Confidence Returns to Italy with Residential Sales Up 7% in 2015 London, UK – Residential sales in Italy increased by 7% in 2015 according to a new report by Knight Frank – Inside View, Italy. The residential market also saw price growth re-enter positive territory in 2015* and demand is on the rise with buyer enquiries up by 57% year-on-year. Rupert Fawcett, head of sales, Italy, Knight Frank says, “There are positive signs that the market is strengthening. Accurate and sensible pricing by vendors remains critical, particularly given the volume of properties available. However, buyers with access to cheap finance and those foreign buyers, able to take advantage of the favourable exchange rate are deciding to act.” Across Knight Frank’s nine prime second-home markets in Italy, price performance in 2015 converged with annual growth ranging from 2.1% in Venice to -3% in Sardinia. Rupert Fawcett continues, “Although double-digit annual price falls are firmly in the past we do not expect luxury prices to increase rapidly. In 2016, we do however expect to see sales activity strengthen in five of our prime markets – Tuscany, Florence, Umbria, Liguria and Sardinia and to stay broadly stable in the remaining four – Rome, Milan, Venice and the Italian Lakes.” 171 nationalities searched for Italian properties on the Knight Frank website during 2015, with British, Italian, US and German buyers remaining the most active in the prime segment. Tuscany continues to generate most interest but Liguria and the Italian Lakes are increasingly on buyers’ radar. The average number of property viewings undertaken per buyer rose from 2.1 in 2014 to 2.5 in 2015, largely due to buyers taking advantage of the current stock levels. Over the last two years, currency has provided British and US buyers with a strong buying opportunity in Italy. The euro, having slipped from 0.83 to 0.73 against the pound and from 1.38 to 1.09 against the dollar between 1 st January 2014 and 1st January 2016 has meant that a number of people buying in these denominations have benefitted significantly. A British buyer purchasing a €1m property in January 2016 instead of January 2014, would have seen a 12% reduction in price (or £98,000 saving) whilst a US buyer would have saved $288,000 or seen a 21% reduction in price over the same period.