Research article

Second home ownership in Rome

Rome’s popularity as a tourist destination, along with the rise of short-let rentals, provides opportunity for home owners

Rome is a popular tourist destination for both Italian and international travellers and is Italy’s most visited tourist destination, with 27 million overnight stays in 2017. This is greater than Lisbon and Madrid with 17 million and 24 million overnight stays respectively for the same year. This high level of tourism creates high demand for rental properties, particularly apartments in the city centre.

A joint Savills and HomeAway survey found that Rome was the most popular destination to own a second home in Italy. One advantage of owning a property in the capital is the broad rental demand base. Rome attracts cultural and sun-seeking tourists almost year round and consequently there is less variation between high and low season rents. Peak season rents are on average 48% higher than off season, compared to 68% for the whole of Italy.

Investors in Rome are increasingly taking advantage of this rental demand. Just 39% of owners intended to rent out their property when they initially made their purchase but now 86% rent them out. The rapid expansion of short-let rental services is partly responsible as they provide more opportunities to rent out a property and can help boost profits.

When purchasing a second home, Roman owners consider balconies and terraces, and proximity to historical and cultural attractions as the two most important characteristics for a property, with 83% of respondents citing these as important. This highlights the benefits of Rome’s climate with warm weather from March until October and the city’s appeal as a sight-seeing destination, emphasising that a property located close to the city’s attractions will be in high demand.

Rome’s central location is also important, as it allows visitors and residents alike to travel across Italy with ease. The train to Florence takes just 1 hour and 15 minutes, Milan is less than three hours, and you can reach Venice in under four hours. Naples is just two and a half hours away by car, while you can be in Tuscany in two hours.

Note: In February and March 2018, Savills World Research surveyed 4,300 property owners who let their properties on HomeAway in seven markets: US, UK, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands and Portugal. A second survey was carried out of 7,700 renters planning their next trip on HomeAway, from the same seven countries.

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