Italian Property investment

Total Italian real estate investment last year, including housing, rose 5% to €104bn, or roughly 18% of the total for the largest five European Union nations. Predicted sales for 2008are around €130bn, out of some €730bn forecast for the largest EU country group. Organisers of the Expo Italia Real Estate trade fair said that it is against this background that the fourth edition of EIRE opens its doors tomorrow in Milan as the international realestate trade fair dedicated to the Italian market, and to the wider real estate market in theMediterranean area.

Of total Italian investment volume this year, 82% will be in housing, 6% in office and 6% in retail properties, EIRE organisers noted. Sales in tourism real estate last year reached €2.8bn, with average prices up 4.7% from 2006. Office sector transactions for the year involved around 400,000 sq.m. in the most active market of Milan, the EIRE location, and about 240,000 in Rome.

They said longer-term data on commercial real estate turnover are also interesting: in the period 1998-2007, the total value that changed hands in the public and private sectors combined was around €30bn; 15 transactions via foreign investors and 10 through Italian funds. Foreign investors targeted 40% in office, 45% in retail, 10% in hotels and 5% in logistics. The sector currently employs around 400,000 people, against fewer than 90,000 in 1991.

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Italian Shopping Centres

Shopping centre growth in Lombardy will slow to 15% over the period 2007 to 2010, while malls quickly expand in the rest of Italy, says a study by Larry Smith Italia, a retail consulting firm.
It predicts malls grow by 67% in the northeast’s Friuli Venezia Giulia, and by 47% in the northwest’s Liguria. Down south, in the island of Sicily, big retail is expanding by 167%. Average retail growth for the nation is expected to reach 25%. With 167 shopping centres, Lombardy is Italy’s most developed retail market. Italy’s economic heart and home to Milan can expect to see a shift toward larger shopping centres, but also a trend away from locations in the periphery.
Larry Smith predicts malls will increasingly occupy urban renewal sites in the city. Small shopping centres (5,000 – 19,999 m sq.), which currently make up 118 of the total, will not proliferate. They will give ground to large shopping centres (40,0000 to 79,999 sq m), which are expected to expand by 31%. pfe.

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