Property Grand Prix – Belgium and Italy

Property Grand Prix – Belgium and Italy

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Sebastian_Vettel_F1_Monza_s.jpgIt’s been a while since we posted a Property Grand Prix post here. We lost track of time and in the meantime so much has happened, including the amazing win of Germany’s Vettel as the youngest driver ever to grace the podium.

To recap what we missed out on let’s start with the Belgium Grand Prix. As the seasons thirteenth race, the race started out on a drying track before late rain caused chaos. Brit Hamilton finished first after a he overtook Kimi Raikkonen only two laps from the finish line. To make matters worse for the Fin, he crashed his car shortly after. Ironically, Hamilton received a drive-through penalty for cutting a chicane (which was changed to a 25 second penalty because it occurred in the last five laps of the race).

This penalty was enough to hand over the victory to rival Felipe Massa. Apparently Hamilton’s team will appeal against the penalty.

All this tension and action saw the podium as follows:

  1. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
  2. Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)
  3. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes)

Belgium’s property market

With a cooling effect in many European markets, the Belgian property market seems to see similar slowdowns in its housing market. While the average dwelling rose by 5.7% in 2007, it was considerably less than the year before with a healthy 13.2%.

Apartments and villas saw similar setbacks in market value. This has been attributed to a couple of influences in the market. For starters, the weakening economy and also the many new adjustable mortgage rates that have been introduced to the Belgium market over the last few years.

While prices of property have been rising, yields from rent have fallen noticeably since 2005.

In fact, Brussel’s yields have been reported down by 5.3% in May this year. This has mainly been attributed to increases in property prices and falls in rent.

While Belgium’s square meter prices fall way below the European average, market analysts are cautious with their analytics of the Belgian market.

To get a up to date inside you can purchase the newly published 2008 Belgium Industry & Market Outlook from Research and Markets.

Italian Grand Prix

The Italian Grand Prix last Sunday carried all the motions of a race nobody will soon forget, least of all Sebastian Vettel. The race started out in shocking conditions with Vettel’s team mate Sebastien Bourdais unfortunate enough to stall his Torro Rosso at the start.

The rain proved quite a challenge for Brit Jenson Button who was left with cold tires and brakes after starting in the pit lane because he had to trail the safety car for two laps. Frustration was also taking hold in the Ferrari camp with Raikkonen fighting desperately to take control of his car in the wet conditions.

All the while German rookie Sebastian Vettel had the race of his life. The 21 year old protege of Torro Rosso had a master race and controlled the field in the early stages. This lead him to the winning podium which makes him the youngest driver ever to win a Grand Prix race.

  1. Sebastian Vettel (STR-Ferrari)
  2. Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren-Mercedes)
  3. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber)

Italian property market

Back in April this year the Italian government introduced a new tax law that was helping the then flagging property market. The introduction prompted a reduction of prices up to 13%, making it more affordable again for the masses.

While the market has performed quite steady over the last few years, it became too expensive until the tax law was introduced.

le_marche_italy.jpgWhile the Italian property market is not overly exciting right now it is also not expected to crash like other markets in Europe. According to economists of Reuter’s, the Italian market is to stay stable while somewhat subdued for the near future.

In some Italian regions it is still possible to buy a farmhouse for under £100,000. More realistically speaking though prices are usually way above this figure.

Roger Coombes, manager of Property firm Cluttons in Italy said: “Italian home ownership stands at 80% which is similar to the UK but mortgage debt represents less than 20% of GDP against 80% in the UK. This suggests scope for the development of mortgage products, something that overseas investors should find of interest.”

With the recent strengthening of the euro against the UK pound interest from British investors has waned a little. However, international property buyers are still interested in the market and it is predicted that one out of five buyers in 2008 will be from an overseas investor.

Areas that are specifically appealing to investors looking to buy property in Italy are:

  • Le Marche
  • The Amalfi Cost
  • Tuscany
  • Umbria

Photo credits: lucam & bluemoondancer [Via Flickr]