Home sales in Italy seen down 18% in 2020 – Nomisma

MILAN (Reuters) – Home sales in Italy could fall by around 18% this year after the two-month coronavirus lockdown, research institute Nomisma said on Tuesday.

The Bologna-based institute forecast total home sales to drop to 494,000 in 2020 from 604,000 last year, along with a fall in prices, and to remain at those levels next year.

No recovery was forecast in the second semester after the drop seen in the past three months, Nomisma Chief Executive Luca Dondi said during an online presentation of the report.

A survey conducted during the lockdown, lifted in May after two months, showed that around 2.5 million families were interested in buying a new house, in line with the past year despite the epidemic. But among those, only 625,000 families had the financial means to do so, the institute calculated.

“It looks like many people only partially understand their situation and the consequences of the crisis,” Dondi said. “Families are worried but it is as if those worries didn’t affected their way of planning.”

Many families are experiencing the impact of the health crisis, with around a third believing they will have a hard time paying their mortgage payments over the coming months. Around 41% of those renting worry they will struggle to make their monthly payments.

Reporting by Elisa Anzolin; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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