An increasing number of Americans have been flocking to Europe in recent years. Among the reasons are lower costs of living, affordable housing prices and a quieter and more relaxed lifestyle. According to a recent report drafted by Sotheby’s International Realty, a luxury real estate brand founded in 1976 which operates worldwide, France, Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal are the top countries where international buyers tend to purchase property. This article will discuss the differences between the American and the European housing markets and it will examine the factors that have led many Americans to relocate to Europe and to Italy in particular.

As reported by the global real estate group Knight Frank, one of the world’s leading real estate consultancy firms, searches for French properties by US-based buyers increased by 27% in the first five months of 2022 compared to 2021. Italy and France are the most attractive countries for US buyers; however, Greece too witnessed a 40% increase in real estate transactions between April and June 2022 compared to 2021.The number of American citizens in the Iberian peninsula and in Portugal in particular, has increased by 45% compared to 2021, and Spain, which has the largest American population in Europe, has also witnessed a 13% increase in the number of citizens who have relocated to the country. Finally, according to a study about the role of investors in the European housing market, the Dutch economy has grown substantially since 2013 due to foreign direct investment coming from the U.S. The U.S. firm Blackstone, for instance, owns approximately 117,000 houses in the Netherlands. Therefore, it is clear that there is a growing trend in U.S. investment in Europe and in the housing market in particular.

Jerry Howard, the CEO of the National Association of Home Builders, has claimed that the U.S. are heading toward a housing recession because they are experiencing a supply shortage, which is leading to an increase in construction costs and consequently in housing prices. On the other hand, property prices in Europe are much more affordable compared to the U.S.  In fact, while property prices in the hottest U.S. markets jumped by 30% between early 2021 and the first quarter, prices in Paris and London rose just 5%, and in Florence, they dropped by 1.6%.

Some people argue that the most significant factor driving U.S. citizens to Europe is the plummeting value of the euro. However, there are other important factors, such as a range of tax incentives, the potential to work remotely and the desire to enjoy a quieter and more relaxed lifestyle. In this sense, Italy’s pleasant climate, its new digital nomad visa which was introduced recently, its cuisine and history have been contributing to driving up demand from house hunters overseas.

In addition to relatively cheap housing, culture and lifestyle, Italy is known for its variety of landscapes: Tuscany’s rolling hills, Apulia’s breathtaking beaches and Sicily’s historic towns, for instance, attract thousands of tourists each year. Italy is also the second most popular destination for American students studying abroad. Italian universities offer a wide variety of courses which are available in English and they also offer a number of cultural and academic exchange programs in other EU member states. In fact, Italy’s position at the heart of Europe is also strategic and you can travel to almost any capital in Europe in just a few hours.

It is also worth pointing out that many U.S. citizens are choosing to relocate to Italy or to purchase a holiday home there due to their ancestral ties. As a matter of fact, in recent years, hundreds of Americans with Italian ancestry have decided to pursue Italian citizenship by descent and to relocate to Italy. In fact, if you are a non-EU citizen, you do not need a visa to enter Italy but you will only be allowed to stay in the country for 90 days. On the other hand, if you are an Italian citizen, no limitations or time restrictions apply. It is worth mentioning that purchasing a property in Italy does not entitle non-EU citizens to stay in Italy beyond the 90-day limit.

Even though relocating to a country with a different language and culture might seem scary, adapting to a new lifestyle in a new property in Italy will soon become a thrilling journey if you get qualified and trusted advice when scouting Italy’s real estate market. 

If you are thinking of relocating to Europe and to Italy in particular, and you would like to learn more about Italy’s regions and get a greater insight into the wide variety of choices that Italy’s real estate market has to offer, feel free to contact us at info@italianrealestatelawyers.com.

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