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5 Reasons why Umbria is not giving real estate away

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Understanding real estate prices in Umbria

Real estate prices in Umbria continue to take house hunters by surprise. Most foreigners who would like to purchase a country house in the price range €500k-900k still think that the published price for a certain property will be negotiable. And not with a mere 10 % but easily with up to 30-50%, which according to their idea of both the market and the available real estate in their home country, is completely justified. And so the hunt starts, properties are being visited, offers are being made and sellers……feel insulted. Though they are not always in their right there are several clear cut reasons why Umbrian real estate prices have been, are and will be high in comparison with other regions within Italy and moreover with other Mediterranean countries. Are you getting curious? Let’s go through the list!

1 Owners

Of course real estate agents can and will give the owners feedback on the asking price but that is where it ends. Most owners here in Umbria are very determined and decisive when it comes to selling their homes. The properties have usually been in their family for a long time and are not tied up in mortgages, this opposed to what most foreigners think is the case! Actually, when we look at the graph showing the numbers for Europe as well as counties like Japan it seems that Italy is doing fine, even in times of economical crisis. Countries that are famed for their strong economy like Holland, but also Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, France and Sweden have higher debt rates, and mortgages are only normal.
Currently is appears that the main reason to sell is the lack of interest from the next generation while the current generation is getting older and often owns more properties.  Maintenance is getting costly and many decide to sell, but without any desire to do so for a spectacular price. When you don’t have sell because you need the money it is obviously easier to stick to a high price. And as they like to give their offspring a handsome sum to start their own lives a high price is what we have to deal with.

2 Characteristics

Umbrian Country houses are all former farmhouses. And the farmhouses may have started as small houses but due to what is known as “architettura spontanea di contadino” (spontaneous farmers architecture) they generally all ended up being quite large. As a family would expand so would the house, and so in the end would the price.
Many of these houses have undergone a thorough renovation which is no small feat. Renovating is expensive and when using the right (recuperated) materials it gets even more expensive, also because working with for example stone requires different skills and more time and therefore increases yet again the costs.

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3 Scarcity

As farms need and have a lot of land they were littered over the countryside. Keeping in mind the still rugged appearance of Umbria, with a large part being woodlands and another large chunk agricultural land it is quite obvious that countryhouses are not available in the same numbers as duplexes in the average neighborhood. At the same time Umbria has very strict regulations with regard to handing our building plots. So as more and more ruins are being sold off and less land is available the market mechanism again dictates high prices. We even have clients with fallen down farmhouses who een today will only sell their ruin for the incredible amount of one million euros. They don’t need to sell, they are aware that in time Umbria will run out of ruins and they simply wait for the right moment and buyer to come along.
Another type of property which is hard to find are houses in the historic center with a garden. Knowing exactly that the seller will demand a high price, even if the house needs to be renovated.

4 Branding

After many centuries in the shadow of the most famous province of Italy Umbria is finally coming out into the light, making use of the fact that Tuscany is becoming crowded and over-expensive. While initially Umbria may have come across as the perfect place for food and country walks but slightly boring as well things are changing. Umbria now prides itself in being still very authentic, having an international airport, and being quick on catching up with global tourism trends. With maybe even a slightly snobbish approach it seems only logical and reasonable to not spoil the branding strategy by offering cheap real estate.

5 Changing world

In this rapidly changing world more and more people face pollution, traffic jams and other urban lifestyle challenges. So while in Beijing people buy cans of fresh and clean Canadian air Umbria is getting more known as the place to be for those who like to enjoy a high quality of life. With unspoiled air and countryside, lots of space, good quality food, little traffic and lots of peace and tranquility. Umbria is in demand and as the market is aware of this the prices will remain where there are, high up there.

All of this being as it may does not necessarily mean that it is completely impossible for a bargain to hit the market. It will however require speed and skill from both the buyer and the agent to take advantage of such an event. Despite these lucky strikes most buyers will still have to take out their wallet and pay a significant sum, that will however buy them a home in a well preserved high in demand region with a high quality of living. All the ingredients of a sound investment in a region located between Rome and Tuscany, the center and heart of Italy.