Is buying a house after coronavirus worthwhile?


In the common mentality, the purchase of a house is often the symbolic event that, more than any other, projects into adulthood. And who, if he cannot afford it, remains, to a certain extent, an eternal teenager even if he pays his good rent and no longer shares the room since his university days.

Throughout the western world – but in Italy in particular – the last generations of 20-30 year olds have seen this “milestone” go away more and more, becoming an unattainable Morgana fairy. And even those who conquer the longed-for mirage, hardly do it without a big help from the boomer generation, that is the real and only social shock absorber of today’s 30-year-olds.

The reasons are the same: precarious jobs, low wages and all the annexes of a question already widely discussed, even if it is far from being resolved. These months of pandemic, however, shaking the world economy, seem to have shuffled the cards. The impact has been – and continues to be – enormous, and will affect all sectors, from the economy to society. It is therefore spontaneous to think that perhaps, with less financial availability and some more fears, the real estate demand could drop and with it also the prices. That this health catastrophe is the (perhaps only) long-awaited possibility for millennials to buy a house like their parents and grandparents years ago even before?

Better to curb the enthusiasm, because things are not exactly like that. If the good news is that the real estate sector, at least for now, is holding the blow, the bad news, for the penniless young people, is that the price drop expected by many perhaps will not occur or will in any case be milder than expected. In practice, the prices will be lower than what we would have had if there hadn’t been a pandemic, but the big occasions and the flea market figures are better left out. In practice, this is what you need to know.

House prices after the coronavirus

“It is still early to make assessments,” explains Giuliano Olivati, vice president of FIAIP (Italian Federation of Professional Real Estate Agents). “The fate of real estate follows those of the economy and above all of employment, and we still do not know exactly what the impact on jobs will be and if the measures for their conservation will be successful.”

It must be considered that even before the health crisis, prices were falling slightly throughout Italy, with the exception of Milan, Bologna and Naples. “In 2019,” explained Olivati, “there has been an increase in national average sales of 4 percent, and a national average decrease in prices of 2.7. For this year we expected an increase in sales around 5-10 and also a slight increase in prices. Obviously, the Covid-19 emergency has messed up everything, but the feared collapse for now has not happened. It could be a straw fire, but nothing at the moment excludes that it is instead a stable trend. “

Thinking about a collapse in the real estate market was natural for many. Who is in a spirit condition to buy a house, that is, to perform an operation that has always been the clearest affirmation of trust in the future, during a global health crisis? But the human psyche is often more convoluted and in fact, as Olivati ​​tells us, if some people who were looking for a house before the pandemic gave up because they wait to have more certainty about their job position, these defections have been balanced by a share of new demand.

Speaking of certainties that are no longer true: watch our video on the retired day.

Why buy a house after coronavirus?

“There are people who a couple of months ago absolutely did not think of moving house, but standing inside two months they realized they had more needs, like a bigger house, an extra room to work or for a loved one to look after , or even just a nice terrace. ” And not only are they looking, but they are also in a hurry: “they are afraid of a new lockdown or in any case contemplate the possibility of spending more time than usual at home and want to settle down more comfortably,” explains Olivati.

“Just to give an example, in Milan a property proposed for 780 thousand euros was sold after the lockdown in just one week. And the same happened in other cities such as Rome and even Bergamo, my city, despite being among the most affected by the epidemic. “

The quarantine, in short, has grafted many Italians the desire to make a more comfortable nest. The home as a safe haven, as a refuge and a guarantee of stability has therefore regained ground even among the youngest. However, it will be necessary to see whether the economic situation will allow these needs to be met.

Meanwhile, visits to houses and apartments have resumed: no more than three people present, masks, gloves and the possibility of making online tours for those who do not venture in person, even if no one, especially in Italy, feels like buying without having physically set foot in the home.

Also with regard to the possibility of an increase in property taxes, Olivati ​​feels confident: “If the goal will be to make cash quickly to recover some revenue, taxing properties is not a good strategy, because you can increase taxes as long as you want. , but if people have nothing to pay for them, you find yourself with great discontent and the boxes are still empty. “

The facilities for those who buy a house

Even without the sword of Damocles of a possible impending taxation, however, throwing yourself into the real estate market just to take advantage of a potentially profitable situation is premature. Who should buy a house now? Basically to the same type of people to which it was convenient before: subjects with a stable and secure income that allows you to take on a mortgage, clear career prospects and a sentimental situation, if you are a couple, as solid as possible. Many hypotheses are reasonable, such as the scenario in which, with an increase in smart working, the prices of housing in reality such as Milan will undergo a decompression. The truth, however, is that the situation in the coming months is so uncertain that making predictions remains a gamble.

For those who feel, have the right requirements or the urgent need to buy, an advice that Olivati ​​feels to give is this: to focus on the used and take advantage of the super eco-bonus at 110 percent. With the possibility of redeveloping a property of up to 96,000 euros by spending zero, in fact, the old properties become really interesting and competitive, because the package also includes the growth in value of the property and savings in the bill.

In practice, those who are lucky enough to have a fixed income available not threatened by the pandemic and want to buy a house, will probably be able to boast some small discounts on the price. In the meantime, several portals specializing in real estate suggest homeowners to rent (residential), rather than for sale — and in cities where rents already bordered on the prohibitive before the coronavirus, it remains to be understood what will happen.

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