Apartments in Italy: Cost of Buying and Renting
Buying property in Italy may be cheaper than in Spain, Portugal, or France, according to recent data. Coupled with the allure of the Mediterranean climate, vibrant cultural scene, and a thriving business sector, this provides a compelling case for investing in real estate in Italy.
In this article, we delve into the property market in different regions of Italy, exploring the costs associated with both renting and purchasing homes. Previously, we discussed the pricing of apartments in Spain.
Overview of the Italian Real Estate Market
After several years of stagnation and decline due to the economic crisis and the pandemic, Italy’s housing market is experiencing a revival. According to Immobiliare.it, the average cost per square meter in March 2023 was €1,967, marking a 1.71% increase compared to April 2022 (€1,934 per sq. m).
This positive trend is also evident in rental prices. In September 2023, the average monthly rent was €12.03 per sq. m, representing a 4.61% increase from April 2022 (€11.50 per sq. m).
Overall, the Italian real estate market is on the upswing, especially in traditionally attractive areas for buyers and renters.
One key factor is the European Central Bank (ECB) maintaining historically low interest rates on housing loans since 2016. This makes mortgages affordable and contributes to the relatively low cost of purchasing property in Italy.
According to My Dolce Casa, a website providing information on the Italian real estate market, the average mortgage interest rate was 1.5% in 2022.
A joint study by the Bank of Italy, Tecnoborsa, and Agenzia delle Entrate conducted in the first quarter of 2023 revealed that the percentage of real estate agents selling at least one property reached its highest level since the study’s inception in 2009.
In 2022, Italy witnessed a staggering 784,485 real estate transactions, marking a significant increase of 36,000 compared to the same period in 2021.
Interestingly, despite this surge in activity, the number of property listings continues to decline, signaling a growing demand and insufficient supply.
The heightened interest is particularly pronounced in major cities, with Milan, Rome, Florence, and Naples emerging as preferred locations for apartment purchases.
Cost of Real Estate in Italy
Despite the unified ECB interest rate, the diverse economic situations across European countries make buying a home in Italy more accessible than in Spain and Portugal.
As mentioned earlier, the average housing price across the country increased by 1.71% in a year. However, the cost varies significantly by region, emphasizing the need for buyers to carefully choose their province, especially if seeking an affordable apartment or a house by the sea.
Average Housing Prices by Region in Italy (2023)
|Cost in € per sq.m
|Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol
|€3,138 per sq. m
|Valle d’Aosta (northwest Italy)
|€2,733 per sq. m
|€2,546 per sq. m
|€2,522 per sq. m
|€2,453 per sq. m
|€2,303 per sq. m
|€2,251 per sq. m
|€1,911 per sq. m
|€1,858 per sq. m
|€1,825 per sq. m
|€1,544 per sq. m
|€1,502 per sq. m
|€1,351 per sq. m
|€1,334 per sq. m
|€1,330 per sq. m
|€1,288 per sq. m
|€1,127 per sq. m
|€1,115 per sq. m
|€980 per sq. m
|€925 per sq. m
Italian real estate stands out as one of the most attractive in Europe, maintaining relatively stable prices despite consistent demand.
Analyzing city data reveals that the highest property prices are in Milan, Rome, and Florence. Below are the prices per square meter in the central parts of these major cities.
|Cost per 1 sq. m (in €)
Cost of Rent in Italy
In October 2023, the average cost of renting residential properties reached €12.78 per sq. m per month, marking a 5.45% increase from September previous year (€12.12).
Over the past two years, the average cost per square meter in Italy peaked in September–October 2023. The lowest recorded month was December 2021, with a rate of €11.31 per sq. m.
In October 2023, the highest rental prices were observed in the small region of Valle d’Aosta in the northwest of the country, reaching €17.75. On the other hand, the lowest prices were found in Umbria, located in the central part of the Apennine Peninsula, at just €7.25.
Rental Prices by Region in Italy
|Rental Price per sq. m (in €)
How to Purchase Property in Italy
Purchasing property in Italy is possible without involving a real estate agent, but the sale agreement must be registered with a notary. You can look for property yourself, arrange viewings, and negotiate the price. But foreigners rarely go through all the procedures themselves.
If you have decided to purchase property, here is a step-by-step guide:
1. Obtain a tax identification code (codice fiscale) containing personal data, similar to a taxpayer identification number (TIN). This number is required for various government transactions and can be obtained at a tax office or consulate using your passport.
