What’s happening in the Lake Como property market in 2018?
We’ve been here on Lake Como for more than a decade helping international clients find, buy and own their home on Lake Como. Delivering results, while relieving our clients of the time-consuming procedures which the Italian system creates.
A lot changes in a decade, although prices have not. We have seen pretty much level prices for 10 years, and consistently small discounts conceded by property owners (unless a seller had chosen to build in some margin – which you can be confident we will spot).
Some sellers will set an inflated price for their property and hope for an international fool to appear. We know what is a sensible price, and what is not, so our clients buy at attractive prices. This is one very obvious benefit of working with Ultissimo as we are appointed by you and not by the seller!
Here are five pointers for 2018 that may give you some insight into the Lake Como property market….
Ready to go – be quick
This one is recently renovated and ready to move into
Properties which you could arrive at tomorrow with your suitcase and move straight in remain in demand. Older properties have rarely been maintained to acceptable international standards. Newly constructed properties usually need at least three months’ work to put in bathrooms and flooring that the buyer selects. If you want a property which needs no work at all then once we find you that perfect opportunity you will need to act decisively to secure it.
Properties are shifting more quickly
Many of the unlovely properties that had been stuck on the market for as long as five years have been sold in the past year. Attractive properties coming to market are in many cases bought by an international buyer within a few months. And well-designed, newly constructed apartments tend not to stay on the market for long. Shortlists of suitable properties are becoming a little shorter.
We are now starting to see a return to buyers committing to an off-plan purchase, perhaps when the construction is still some months from completion, to be sure of securing a home that suits their particular requirements.
An emphasis on upgrading
Renovation – at the extreme. A 5-month project begins
There are moves to reduce the already-limited supply of greenfield sites which are zoned for new construction. The Como regional authorities are keen to see existing stock upgraded. Over the past five years we have found that an increasing number of our international clients will take on renovation projects that vary from internal upgrading to substantial structural works. As Ultissimo began purely as a property renovation business, numerous clients have been happy to place their renovation in our hands. We have the right connections. Very importantly we know what alterations can be approved and will usually be able to obtain indicative approval from the local mayor and technician very quickly.
Everyone loves a bargain
A bargain comes in different shapes and sizes. For some of our clients it has been our ability to find a unique property.
Others have enjoyed our knack of unearthing properties at below-market prices. This has not been achieved through low-ball offers, which are almost invariably rejected, create offence and may result in the door being firmly closed to the buyer at anything other than the full asking price. Instead it requires our client to have appetite for a little more adventure to achieve significantly greater gain. Properties under the lengthy bankruptcy proceedings, properties needing significant renovation and lakefront properties under the unusual demaniale concession (ask us about this before thinking about buying a lakefront property!) all have challenges which we can resolve and prices well below the norm. Many of our clients have asked us to work more creatively for them and they have reaped the reward by getting a much better property for their budget.
So what will happen to prices?
After prices have been level for so long we believe that they are now set to start increasing. The balance between supply and demand has passed a tipping point. The combination of a greater number of international buyers, fewer properties available and the progressive restriction of new construction will combine to exert upward pressure on prices.
We have been busy with clients here on the lake looking for a property every week for the past three months and decisions to buy are being made significantly more quickly than at any time in the past five years. Italy’s domestic woes are not relevant to international buyers looking for a home in one of the most treasured destinations globally. So far prices seem to be holding steady but we cannot see this continuing much longer.