Small signals of improvement for the Italian house market. Especially regarding prices and sales. They were picked up by the economic situation poll relative to the III quarter of 2013 conducted by Banca d’Italia, Tecnoborsa and Revenue Services. In the July – September period, the inquiry begins, “the signals of weakness from the real estate market have persisted, but they have attenuated: with the lesser diffusion of decisions to lower prices, there was an associated increase of the number of new requests to sell.”

The 1,400 interviews conducted with real estate agencies distributed across the national territory indicate, firstly, a slow recovery of prices: indeed, the percentage of real estate agents that encountered a price reduction compared to the previous period decreased from 76% to 68%, while the percentage of those who are noticing a stabilization increased from 23% to 31%. Based on the analysis, the halt of the price drop is felt mostly in the North and Central Italy, and in metropolitan areas – that is to say, the five cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants (Genoa, Milan, Rome, Naples, and Palermo). It should also be noticed that the biggest improvement compared to the second quarter is felt in the two cities that are considered as part of Central Italy – Florence and Rome: the percentage of those who are witnessing a drop in prices decreased from 80% to 60%, and 2% are seeing price increases.

As for sales, if it is true that the percentage of agents who sold at least one home in the July – September period dropped to 59% compared to the previous three months, the figure is nonetheless bigger than the 2012 summer, and the data on the sale orders are improving slightly: in substance, the stock of sale requests that could not find buyers decreased, while there is a small recovery on new sale requests. The price difference between offer and demand remains the primary motive for the failure to conclude transactions, while the difficulty for potential buyers in securing mortgages is progressively decreasing. In relation to this last trend, according to the information from real estate agents, the percentage of purchases financed through mortgages, just like there was an increase in the ratio between the mortgage amount and the property’s value.

Overall, the future outlook reflects a greater optimism. The real estate agents that were asked about short-term perspectives, meaning the last three years of the year, for the real estate market have increasingly positive outlooks regarding new sale requests and, simultaneously, there is a growing number of those who see the prices as stabilizing. Once again, the cities of the North West and the Center show stronger signals of this recovery. “The expectations on the short-term trends for the national market, although still more broadly aimed towards pessimism, have indicated a strong recovery,” the analysis concludes.