- Italian property market saw 3.6% increase in buying and selling in Q3 2014 (Italian Revenue Service)
- City living is leading the market's revival (Knight Frank)
- Own a luxury urban holiday home for £65,000 (Appassionata)
"Holidaymakers don't want to see only Italy's touristy areas anymore. They want to experience real life – to immerse themselves in the country and its way of life, to eat where the locals eat, to feel part of the town they are staying in."
For Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, founder of fractional ownership company Appassionata, this has been a learning experience. Appassionata's first two fractional holiday homes, where owners buy a one tenth share of the property and use it for five weeks per year, were located in rural Le Marche. The properties offer the ultimate in luxury rural Italian living, including pools, a tennis court and a working estate producing its own wine and olive oil.
"I was surprised by just how much the owners wanted to embrace the true Italian lifestyle," comments Dawn. "Of course they enjoyed sunning themselves on the beach and skiing in the mountains, but they seemed just as delighted – if not more so – with buying fresh fish from the local fishermen early in the morning and learning how to make pasta with a local chef. They wanted to embrace Italy in a totally different way."
It was owners' feedback that guided the location of Appassionata's third property, the urban fractional holiday home Casa Tre Archi, in the medieval hilltop town of Petritoli. The three bedroom, three bathroom house with large roof terrace is perfectly located for owners who want to experience urban Italy, from sipping coffee in a piazza to the sound of church bells tolling, to heading to the fruit and veg market to pick out locally grown produce that's bursting with flavour.
The trend is reflected in official figures, with the Italian Revenue Service reporting a sharp upturn in the country's buying and selling rates in Q3 2014, an increase of 3.6%. The buying and selling of urban properties was the main driver of the upturn, in line with feedback from Rupert Fawcett (one of Knight Frank's Italian team partners) in November, who commented that, "there has been increased interest this year in city living."
Fawcett's observation was that buyers from the UK and US were leading the charge. Certainly this has been the case with Appassionata's properties, though they also have owners from South Africa, Switzerland, Scotland, Ireland, France and of course Italy itself.
A one tenth share of Casa Tre Archi can be purchased for just £65,000 and it is this low price point that adds to the property's attractions, as Dawn explains,
"The beauty of factional ownership is that buyers can get so much more for their money than if they were buying a second home outright. Given that the average second home owner is unlikely to use it for more than a few weeks a year anyway, fractional ownership makes perfect sense. Our owners arrive to find their home ready for use and never have to worry about the upkeep of the garden or minor repairs – it is the ultimate in relaxing holiday experiences."