What happened in 2021 and what will happen in 2022
By Richard Edwards
08 January 2022
I've not written a news item in a long time (April 2021!). I'm sure some want to know how the real estate market in Piedmont, Italy did in 2021. Interested? The fact I've not written anything in a long time is a strong clue.
The new year. Covid is still here and not budging. So boring. So destructive though someone did say to me last week, a scientist in the US, that '2021 was not a good year for ordinary people but for the elite, it was a fantastic year'.
I'm not an 'elite', not by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a year I can't complain about. Well, there are some things I can complain about - I am British, we can always find something to complain about. We'll come to that.
Let's start with an analysis of what went down.
The 2021 Piedmont property market It was a positive boom. I work with a lot of agencies, I have a good relationship with many, some agencies I wouldn't go near, but all the good guys were all busy. Flat out in fact. We're all here complaining today, here in the first week in January, that no one will leave us alone. We don't want you to leave us alone, we love your custom, but we're exhausted. I put on my Website 2 weeks ago that I would be closed for Jan & Feb but clearly, no one can see it. That tells you that I'm not only a bit of a complainer but also that the market is on fire.
I am convinced, sure even, that 2022 is another turning point for Piedmont. If you don't buy this year, you will regret it, especially if you don't have a fair sum of money to spend. Easy for me to say? Yes, sure, but it's correct. We're seeing levels of interest and sales we've never seen before. We got UNESCO status then Lonely Planet saying it was the No.1 place in the world to visit, it was bound to happen. It's amazing here, of course, it would happen.
2021 saw people buying without seeing the houses first and a few not even having stepped foot in Piedmont before! One client nearly bought not having been to Italy, ever. A last-minute and expensive plane ticket from the US got her here but she didn't change her mind about buying a lovely B&B. Well done, Jane!
Why do I say this year is a turning point? Good houses are getting hard to find, really hard to find. That's the first issue. The second is that the Italian-to-Italian market has been dismal for a few years. Now owner-sellers are catching on to the foreign market and once that becomes known prices will rise. The safety feature is that not everything that's selling is what your average 'foreign' buyer wants. Usually, there are clear lines but I am starting to see the lines being blurred. I'm getting requests for help finding things I don't normally get asked for - not only independent houses with amazing views. But I don't live in an independent house with an amazing view but I love it and it has so many other great things about it. Especially what I paid for it all those years ago. These types of houses might also rise or get harder to find.
You have to move quickly, I promise you. Do your research. Don't get tangled up in big troubles. Work only with an agent that's done their due diligence on a house to make sure it's to plan and not a legal mess, a nightmare waiting to be experienced. Buy in the right area. Don't invest big money in places no one can find. You need expert advice on these matters.
Now my little bit of complaining. Please, please do your homework first, come on holiday and explore the area. Don't use the agent as a tour guide, just for convenience and curiosity. It's getting everyone crazy and by saying this all the agents will buy me a lavish dinner with Barolo next time they have a chance. So there you go! Going around seeing houses with agents is for sure not the best way to understand the area. You'll get the hard sell, pressure and raise your chances of buying something bad. You're making a huge life investment. I see people taking more time choosing what they'll have for lunch than where their Italian home is going to be.
My new rules for 2022 At this time I'm rewriting my rule book. I have new criteria for what we take on as far as houses and clients are concerned and from what agents and how the houses will be presented. I promise you are going to love it. It will be a lot more work but will save you time and in the long run, should save us time too. Thanks to all the people that gave me great feedback this year to help with these decisions.
One of my decisions for this year is also to stop wasting my time with nice enough people that have no idea of the opportunities staring in their faces. I offer work to people in mundane, dull jobs but they're just too scared to take the leap to do something on their own. I'm sorry for them but I can't drag them into something better if they can't see it for themselves. It's the 'when's the last time you saw a red car?' challenge. If you weren't looking then you won't have seen one. Same with some nice work opportunities here. I can thank growing up in the Margaret Thatcher years I guess. At the moment I'm not too well. I asked a young, local person to accompany a client to a house. She almost immediately said no without asking what was involved. It would have been easy, taken not more than 2 hours and bought her a new iPhone, but what can you do? So, if you have a single gram of good sense there's a lot you can do here. Not everyone is seeing the opportunities the boom in the area is creating.
You're going to see changes to my Website and my YouTube channel presentations too. I just alluded to it but I want to mention it again. I'm really excited about these things as I love photography, videography, storytelling, I have many years of public speaking experience so want to use all these skills to make it much more interesting and useful for you. I'll update you as I move along and get myself well. It might be Omicron, very mild, I'm fully vaccinated, but will know on Monday.
In conclusion I just took a phone call, a friend that's a real estate agent here, we talked about Como. We have a client that was considering buying on the lake but it's got crazy expensive. This is mostly due to the 'George Clooney effect'. Since the Hollywood celeb bought overlooking the lake, prices have gone insane. No one particularly famous has bought here yet. They will. It's just a matter of time. We have former supermodel Carman Kass, BMW car designer Chris Bangle and me... ok, ok, I'm not convinced either. Once Tom, or Russel or Keanu buys here that will be it. Charlize Theron was looking a few years ago. I didn't know until after she left. My neighbour's house was for sale... Honestly, I'm hoping for Catherine Zeta-Jones.