What does Merkel’s hollow victory mean for the EU?

What does Merkel’s hollow victory mean for the EU?

France Germany Italy Uncategorized
  • Angela Merkel’s fourth term win was not the victory the market was hoping for
  • 13% of voters backed the anti-Euro AFD (Alternative for Germany)
  • Euro trading at 30-day low as a result

Following the twists and turns of 2016, this year started with much apprehension that the populous vote, which saw the surprise Brexit result and Trump’s ascension to the White House, would continue and spread throughout Europe.

First there was the Dutch election, with the controversial anti-EU candidate Geert Wilders at one point fancied to be the winner. As election day got nearer, his popularity amongst the voters vanished and he eventually lost. Big sigh of relief.

Then there was the French general election. Enter Marine Le Pen, another anti-EU politician with very strong right wing beliefs, who promised to call France’s very own referendum on EU membership if she won. She didn’t. Instead, Emmanuel Macron become President and the fear that the plague of populism would spread diminished. The Euro vs the USD skyrocketed on confidence that the EU will live on.

Combined with Mario Draghi’s more hawkish tone in his ECB press conferences, where he dropped hints that the end of the central bank’s net asset purchases may happen sooner rather than later, EUR/USD soared to the highest levels since January 2015.

Of course there was the German election on the horizon but good old Angela would have no problem with that. Right?

angela-2689111_1920

On Monday 25 September the market woke up to an Angela Merkel victory, but not the victory she and the market was hoping for.  Mrs Merkel had won a fourth term, however it was her party’s worst result in almost 70 years and she now needs to form a coalition. Not only that but more worrying rival party the AFD (Alternative for Germany), which is very anti-immigration and Islam and indeed the Euro, won 13% of the vote. It’s the first far right party to win a seat in Parliament in more than 40 years.

“Mrs Merkel now has to form a coalition, which won’t be an easy task. Germany could face months of negotiations as one is formed. Whoever is chosen to partner with Merkel will provide the political direction not only for Germany but also the EU and immigration.

“At the same time, Angela Merkel’s weaker positon will also make new efforts to work with French President Emmanuel Macron on Euro-area integration very difficult.”

James Trescothick, Senior Global Strategist, easyMarkets

 

As news spread of a disappointing victory, the EUR/USD opened with a gap lower, dropping from Fridays closing price of 1.19473 to 1.19143.  It continued to decline in both the European and North America sessions and as of the time of writing is trading at a 30 day low of 1.18145.  The EUR/GBP came under further pressure and as time of writing is currently trading around 0.87618.

After concerns of the Dutch and French elections vanished there was hope that political stability in the bloc was pretty secure and the surprises that were experienced and shocked the market in 2016 had gone, but Sunday’s election outcome has once again filled the air with uncertainty.

“This sudden turn in AFD winning as much as 13% of vote (bearing in mind the party itself only came into existence five years ago) shows that there is a swathe of voters upset with Merkel’s stance on immigration. It underlines that one of the great dangers to the European Union is indeed politics and general elections. In the current climate they have become incredibly unpredictable and dangerous to its actual existence.  AFD’s success in the election goes to show that the fear of immigration is still being used as a key tool in the black art of politics to cause upset and surprise.”

James Trescothick, Senior Global Strategist, easyMarkets

 

Italy’s general election is due by the end of May 2018. There are concerns that Northern League and the Five Star Movement – both Eurosceptic parties – could fare quite well.  The Five Star movement is gaining momentum in the opinion polls and the Northern League recently won local elections in Genoa and L’Aquila.

Italy’s economy the third biggest in the Eurozone is shaky at best with 11% unemployment and national debt at 133% of GDP. There is also a fascinating debate in Italy about the country stepping away from the Euro and introducing a parallel currency alongside it.

“Though the end of May seems a long way away, you may certainly expect the market to start to focus on this general election. With what happened in Germany at the weekend, you may expect bouts of uncertainty about the outcome and how it will affect the European Union.

“The feel good factor that was felt across the bloc after Emmanuel Macron’s election victory seems to have diminished. Though the Euro is still currently enjoying a bull run, which started following Macron’s win in France, the fear and concern which the market felt at the beginning of the year could start to return as we see out 2017 and prepare for what 2018 will throw at us.”

James Trescothick, Senior Global Strategist, easyMarkets

For further details, visit www.easymarkets.com, email pr@easymarkets.com or call +44 203 1500 748.

 

About easyMarkets

easyMarkets® is an online pioneer market maker established in 2001. We’ve made trading markets as easy as possible with proprietary mobile, web and desktop platforms. Traders enjoy full markets access with a simple and powerful approach to CFD’s, forex and options trading.

easyMarkets® is part of an international network with offices in Europe, Asia and Australia.

