Home Property in Italy
How to buy a house in Italy?
Here you will find the detailed information about real estate purchasing in Italy:
- the right way to choose the property and to effect the deal;
- property taxes and duties that should be paid;
- everything about home loans in Italy;
- home property management and renting;
- rental, commercial properties and related investment properties.
Real estate for sale
Most recent offers from house owners in Italy and from real estate agencies. Advertisements with the fixed price and auctions are listed here.
You can leave a comment and give advice to other visitors planning to buy a home in Italy.
Prices per square meter in Italy vary from €1200 to €6200 depending on a region. It is possible to find an apartment in the central region for €2000–€2500 per sq. m. Southern provinces, including Sicilia, offer remarkably low prices for real estate. At the same time, real property prices in the northeastern seaside regions, such as Lazio (Rome), Toscana (Florence), and Liguria (Genoa) are significantly higher than average. This is due to significant differences in economic development in different parts of the country. Industrial and economic centers are concentrated in the northern part of Italy, while its southern part remains the agricultural center.
The most expensive real estate is located in Liguria – a coastal region in Northeast Italy. Ligurian coast, which happens to be a sort of extension of Cote d’-Azur, is also known as Italian Riviera. The average price for real estate here is €3310 per sq. m. On the other hand, the apartments in Calabria, which is in southernmost Italy, are the cheapest in the whole country, and can be purchased for €1176 per sq. m. Whereas Lazio offers real property for €2959 per sq. m.
It should be noted that Italy successfully escaped a dramatic fall of property prices, which influenced its Mediterranean neighbors – Greece and Spain (up to 25–35 %). Italy managed to avoid economic bubble and increased real property construction shortly before the crisis. Even now it is difficult to find Italian real property, which has lost as much of its value as that of Spain.
The prices on Italian real estate market have fallen only 10–15 % during the crisis, compared to the average 8 % throughout Europe.
Real estate acquisition in Italy can be divided into several steps: purchase offer, preliminary agreement, and principal agreement.
Purchase offer (la proposta di acquisto)
Having found an appropriate object, the buyer opens an account in an Italian bank and registers personal tax reference number according to Italian standards. Then a real estate agency or an independent notary helps the buyer to prepare a purchase offer. This document should have the signatures of both buyer and seller. It also should contain real estate information, terms of preliminary agreement, and terms of transaction. Note that all legalities in Italy are carried out in Italian language, so translator’s assistance will probably be required.
Having signed the purchase offer, the buyer needs to pay a 10 % deposit (la caparra). It is not customary for notaries in Italy to handle deposits, so this money is usually paid directly to the seller. On this stage it is also necessary to make sure that the deposit paid to the seller is called in Italian “сaparra confirmatoria”. For buyers it means that in case they cancel the agreement, they will lose the whole deposit amount. For sellers it means that if they decide to cancel the agreement, they will have to pay back the deposit at double rate.
However, after signing “сaparra penitenziale”, any party may cancel the agreement upon certain conditions, and in such case, another party will get back the amount previously arranged in the agreement.
Moreover, it makes sense to check real property for defaults or litigations. In Italian such investigation is called “perizia”. Real estate agencies usually assist buyers in such procedures. If you’re going to purchase a new apartment, make sure that it has insurance for at least 10 years.
Preliminary agreement (Il compromesso)
The next stage in acquiring real estate in Italy is signing a preliminary, agreement which is usually done within one month after signing a purchase offer. A preliminary agreement should be prepared by a notary.
There should be stated the conditions of signing a main agreement, detailed information on both seller and buyer, the price of a real estate object, and term of payment. Also a notary should check for any obstacles interfering with a deal. If everything is fine, then a buyer should pay a deposit which is 10–30% of a transaction amount. Once it’s done, a seller can’t cancel an agreement anymore.
The last stage of purchasing an apartment in Italy is the preparing of principal agreement. It should be signed by both seller and buyer in the presence of a notary. Before signing, a buyer should reimburse notary services and pay all taxes.
It is necessary for the agreement to come into effect. A notary reads an agreement aloud to make sure that both parties understand it correctly. In this case a buyer may also need interpreter’s assistance. After signing, the buyer must pay the remaining amount. As soon as it’s done, the process of real estate registration starts. This process may take up to a couple months. It fully depends on a region and its local government. A notary sends principal agreement to the authorities, who carry out ownership registration. After that, the buyer can get a cadastral excerpt and finish the process of real estate acquisition, becoming a new object owner.
Investment in Italian real estate implies additional expenses. Their amount depends on the object value. Main taxes and charges imposed on real estate purchase in Italy are listed below.
Non-recurrent real estate taxes and expenses:
- Real estate VAT is the largest non-recurrent real estate tax in Italy. It is 10 % of the object value for regular property, and 20 % for premium property (regarding primary market property). VAT isn’t imposed on secondary market property. Commercial property VAT amounts to 20 %, although residents, who acquire their first piece of real property, should only pay 4 % of assessed object value;
- Registration tax, or “Imposta di Registro”. It makes up €168 for primary real property, and 7 % of tax value for secondary property (4 % for residents and 7 % for foreigners). Since January 1, 2014, registration tax has been reduced at €900 for each €100 000 of secondary market property value. Thus, if you purchase an apartment for €400 000, you’ll have to pay €3600 less for its registration. However, if you are a resident and acquire an apartment (except premium property) for the first time, registration tax for you to pay is 3 % of the object value.
- Mortgage and cadastral charges or taxes (Imposta Ipotecaria e Catastale). Primary real property taxes equal €336 (€168 each). As for secondary real estate, both taxes amount to 2 % and 1 % respectively for foreigners, and €168 each for Italian residents.
- Construction land purchase tax – 8 %. Foreigners cannot purchase farmland, but residents can – at a tax of 15 %.
- Notary fee – about 2 % of real estate value. Legal services also cost not less than €1500.
The taxes listed above do not relate to premium real estate, which is imposed by extra taxes.
Recurrent taxes after property acquisition:
- Annual property tax (ICI) in Italy – 0.4 –0.7 % of cadastral object value. The rate is based on the decision of local government.
- Single municipal property tax (IMU, Imposta Municipale Unica) has been temporary paused since June 2013. On January 1, 2014 it has been canceled completely. Its rate was based on the decision of local government and varied within 0.2–0.6 % for a first house, and 0.46–1.06 % for a second one. The government plans to introduce a similar tax, which will be called service tax or service charge. Its rate is going to be revealed in October 2014. archived version