An agent is in a race against time as they seek to find the right home for their family in the country’s notoriously unforgiving housing market.
According to a recent study by the Association of Italian Real Estate Agents (AIA), the number of new apartments opened in Italy has reached a five-year low, with fewer than 1,500 new homes completed per month.
Despite this, the country still has one of the world’s highest rental vacancy rates at 16.4 per cent, according to the Association.
The real estate industry has also suffered from a slowdown in construction, with construction projects on the rise in recent years, which has caused a shortage of apartments, particularly in the capital, Rome.
“There’s a lot of construction in the city, especially in the northern suburbs, and people are not prepared to rent their apartments because they’re not used to it,” said Andrea Lippi, chief executive of AIA.
“This is especially the case in the most expensive areas like the capital and Naples.
The problem is that there is a lack of housing stock in these areas and there are not enough agents who know how to get in touch with prospective buyers,” she added.
The shortage of agents means it is more difficult to find suitable apartments, especially for families, and the market for them is not only limited to the capital.
“Many agents don’t have the knowledge to help prospective buyers find apartments, they can’t even sell apartments in their own home,” Lippi added.
Lippi and others in the industry say the real estate sector needs to step up to the plate to help fill the gaps.
“We are not looking for people who have already made the jump to renting.
We’re looking for agents who have the skills to help people who are not ready to rent,” said Antonio Giacomini, CEO of the realty firm, Giacomo, which is based in Milan.”
They need to help more people find apartments and give agents the tools they need to do so,” he said.
While the Italian housing market has experienced a slow down, the industry is still expected to grow in the coming years.
Accordingly, in a bid to ensure that the market is well-served, Giocomini has set up a series of workshops to help agents understand the rental market better.
“There are a lot more agents than agents who can help people in the market,” he added.
A lot of agents have been offering to help, but many of them are not qualified to do this.
“I want to know who the agent is, who is willing to help us, who can give us advice on finding apartments,” said Lippi.
The AIA is now seeking to create a network of more agents, who will help the association develop more professional skills.
The organisation has launched an app to facilitate the exchange of information between agents and potential buyers.
“As a real estate agent, I am able to connect people with potential buyers in Italy, who are in a better position to understand the market and offer the right advice,” said Giacomazzi.