 

Risk warning: Forward Rate Agreements, Options and CFDs (OTC Trading) are leveraged products that carry a substantial risk of loss up to your invested capital and may not be suitable for everyone. Please ensure that you understand fully the risks involved and do not invest money you cannot afford to lose. Our group of companies through its subsidiaries is licensed by the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (Easy Forex Trading Ltd- CySEC, License Number 079/07), which has been passported in the European Union through the MiFID Directive and in Australia by ASIC (Easy Markets Pty Ltd -AFS license No. 246566).

 

Top of the Props: Foreign buyers go back to Greece

Top of the Props: Foreign buyers go back to Greece

Greece Italy United States World
  • Greece now 4th most popular country
  • Interest in Greek property at six-month high
  • Italy climbs to third place and Spain holds on to second
  • Investors return to Canada after recent dip in popularity

Foreign property buyers are going back to Greece at the start of 2017, reveals TheMoveChannel.com’s Top of the Props index. The country was the fourth most popular country on the international property portal in January 2017, its first time in the Top 10 in six months.

Greece stormed the charts at the start of the new year, rising 18 places to overtake Portugal in the monthly report. Greek real estate received 2.1 per cent of all enquiries on the international portal during January. This is the country’s highest share of enquiries since August 2013, when it accounted for 3.26 per cent of all enquiries. Greece’s last time in the Top 10 was in July 2016, when it was ranked ninth, with 1.39 per cent of enquiries.

Italy also enjoyed rising overseas interest, climbing five places in the Top of the props chart to be the third most sought-after destination. Italian real estate accounted for 5.97 per cent of January’s enquiries, up from 1.59 per cent in December 2016 and its highest share since August 2012 (6.12 per cent).

Spain held on to second place, confirming the country’s continuing appeal to foreign investors. Portugal rose one place into fifth, increasing its share of enquiries from 1.92 per cent to 2.02 per cent. France slipped into ninth, but remained in the Top 10 for the 17th month in a row, just above Thailand and just below Germany.

After a dip in popularity, following the introduction of Vancouver’s foreign buyer tax last August, Canada saw investors return, with the country climbing into sixth place.

The USA remained the most popular destination on TheMoveChannel.com for the seventh consecutive month, accounting for one in every six enquiries (14.65 per cent).

“After a brief rekindling of interest last summer, the start of 2017 showed signs of overseas demand for Greek property flickering back to life,” comments TheMoveChannel.com Director Dan Johnson.

“Interest was not just contained to one area, but across several regions, with enquiries soaring for property in the North Aegean, Crete, the South Aegean and Attica.

“After a year of political uncertainty elsewhere, talk of national debt and a potential ‘Grexit’ is back in the headlines in 2017, but Greece’s lifestyle appeal has not gone away. In fact, it is more affordable than ever, after house prices have dropped for the last eight years in a row. In 2016, however, they fell 2.2 per cent, the smallest decrease recorded since 2009. With the rate of decline slowing, and owning a holiday home now an attractive alternative to renting, foreign interest in Greek real estate may be showing the first signs of a gradual rebound.”

“US property remains one of the most appealing in the world,” adds Mr. Johnson. “The country’s economy, regardless of its political situation, is stable, with the Federal Reserve still on course to raise interest rates again this year. The country’s economic conditions may be the opposite of Greece, but their popularity shares one key factor: the low price of Greek real estate maximises the potential yield available from rental income, while in the US, investors are racing to find the best possible returns, before property values climb too high.”

Click here to see the full top 40 property destinations for January 2017.

 

— ENDS –

Notes to Editors

About Lead Galaxy and TheMoveChannel.com

Founded in 1999, www.TheMoveChannel.com is the leading independent website for international property, with more than 1.4 million listings in over 100 countries around the world, marketed on behalf of agents, developers and private owners.

TheMoveChannel.com is one of more than a dozen international property sites operated under the Lead Galaxy brand. Lead Galaxy provides online marketing solutions to thousands of property companies worldwide, focusing on portal listings, email marketing, qualified leads, paid search and social media advertising.

The business is headquartered at 24 Jack’s Place, Corbet Place, Shoreditch, London, E1 6NN.

——————————-

Do you need comment or statistics for an international real estate article? Our experienced editorial team and management are happy to collate data, provide example properties, or offer insightful comment to support your publication.

Please contact Ivan Radford on ivan.radford@themovechannel.com or +44 (0)207 952 7221

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Feature property listings in your publication!

Our technical team has developed a great new solution for content publishers that allows the addition of high impact advertising units, which can be configured to show property listings, relevant to a type of property, country, region or a specific location.

