Week 9 starts today. Most of us were sceptical but it happened and here we are weeks later, not going out and doing all we can to stay busy. The Italian economy was said to be not so great before this Covid-19 crisis and how it will be afterwards, we will see.
The big question is: How will the Lockdown affect the property market in Italy?
I was watching a video on Youtube by some strange guy in the USA talking about car prices in the US. Even though he looked a Trump supporter, probably had a gun gaffer-taped under his desk and was surely a weekend member of the KKK he made a good point - car dealers that are not desperate are not dropping their prices, even though car sales have fallen 90%. So are Italians desperate to sell their homes?
The short answer is probably, no. Somewhere around 80% of home-owners in the UK and US have a mortgage. In Italy, only 20% have a mortgage. Most people own their homes. Italians have small families so a lot gets passed down through generations. I met a guy once that had inherited 9 houses from uncles, aunts, cousins. He was 90. There are exceptions of course - people in cities, in expensive areas, etc. But here in rural Piedmont, it's safe to say most own their homes so we won't see prices drop much if at all. But read on!
Local people are scared, really scared about the future. This means that houses that are for sale will be easier to negotiate. I love the negotiation process, I love the pleasure of getting a good deal and I know I will be in my element when this is over. I'm your man!
Now, this fact is the bit that brings it into balance for vendors and buyers: the demand for houses is strong. We're getting lots of enquiries. It could be that people are locked in at home and dreaming but most of the enquires seem spot on, we even got one offer - the client will come to see the house for the first time next week. The offer was decent and the seller knows he has a good property so got a good price. Just dreamers? I really doubt it.
I have good reasons to think people are serious about buying here: 1. there might be some bargains to be had, 2. they've been stuck in a flashy city apartment for 7 or 8 weeks, going crazy and seeing their investments sink to all-time lows and realising it would have made more sense to take a chance on a beautiful home in Italy and live there in all this trouble.
So how has it been under lockdown?
I shouldn't say this really with so much death and suffering, my heart goes out to all those that have lost so much, but I have loved it. It's given me focus, peace, calm. No travelling, we've been cooking, baking, reading, watching, gardening, cleaning, learning and fixing.
Food shopping has been fine. For cities it's a problem, so many people, but here queues are short, people are calm and there's plenty of food and toilet rolls! We've lacked nothing. The messages of concern have been overwhelming, even offers of money from clients! So nice.. But we're fine, we can keep going a bit more without stressing and if that does come we'll worry about it then.
We couldn't be more pleased we're in Italy for this. Maybe some lacked some good sense at the start which is why in some areas it's been bad - Lombardia had it four times worse than Piedmont. Here it's fine.
We're back working, never stopped really. We have a new Website which for me was a lot of work. Some of it extremely boring but it's done and we're working hard to keep improving. If I thought the property market was going to die after this I'd do something else, but we're confident it will be stronger, not weaker. It's Italy, it's Piedmont, it's great.
"houses that are for sale will be easier to negotiate”