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Real estate in Italy - statistics & facts

The real estate market is commonly divided into residential and commercial (offices, retail space, warehouses industrial properties. In Italy, the residential sector is the largest in the real estate market, accounting for more than 50 percent of total transactions in 2020. With a homeownership rate of over 72 percent, Italy is one of the countries in Western Europe with the highest homeownership rate. In 2020, the country was severely hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, leading to a strict nationwide lockdown. The crisis has also affected the real estate sector, with activity on the housing and commercial real estate market plummeting.

How have house prices changed in recent years?

After six consecutive years of year-on-year growth in residential property transactions, in 2020, sales activity slowed down and the number of housing units sold fell by close to eight percent. This was mostly due to the coronavirus pandemic paralyzing the economy throughout the greater part of the year. The housing market in Italy is more dynamic in the northern part of the country, where both the number of transactions and house prices are higher. Lombardy, Italy’s leading industrial and commercial region had one in five residential property transactions and one-fifth of the value of residential real estate sold in 2020. Milan, which is the capital of Lombardy, is Italy’s wealthiest city and home to Italy’s stock exchange and the headquarters of many national and international companies. Milan’s status as a global city is also noticeable in its high house prices and rental rates.

How big is Italy’s commercial real estate sector?

In a European context, Italy’s commercial real estate sector was valued at close to 900 billion euros, making it the fourth largest in 2020. Though Italy, and especially the northern part, is an attractive destination for commercial real estate investments, the value of investments into the sector decreased in the first half of 2021, likely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Milan accounted for close to half of the three billion euros worth of investments into the commercial sector in the first half of 2021. When considering the different types of commercial property, warehouses, retail buildings, and production facilities comprised both the largest share of existing stock and the largest share of transactions. While the office sector only ranks fourth, it is a highly valued investment asset, vital to the economy of the two largest cities, Rome and Milan. In 2020, over 80 percent of commercial property investment in Milan was in the office sector.

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