There are 2 types of implementation:

  • Standard Ad Units: These show in 120,600, 160×600, 300×150, 300×250, 300×500, 300×750 and 728×90 formats, with a varying number of listings showing in each version.
  • Dynamic Portfolio: This is a completely configurable panel, where you can choose the number of columns and rows, plus the size of the listings and dedicate a section of a page, or even a whole page to a set of properties.

Please contact Ivan Radford on ivan.radford@themovechannel.com or +44 (0)207 952 7221

Hotspots Index: Spain’s international appeal stays strong

Hotspots Index: Spain’s international appeal stays strong

Italy Spain Thailand World
  • Spain enjoys rebound at the end of 2016
  • Rome and Florence occupy top spots for property interest
  • Toronto appears in top 50 for first time

Spain’s appeal to international property buyers shows no sign of waning, according to TheMoveChannel.com’s latest Hotspots Index.

The quarterly report, which analyses location searches on the property portal, reveals that Spain is enjoying a rebound in popularity at the end of 2016, led by Barcelona and Benidorm.

Italy’s Florence remained the most sought-after hotspot on the property portal in Q4 2016, accounting for 3.37 per cent of location searches, up from 2.86 per cent in Q3 2016. This is the second quarter in a row that Florence has been the top hotspot on TheMoveChannel.com, after overtaking Rome in Q2 2016.

Rome remained the second most popular market for house-hunters. While Italy dominated search activity in Q3 2016, though, making up seven out of the Top 10 hotspots, the country’s share in Q4 2016 fell to three out of 10, just ahead of Portugal’s two. Spain, on the other hand, saw a rebound in searches, accounting for four out of the Top 10 destinations. In Q3 2016, Spain accounted for none of the Top 10, highlighting the significant rise in interest quarter-on-quarter.

Spain’s renewed international appeal was fuelled by Barcelona (sixth place, 1.06 per cent of searches) and Benidorm (seventh place, 0.99 per cent). Torrevieja and Tenerife completed the Top 10 in ninth and 10th place respectively. Spain also dominated the overall Hotspots Index, accounting for 18 out of the Top 50 hotspots – up from 10 in Q3 and higher than any other country. Italy was the second most in-demand, accounting for 13 out of the Top 50. Portugal was third, with 10 out of the Top 50.

Thailand’s Pattaya held onto its 18th place ranking. Liverpool also remained the UK’s only entry in the Top 50, sliding from 34th to 36th in the chart. Canada saw its first entry in the Hotspots Index, with Toronto receiving the 32nd highest share of searches in Q4 2016.

“There has been talk in recent months of declining demand for Spanish property in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, thanks to the pound’s weakness,” comments TheMoveChannel.com Director Dan Johnson. “Spain, though, still shows signs of being as popular as ever among lifestyle buyers, with the Costa Blanca, Costa Brava and British expat favourite Benidorm all among the most searched-for destinations on TheMoveChannel.com in Q4 2016. For US or other non-EU buyers, Spain is also an attractive investment, for either buy-to-let or capital growth opportunities. It is perhaps no surprise that Barcelona, which combines both tourist and investor markets, is the most popular hotspot in Spain.

“One impact of Brexit that can be seen in search behaviour is Liverpool’s continuing appeal in the UK. As the weaker pound draws buyers to the country, the city’s economy is growing, with new developments and strong rental yields all reinforcing the city as a major regional hotspot. It is interesting also that Canada’s first entry in the Hotspots Index was Toronto, rather than Vancouver, following the city’s introduction of a foreign buyer tax in Q3 2016. Will 2017 see that trend continue? And will buyers continue to flock to Spain?”

Click here to see the full top 40 property destinations for November 2016.

 

— ENDS –

Notes to Editors

About Lead Galaxy and TheMoveChannel.com

Founded in 1999, www.TheMoveChannel.com is the leading independent website for international property, with more than 1.4 million listings in over 100 countries around the world, marketed on behalf of agents, developers and private owners.

TheMoveChannel.com is one of more than a dozen international property sites operated under the Lead Galaxy brand. Lead Galaxy provides online marketing solutions to thousands of property companies worldwide, focusing on portal listings, email marketing, qualified leads, paid search and social media advertising.

The business is headquartered at 24 Jack’s Place, Corbet Place, Shoreditch, London, E1 6NN.

——————————-

Do you need comment or statistics for an international real estate article? Our experienced editorial team and management are happy to collate data, provide example properties, or offer insightful comment to support your publication.

Please contact Ivan Radford on ivan.radford@themovechannel.com or +44 (0)207 952 7221

——————————-

Sign up to our Daily International Property Newsletter:

– Daily updates on property market news headlines

– Quirky stories from around the world of property

– Hot properties being launched internationally

– Useful guides, surveys, research and trends

– Gossip, lists and other property chit chat

Sign up here: http://www.themovechannel.com/my/subscriptions/

——————————-

Feature property listings in your publication!

