2022.. an interesting year to sum up. We got through Covid, could open our doors and throw the masks away. The property market was full on, in 18 years of this work we’ve seen busy years but this year it went to another level. More about that in a moment.
I just got featured in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) this month (Dec 2022) and that has sent things into overdrive. I’m now hunting for houses so let me know if you have anything for sale ;-)
We took part in some great transactions - nice people buying fantastic houses. Here’s the demographic, as I know you are interested in who is buying here:
The average sale was around €800,000. People bought in Langhe (basso Langhe - Barolo area), Alta Langa (high Langhe), Roero and in the Monferrato.
All the sales were straightforward. The negotiation average was about 10%.
What’s the prognosis for 2023?
I was interested to see that someone made a YouTube video stating that for sure the real estate market here in Piedmont would collapse. It’s an interesting assessment but he made the video 2 years ago, and well, we’re still here and the market is booming. I also had someone put a comment on one of my YouTube videos saying the same things - no reasons for the prediction, of course, and he probably lives in an apartment in Baltimore and hasn’t even stepped foot in Piedmont. Oh well, we all have a right to a voice, but this is nonsense.
So, is the area good for buying in? Oh yes, it’s an amazing place. Is it good for investment? All the facts, and let’s base our opinions on facts, say yes, it is great for investment. Langhe now has the most expensive real estate in the world - Barolo vineyards. I was told that the last vineyards sold for €4.6m/ha (that’s around $4.9m per 2.47 acres). The demand for houses around €1m has exploded. The trouble is, you’re going to have to widen your search a little as there’s not much available. I would buy what you can now. Make compromises, everybody does.
People are telling me I don’t have much on my website. Well, it’s true, the next two months will be spent finding houses for enthusiastic buyers. But look deep, I have some nice things, I’m not interested in listing pages and pages of junk. Let me illustrate the situation with a story. We visited friends from Albuquerque yesterday. They bought a house in a small Monferrato town called Montemagno. It’s a gorgeous place. I had trouble selling this house but I was talking to Elena on Zoom during the Covid period and she asked me if I had anything interesting for sale. I thought of this house immediately. To be frank, the people I had taken to see it were too blind to see what an amazing place this was. The project had been almost completed but the elderly owners, who had restored their ancestral home for their daughter found after spending nearly €1m that the daughter could not be less interested so they need to sell. Elena, and her husband Jay, couldn’t be happier with the place. (They were also featured in the WSJ). Why am I telling you this story? Look outside of your ‘box’. Make compromises and trust a good agent, someone like me, not these rough, dodgy-at-best agents that just want your money. There are some great things for sale, you just have to look and get good direction.
The other parts of 2022
So, that’s the property market, I want to tell you a little about my year here so you can leave the page if you’re not interested. I won’t be offended!
Death and taxes. Ben Franklin, I think. He was right. I grapple with the Italian tax system. Onlookers assume we make a fortune in real estate consultancy, and sometimes it is decent, but a huge percentage gets swallowed in taxes. I love my accountant, she’s calm, smart, and beautiful, but also the person I hate to hear from the most. If I pay taxes I have a job so I’m not going to complain too much especially as the other thing Mr Franklin mentioned is much worse - death.
We lost two good friends this year. The first was in the summer, with our wonderful friend Livio. He was killed in a motorcycle accident. He loved bikes, I did too, years ago but I got afraid. The way people drive.. I didn’t want to end up in a wheelchair and ruin my wife’s life too so sold my bike and now my helmets and gear are collecting dust. Livio was going to work and had a friend on the back when someone pulled across in front of them with no warning. They both died. What can I say?
Then this month our dearest friend Anna Ghione died of cancer. It took this terrible thing just 3 months to rob us all of her, she was just 55. She was a beautiful person and a great wine producer. She died on the 19th of December 2022.
PLEASE! Do something for her - she wrote a message on Facebook telling us that she had died. It was the most moving thing I had ever read. She begged us to keep her name and wines alive. In fact, they are creating a new DOCG category in her honour - Canelli Barbera DOCG. So, when you are in Piedmont, visit her husband Marco. He’s now left alone to run the vineyards and to continue making these amazing wines that bear Anna’s name. The wines are incredible.
We will miss her friendship, kindness and hospitality but Marco is also an amazing person and you have to visit him. Let me know if you need help setting up a visit. I promised Anna we will do all we can.
You can read an article here about Anna in La Stampa. Just click your 'Google Translate' button if you’re not so good in Italian.
Today we start converting a room in the house into a studio for the making of YouTube videos. My few videos have done well. I’ve had years of experience as a public speaker and there’s a great demand for insider knowledge of the area, so, I need your help. I have a list of subjects to cover but by all means, let me know what would interest you.
I’m going to cover a variety of subjects, interview local business owners and people that have bought houses here. What are you curious about? What questions do you have about the area?If you’re thinking about buying a home here or are planning to come just for a visit feel free to write to me with suggestions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s 2022 almost done, a few more days to go. January we plan to visit family in Malta then it’s full on with work and we know that 2023 will be a great year. I have a new and wonderful assistant, Angela, she will help me branch into the German field of buyers and sellers and assist me in many other aspects of the agency. What I did learn in 2022 is that it's far too much to cope alone.
We hope to see you in this incredible region very soon!