The number of transactions involving residential properties in Italy exceeded 600 thousand in 2019, increasing by more than four percent compared to the previous year. In the last decade, however, the real estate market suffered significantly due to the financial crisis and has not yet reached the performance level registered before that. Despite the cultural attitude towards homeownership, especially young people find it hard to afford to buy a house and are forced to rent instead, mostly due to a lack of financial stability. The residential real estate sector, however, appears to be favorable for those who can afford to invest. House prices decreased steadily in recent years, particularly for existing properties, and so did interest rates, making the market more accessible.
In 2019, the majority of residential real estate transactions in Italy involved properties between 50 and 115 square meters. North Western Italy is the most dynamic macro-region in the country in terms of transactions, accounting for 34.5 percent of the total. In particular, the region of Lombardy registered the highest number of transactions, and the highest transaction value. Despite the general decrease mentioned previously, property prices differ greatly across regions, with regions in the north of the country being significantly more expensive than those in the south.
On the other hand, more and more Italians, especially the younger generation, decide to rent instead of buying. The share of Italians renting their dwelling increased steadily in recent years, and so did the number of rental agreements in the residential real estate sector. Renting is more popular in the largest cities, where property prices are higher and competition is fierce. As of May 2020, renting a dwelling in Italy cost on average approximately ten euros per square meter. Also, rents can be much higher in cities. For instance, in Milan this figure was twice as high as the national average, while in Florence and in Venice it was 60 and 50 percent higher, respectively.