Are you American?
Do you have a surname of Italian origins?
Are you looking for a house in Italy?
Do you use Gate-Away.com?
If the answer is yes to all four questions, then you belong to that 30% of all US users who started searching for their dream home in the ‘bel paese’ during the last year, also prompted by the desire to get back to the origins, to retrace and discover their Italian family roots and history.
As a matter of fact, ccording to the assessment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the extent of the community of Italian origin in America, including the descendants of the emigrants to the United States, would amount to 12 million. Italians were in fact the protagonists of one of the largest migratory exoduses in modern history and, after Argentina, the US was their second most popular destination.
Another fundamental reason why Americans are so fond of Italy, in addition to its lifestyle, history, traditions, fashion, luxury and cuisine, is definitely the comfort derived from the fact that you can easily reach almost any kind of landscape easily and quickly, moving from the mountains to the sea in a short time, which is a difficult thing to do in America.
Furthermore, Italy currently represents not only a real estate market that is stable and increasingly accessible thanks to the considerable drop in prices that we have witnessed in recent years (about -20% since the beginning of the global financial crisis), but which is also safe. Many people, Americans and not, opt for Italy also because other competing countries, such as France and Turkey are not up to standards because of the controversial political and social events that are affecting these nations nowadays.
That’s why a growing number of people are looking for a second home in the peninsula. According to the analysis conducted on the number of requests received in the first quarter of 2016 about the estate for sale in Italy through Gate-away.com, Americans have once again outdone the British, who have been for over two years at the top of the list of the most “loyal” countries. In fact, if the British accounted for 13.64% of all requests received in the first quarter, the Americans accounted for the 14.23%.
What the Americans want: their dream house in Italy
According to our 2015 annual report, here is what has emerged from the analysis of requests we received from the US:
• Average property price: € 338,000
Most of the inquiries did not exceed € 250,000, but a good range of users have filed requests for estates of a higher value, up to € 500,000.
• Most requested properties: detached houses.
• Condition: properties ready to be lived in.
Even if the great majority of American users prefer already habitable houses, a good percentage does not mind jumping into a partial or total renovation project.
• Where: from the analysis of areas that are most requested by the Americans, a peculiar framework emerges. Although the most popular Italian regions abroad, such as Tuscany (in first place with 14.92% of requests), Umbria (in second place with 10.65%) and Liguria (in third with 9.85%), Americans are open to explore every corner of Italy. In fact, on the contrary of what happens in other countries like Spain, where international investors are assembled in the same locations by playing almost all of the micro realities of their own country in another one – just think of the case of the British – Americans are spread out in Italy fairly evenly throughout the territory of the boot. But with a predilection for the central and southern regions, such as Abruzzo, Lazio, Puglia, Calabria and Sicilia. Why? Since many of them are returning to Italy driven by a lure of their origins. Then the choice for this country is not random. It would be precisely the emigrants of central and southern Italy who prefer the US as their promised land, because the train journey to reach northern European countries (the other possible destinations) was not only just as long as the one to America, but it would cost more.
Some advice from an American expert
This is Marilyn Ricci, the founder of Take Me Home Italy. I help people travel to Italy and find their piece of Italian Soul. I have also been a Realtor in the USA for over 30 years. For those of you seeking that dream home in Italy as I am, Gate-away.com is a wonderful source.
Here are a few points to remember when you house-hunt in Italy:
• Location is still the most important – think it through and explore the area that is most important to your new lifestyle.
• There are still few MLS (Multi-Listing Service) in Italy which are circumscribed to small areas and towns at the moment. Find a great real estate agent via property portals such as Gate-away.com to find thousands of listings. They may attempt to show other’s listings too if you ask for more properties.
• Closing costs are higher in Italy compared to USA. You need to budget that into your plans. Lower your sale price range by at least 10% to cover those costs.
• Consider apartments and attached products as well as detached homes. Many Italians live that way. If your goal is to meet locals or live like a local, living attached may help you.
• If you want to save initial costs you can also consider a fixer-upper. Just remember this is La Dolce Vita, the sweet life, for you and also for your workers. It could take longer than it usually does in the USA.
Explore, be patient, and enjoy your house-hunt to the fullest. Buona fortuna! Good luck. “