Britons rush to buy homes in ‘sunny’ and ‘cheap’ European country – bonus as non residents

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Cheap prices, fantastic weather and stunning scenery are drawing Britons to buy second homes in Italy. According to recent reports, the pandemic has lit a fire among Britons and Americans to live the Dolce Vita.

Bill Thomson, Knight Frank agent for Italian real estate, told Bloomberg: “There’s been a dramatic change in demand. As a business we’ll have the best year we’ve had in the last 10 years.”

He said the property group had seen a huge rise in interest from Britons in 2021 after the pandemic.

American buyers are also flocking to buy second homes in Italy due to the attractive tax incentives.

The ability to work remotely has also made Italy an attractive prospect for wealthy second home buyers.

According to a September 2021 Knight Frank survey, Italy is now the top international destination for Britons and Americans to buy a second home.

Lower house prices helped Italy beat the other popular destinations of France and Spain to the top spot.

Both Savills and Sotheby’s said they had sold more properties in the first eight months of 2021 in Italy than in the entire year of 2019.

Savills handled as many contracts for Italian homes between January and September this year as in the whole of 2019.

Transaction costs for properties are lower in Italy than in Spain or Portugal, although it is still more expensive than France.

Briton David Hart told Bloomberg that he thought buying property in Italy was a good investment.

He said: “Italy is a really good place to invest in. There’s effectively no capital gains tax after five years and inheritance tax is low.”

The former marketing executive owns two Italian properties including an apartment in Rome and a house by the beach.

Non residents do not have to pay capital gains tax in Italy if they sell their property more than five years after they bought it.

A new super bonus policy introduced this year is also thought to be attracting second home buyers to Italy.

The Italian Government will pay extra for renovations that improve a home’s energy efficiency under the policy.

Gianluca Mattarocci, a lecturer at the University of Rome said: “During the pandemic Italian families were eager to sell off their secondary or third homes to get some extra cash. A lot of beautiful, if slightly neglected, properties came on the market all of a sudden.”

Tuscany and Umbria are the most popular second home destinations in Italy but experts are also reporting a rise in interest in Lombardy around Milan as well as Rome.

Some non-residents have also taken advantage of Italy’s incredible buy a home for €1 scheme.

Several idyllic Italian towns and villages have sold homes for just one euro if the new owners promise to renovate them during a certain time period.

The latest town to offer the scheme was Pratola Peligna, a beautiful town close to Italian ski resorts.

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