2. Open a bank account and transfer funds for the purchase.
3. Make a written purchase offer (proposta di acquisto) addressed to the seller, indicating the price and other terms and conditions. The seller will agree or propose its own terms. Register the offer with the tax office, paying a fee of €264 plus 0.5% of the deposit amount.
4. Pay a deposit, typically 10% of the property price.
5. The notary must carefully check all documents provided by the seller. The former must confirm that the seller and the owner are the same person, that the house is not mortgaged, and that there are no other conditions that may prevent the transaction from taking place. If the sale is not possible, the seller pays an amount equal to double the deposit.
6. Sign the sale contract (contratto notarile di compravendita) by both parties in the presence of a notary. If you don’t speak the language, invite a licensed translator or witnesses proficient in Italian and your native language. Third-party documents must be submitted to the notary in advance. The contract will be drafted in both languages. Taxes, agent, and notary fees are paid at this stage.
7. Transfer the money. The two options include wiring funds to the seller’s account or using bank drafts (bank statements that the buyer gives as a cheque).
8. Register the transaction. The notary submits documents to the cadastre, registration office, and tax authorities. The process takes a few days to three months, but you become the owner immediately after the completion of the transaction. The notary issues a corresponding certificate.
In Italy, it is also possible to purchase property through power of attorney. Translate and apostille the document, notarize it at the consulate, or upon arrival in the country.
Renting an Apartment in Italy
In Italy, the most common way to find accommodation is through real estate rental websites. The most popular ones include casa.it/affitti and soloaffitti.it, where you can find listings from both individual property owners and agencies.
A less popular but useful site is easystanza.it. While it offers free usage, you will only see ads paid for by the landlords. Opting for a paid registration expands your access to a broader range of listings.
The site with the app subito.it is another convenient option.
Another approach is to check local advertisements, particularly in smaller towns or on bulletin boards near universities. This method may yield budget-friendly options and opportunities for shared rentals with neighbors.
It’s common for property owners to offer rentals without official documentation to avoid paying taxes (around 40% of income). However, remember that registration is necessary for education, work, and obtaining certain documents. Moreover, official registration provides protection against sudden rent increases and eviction.
If you opt for a real estate agency, be aware that they typically charge a fee equivalent to one month’s rent for their services. Additionally, you may need to pay a deposit, usually equal to 2-3 months' rent. Utilizing a real estate agent saves time and ensures a level of security. Your rights will be protected throughout the entire duration of the contract.
Rental prices in Milan
The most expensive city to rent in Italy is Milan.
|Average rent per sq. m. in EUR
|Val di Sole/Fatima
Public social housing (case popolari) is the property of the municipality. These houses are built at public expense. They are rented for a low monthly fee to people who cannot buy or rent their own home.
To get one of these apartments, you must apply to the local authorities, who hold a competition every four years to allocate apartments. First, fill out an application form. It will be reviewed and a decision will be made based on your financial situation. The application can be submitted at any time, regardless of whether or not a competition for social housing has been announced.
The following points are taken into consideration when making a decision:
- total income (not more than 24,689 € per year, the exact figure depends on the region);
- family composition;
- special difficulties (people with disabilities);
- number of children;
- age of the breadwinner.
You must also have citizenship or residence permit, be employed at the place of residence, not have used social housing before, and not have your own real estate.
The contract is concluded for an indefinite period of time. The rent is calculated on the basis of the total annual income of all family members.
The user of social housing is obliged to submit an annual income certificate. Based on this, the payment is calculated and the need for an apartment is confirmed.
Italy is one of the best countries in Europe to live in. It has a mild climate and comfortable living conditions.
Due to the relatively low cost of housing there is an opportunity to choose an apartment or a house, affordable on financial possibilities. For permanent residence you will need a residence permit. We wrote about how to obtain it here.
Money Transfers from Italy
When purchasing real estate in Italy, foreigners often plan to live and work in the country. However, moving abroad doesn’t necessarily mean cutting ties with loved ones back home. In fact, distance can bring people closer, and communication becomes even more cherished.
Money transfers are one way to show care and support, especially when a dear one is residing overseas. By sending money to family and friends, we not only assist with practical matters but also participate in their lives as if we were right there with them.
The KoronaPay mobile app facilitates money transfers from Italy to over 20 countries without a commission, provided that the currency of sending and receiving differs. For example, the transfer can be initiated in euros and delivered to the recipient in lari or tenge.
Also among the advantages of using the KoronaPay service:
- Simple and straightforward transfer process.
- Choice of 13 interface languages.
- 24/7 customer support via chat.
- Fast sending and instant delivery.
- Options for receiving funds: on a card or in cash at partner locations.