spaces (Box e posti auto) have shown a 8.7% volume increase in the last year. The highest volume in transactions has been registered in the Central Regions (+16%), followed by the North-East Regions and Islands (+ 9%), North-West Regions (+ 7.5%) and Southern Regions (+0.4%).

In terms of main Italian towns, in the last year there has been an overall increase in the volume of sales of these units to + 9.9%. The highest number of transactions was registered in Rome (+ 23.2%), Bologna and Naples (+14.3%). The data for Milan is disappointing, there has been a fall in the volume of sales of these units when compared with the same quarter of 2016 (- 2.2%).

This quarter`s OMI publication on the Italian residential property market also includes a number of detailed diagrams and tables, further documenting the steady, slow improvement of the Italian residential property market.

The Italian non-residential property market

In line with the new format of the statistical periodical reports, trends in the Italian non-residential property market are dealt with in a separate publication. Click here to read the report.

The new quarterly report shows a substantial increase in the volume of sales of Italian offices, shops, warehouses and garages (Settore terziario – commerciale), on the back of the improvements already registered in 2016. The volume of sales of offices and similar premises have increased at a rate of +19.2%, usually in the main cities (Rome and Genoa). The average surface area of commercial units sold in Italian cities averaged 226 sq.m in this quarter.

Factories and industrial units (Settore produttivo) have also shown an increase in the volume of sales in Italy, a healthy + 12.2 % when compared with the first quarter of 2016. The main improvement was recorded in the Northern Regions, in line with the overall, slow, improvement of the Italian economy.

All this 2017 data is encouraging. The fact, however, is that it compares with the earlier “difficult” years (2013 – 2014) of the Italian property market. There is still some way to go, before the pre-crisis levels of property transactions are reached again.

Dr Claudio Del Giudice – 26.06.2017 – Copyrights reserved.