2013 Residential market report for Italy: improved short-term outlook after a severe deterioration recorded in July 2012

According to a survey of Banca d'Italia in last Autumn, estate agents’ opinions regarding the short-term outlook for the housing market remain decidedly pessimistic, if slightly less so than in last spring. Their expectations for the national market over the next two years are less unfavourable, and while the balance between forecasts of an improvement and forecasts of a deterioration remains negative it has narrowed to around 10 percentage points, half its earlier value.

In the third quarter of 2012 the proportion of estate agents reporting a drop in house prices with respect to the previous quarter was virtually unchanged at 74.8 per cent. 

The percentage of estate agents who sold at least one property decreased to 55.7 per cent, 7 percentage points less than in the previous quarter and almost 10 points less than in the same quarter of 2011. The decrease was very evenly distributed across geographical areas and size of resident population.

In the third quarter of 2012 actual selling prices were 15.4 per cent below the seller’s asking prices, whereas it was 12.5 per cent a year earlier.
Average property selling times were unchanged at 8.2 months (one month more than a year earlier), and were still 2 months longer in non-urban areas than in urban areas (about 9 and 7 months respectively).

The percentage of house purchases financed by taking out a mortgage fell to 59.6 per cent, against 64.7 per cent in the previous survey and 67.1 per cent a year earlier.

The short-term outlook for the national market has improved with respect to the severe deterioration recorded in the July survey, although the
balances of opinions are still negative. The outlook for the longer term (the next two years) is less pessimistic.

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