Expensive rents and scarce houses: these are the reasons for the Italian anomaly

Il expensive rent remains a very topical issue, not only for off-site university students, but also for Italian families, those with low-medium incomes and without the financial resources to buy an apartment and take out a mortgage. Rents continue to soar in big cities, for a variety of reasons, which have nothing to do with a lack of real estate. Yet, it is estimated that in Italy there are 9.5 million vacant properties. Why does this happen? And what is driving up rents in big cities?

How much have property prices risen?

In the past five years i rental and selling prices of the apartments are increased a lot. According to an estimate by, the average price of real estate in Italy rose in April 2023 to 12.5 euros per square metre, an all-time high, recording an increase of 3.1% in a month and 8% in the quarter, while the difference compared to a year ago is above 10%.

Substantial increases have been recorded in main regions and cities. The highest price per square meter in Lombardy (16.6 euros) and Valle d’Aosta (18.2 euros). The largest increases in percentage terms were recorded in Emilia Romagna (+29,8%) e Calabria (+27,3%).

Among the main ones Italian cities, Roma marks a price of 14.2 euros per square meter with a growth of 6.8% in one year, while Milano records a price of 22 euros per square meter with an annual growth of 10%. TO Venezia rents are paid 16.9 reuros per square metre, with a trend increase of 9.9%, while Firenze it marks a value of 18.3 euros per square metre, with an increase of 17.9%. It’s not much better for Napoliwhere you pay 12.5 euros per square meter and there is a 12.4% increase in the price.

The increasingly scarce supply of houses

The supply of houses for rent is increasingly rarefied. In the first quarter of 2023 the supply of houses leased yes reduced by 28.7% compared to 2022.

Anyone who has an apartment to rent is faced with a choice: to rent a house to a family or enter it in the rich circuit of short-term rentals, which yield more than double a fixed annual fee. It goes without saying that, more and more, the choice is falling on this second option, more profitable and less demanding from the point of view of the immobilization of the apartment, also thanks to the platforms that facilitate renting for tourists such as Airbnb and Booking. But something is changing also for those who rent to tourists.

Il yield of a rented apartmentaccording to an analysis by Corriere, is included between 5% and 7% of the value of the property, a return that in “normal” times would also be attractive, but not in a period of high inflation like the current one and with a taxation that between coupon dry (here to see how it works) and IMU takes away most of the income (the IMU alone erodes about 15-20% of the annual rent while the dry coupon has the handicap of not being adjusted to inflation).

Mortgages that increase

It’s not just competition from short-term rentals that limits the availability of rental homes for families and drives up rents. The other reason lies in the rising cost of mortgages who, as we know, are serving the progressive increase in interest rates by the ECB and are becoming more expensive every month, not to mention the need to have sufficient resources to the advancethe capacity of the salary and the job stability. In short, an impossible deal for those who cannot afford it or even have self-employment or precarious work.

The middle option

The third option between the choice of short-term rental and permanent rental is the fixed-term leasean option that certainly guarantees lower costs in the form of taxes and a continuous adjustment to inflation, but presents the undoubted downside to leave the homeowners exposed to the default risk of tenants and lengthy and costly eviction procedures.

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