Invest in Italy: real estate opportunities


Over 50 million visitors per year, which make for about 5.7% of the Italian gross domestic product generated by tourism, and 1.5 million jobs in the hospitality and tour businesses. Thanks to its outstanding artistic legacy, alluring natural environment and cultural heritage Italy is the fifth country in the world, and third in Europe, by the tourism-borne economic turnout. 

When the global COVID-19 pandemic struck last spring the country counted approximately 34,000 hotel and tourist lodging properties, and the booming hospitality business was giving a good boost to the otherwise quiet Italian real estate market. With an average of approximately 35% of 4 and 5-star hotels, and the rest of guestrooms distributed among cost-effective hotel properties, bed&breakfasts, farm holiday properties (agriturismo) and holiday homes, Italy showcases a very distinctive tourist-lodging landscape. Especially as concerns size, facilities’ standards and ownership.

What’s about investing in a hotel?

Should we be asked to describe the typical hotel in Italy, we would definitely say: not too big, not too new, and – very probably – family owned and managed. As the UniCredit “Subito Casa” 2019 survey reports Italian hotels have an average size of 30 guestrooms and are property of a family (up to 80% of total lodgings) or sole independent proprietor. As regards the conditions and outlay very often Italian accommodation facilities offer room for improvement, especially as concerns quality standards. This detail, in truth, is subject to vary depending on location: whilst a good number of hotel properties in Rome and Milan have been improved and restored to offer better quality accommodation, the same cannot be said for most of the hotels located in the rest of the Italian territory. 

However, both the ownership characteristics and the quality standard trends of the Italian hospitality business have been undergoing expeditious changes over the last few years, mainly due to the considerable amount of recent investments made. Crucially relevant data shows us that in 2019 investments in the hospitality real estate market exceeded 2.5 billion euros, and that approximately 70% of investors were foreigner.

invest italy real estate

What areas caught the entrepreneurs’ attention? Traditionally Italy’s main areas of interest as per real estate market investments are the great art cities, i.e. Milan, Rome, Florence and Venice. Among these surveys show that over the last 5 years Milan was the one that attracted most investors, both Italian and foreign, While we can correctly state that the fulcrum which lures most investors is centered on the most alluring, and extensive, Italian art cities mentioned above – Milan, Rome, Florence and Venice – Rome, the capital, presents an interesting scenario of its own. In fact experts started noting an increase in investors’ interest for the Eternal City in 2018, when it totalled up to about 40% of global investments.Then, in 2019, Milan started catching up and ranked second, with 17%.

The latest commercial real estate market analyses also identify yet another thought-provoking, and ideally positive, trend in the fact that foreign investors appear to be interested in constructing new properties dedicated to hospitality, as well as buying existing ones. 

In fact, as of the beginning of 2020, surveys show how several world-renowned hotel chains have started entering the Italian market by buying out independent proprietors.

So… what now? Is purchasing commercial property in Italy with the aim of setting up business in the tourism hospitality sector still a profitable investment? As of today, is Italy a favorable destination for a prospective investor looking for a fruitful commercial real estate opportunity?

Tourism in Italy is coming back to triumph again. In fact, tourism will very probably be the means by which Italy manages to overcome the economic emergency created by COVID-19.

So, yes! Investing in commercial real estate in Italy is, still today, an excellent plan. Moreover, as extensively confirmed by the data collected by IT Auction, investment opportunities are definitely not lacking. Using its own online real estate auction portal Real Estate Discount as a vector, the IT Auction data shows that it handled almost a hundred properties in the hospitality category for an average appraisal value of almost 3 million euros. And this only over the last year, and only throughout Italy. 

Keeping an eye on what kind of properties these are, and where they are located, is very interesting: results prove that the majority, approximately 17% of the tota, are hotels and tourist resorts located in Sicily. And that in 2019 alone, they recorded an average award value of about 700,000 euros.

Our Services

Our proficient real estate agents and realtors keep more than an eye on the hospitality sector real estate market. Thanks to our expertise, and an extensive deeply-rooted network of contacts, we constantly scan and monitor the Italian commercial real estate market, providing our clients with a full, consistently updated, portfolio of Italian hotels, B&Bs, holiday houses and many other properties.

Once you have singled out your preferences our lawyers, advisors, fiscal experts and consultants are by your side offering trustworthy advice and assistance to ensure a successful, straightforward investment.

What we can do for you:

  • provide prospective foreign investors with an extensive and diversified portfolio of properties and businesses currently on the market, including full data concerning the businesses’ standing, such as last Balance Sheets;
  • provide studies on future potential development, numbers and increasing potential possibilities of the businesses of interest;
  • supply prospective purchasers with a listing of alternative properties, such as properties which need to be renovated but already have approved licences;
  • provide all-round start up services and assist our foreign clients in obtaining all that concerns having the necessary tools to run and develop their business in Italy (i.e. website creation and development, creating booking and Airbnb accounts);
  • provide full, reliable and comprehensive fiscal and legal assistance throughout the purchase, business incorporating and establishment phases. Including, but not limited to, assisting with the Italian invoicing and bookkeeping rules, assisting clients prepare for bank financing and mortgage applications etc;

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