Edited by Alessandra Conforti
The Val d’Orcia in Tuscany is one of the most beautiful and fascinating areas in Italy and, for this reason, the destination for many tourists from around the world who often fall in love with it so much they decide to stay. We asked Fabrizio Bocci, Italian Property Consultant at the Montepulciano Office, to tell us how the market works in this area of Italy.
What do the clients who come to your agency look for in particular?
We must point out that we treat both international and domestic clients the same because in a small way we have always aimed at “word of mouth” and professional integrity. In general they prefer apartments in the historic centre, and farmhouses, however in our area, especially around the Montepulciano and the Val d’Orcia, even at such a difficult time economically; there is still a very strong appeal, especially from international clients. We have calculated that tourist accommodation has seen an increase in numbers and viewings. To give you an idea is an example of a tourist accommodation property very close to us. Last year during the same period, it had 720 rooms already booked; today we talk about bookings for 830 rooms. We are fortunate to live in an area “loved” by a very large international clientele, who at the same time are very demanding and informed. Hence the need for Great Estate to provide the most professional and latest technological service. Stefano Petri, CEO of Great Estate, with his determination and forward thinking has ensured these requirements have been fully met.
What type of clients are they?
As I said, we also have Italian clients interested in the Montepulciano and the Val d’Orcia area, with regard to international clients, they are quite homogeneous. In 2013 we had interest from Belgians, Dutch, Swiss, and some Russians and finally, Americans are tentatively returning. What is interesting is the attention from the Argentinean and Brazilian markets while it is surprising that the interest from Asian countries had not yet materialised. We are delighted to share the journey with Great Estate to significantly enhance the international aspect due to their organisational structure and advertising.
What is the average budget of the clients who come to your agency?
In the historic centre the average required is somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 euros up to a maximum of € 600,000. This is for perfectly restored properties with characteristic features and unique panoramic views. As for the farmhouses, a target of € 450,000 up to € 1,200,000.00, a higher budget for residential use becomes much more difficult. We then have the farm sector, large agricultural businesses, thanks to the increase in international investors who remain attentive to price / income.
What type of properties attract the most attention?
Mainly properties located in the historic centre, but also small wineries in the area.
Do the clients immediately find what they are looking for or are they then given alternatives? And if so, why?
Clearly, in a historical economic period like this, I think the real estate market has seen substantial reversals. Today we have many properties on the market and very few requests, so it is essential to work on the price and with the seller in order to have the property actually sold, rather on properties that do not accurately reflect the current market and indeed the prices. In other words, fewer buyers but more quality and precision selling. We must be the “consultant” for the potential buyer now lost in the sea of numerous properties for sale, which is why the sole agent contract, offered by Great Estate, is a very a good idea. The conclusions of the negotiations are long because of the myriad of properties on the market, and clients sometimes get confused and find it difficult falling in love with a property at first sight. So our role is also to understand what clients are looking for and guide them to their dream home.
What was the real estate market trend in your area in 2013?
I believe that everyone in this sector will always achieve their goals, if dedication, perseverance and determination are applied, regardless of the economic crisis at the moment. The demand for apartments in the historic centre and restored farmhouses has declined sharply while the residential market demand has ceased.
Predictions for 2014?
2014 seems to have begun in a more positive way. These satisfactory results can only be achieved with transparency, professionalism and expertise that are paramount in the work of Great Estate.