Our technical team has developed a great new solution for content publishers that allows the addition of high impact advertising units, which can be configured to show property listings, relevant to a type of property, country, region or a specific location.

There are 2 types of implementation:

  • Standard Ad Units: These show in 120,600, 160×600, 300×150, 300×250, 300×500, 300×750 and 728×90 formats, with a varying number of listings showing in each version.
  • Dynamic Portfolio: This is a completely configurable panel, where you can choose the number of columns and rows, plus the size of the listings and dedicate a section of a page, or even a whole page to a set of properties.

Please contact Ivan Radford on ivan.radford@themovechannel.com or +44 (0)207 952 7221

What makes the perfect second home?  A three bed home, near the sea with a garden or terrace!

What makes the perfect second home? A three bed home, near the sea with a garden or terrace!

Italy
  • Ideal property is located a little way from the sea, with a garden or terrace and three bedrooms (Gate-Away.com)
  • A swimming pool is only important to 12.2% of second home buyers (Gate-Away.com)
  • Casa Tre Archi in Le Marche ticks the ideal holiday home boxes and offers fractional ownership (Appassionata)

New data released by Italian property portal Gate-Away.com has helped to shed light on just what it is that makes the perfect second home. Looking at properties being sought in the Le Marche region of Italy, the portal reveals that they have several characteristics in common, helping to identify the particular blend of features that make up the ideal holiday home.

According to the new figures, the most popular properties are those located a few kilometres from the sea, slightly out of the most famous tourist spots. They also have a garden or terrace from which to enjoy the climate and local scenery, with 62.9% of enquirers on Gate-Away.com looking for outdoor space. Interestingly, pool is far from essential, with just 12.2% of enquirers including this as a requirement.

The perfect second also has three bedrooms, ready for family and friends to share in the enjoyment of the property. 33.1% of enquirers were looking for a three bedroom home, compared to just 19.9% looking for two bedrooms and 17.8% looking for four.

Many of those who purchase property overseas for personal use also rate an idyllic location as key. For Deborah Yackel, who recently purchased her dream second home – a fraction of the three bedroom townhouse Casa Tre Archi in Italy’s Le Marche region – the beauty of the property’s location was a very important consideration when making her decision to buy. She explains,

“From the white-pebble beaches along the Adriatic, to ancient towns and hamlets dotting the countryside of rolling patchwork hills, up to the high-rise mountain ranges of Monti Sibillini, Le Marche is one of Italy’s little-known treasures. How we dreamed of one day owning a home in this beautiful region!”

Italy is certainly a popular choice for second home owners. Several celebrities have picked up properties there in recent years, with Liam Gallagher being the latest star rumoured to be on the lookout for an Italian holiday home.

And according to Gate-Away.com, it is the appeal of lesser-known Italian regions, such as Le Marche, that is spreading around the world. Walter Di Martino, Head of Communications, comments,

“In addition to British, Dutch, Americans, and Germans, who have always been interested in buying in Le Marche, we have been lately noticing a growing amount of requests for properties in this region from countries like China, India, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates, which are definitely rising markets with huge potential.”

Casa Tre Archi, the carefully restored, luxury holiday home in which Deborah Yackel has just purchased a one tenth share, certainly ticks all of the boxes when it comes to holiday home perfection: in close vicinity to the sea, three bedrooms and with a beautiful roof terrace.

The property is located in the charming hilltop town of Petritoli, just 15 km from the breath-taking Le Marche coast. Along with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, the townhouse boasts a generously sized roof terrace, perfect for sunbathing, eating al fresco and admiring the views of the stunning rolling hills of the surrounding countryside.

Casa Tre Archi is the third holiday home to be renovated by family-run company Appassionata, who share their Italian property dream with buyers from overseas. Fractional ownership seemed the logical way to do so as Appassionata’s Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs explains,

“We saw that most people only used their second home for a few weeks each year, so we turned to the fractional model in order to let second home buyers purchase a far more luxurious property than if they bought outright. Our owners get five weeks’ exclusive use of the property each year and never have to worry about loose roof tiles, leaking taps or even cleaning – we take care of all of that for them. Plus they can pass the property down to their children as an inheritance, just as they could with a fully owned property.”

Just three fractions of Casa Tre Archi remain available, priced from £75,000, so those who haven’t yet secured their perfect second home are encouraged to act fast!

For more information visit www.appassionata.com or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225. 

Is Americans’ enduring romantic notion of Italy fact or fantasy?

Is Americans’ enduring romantic notion of Italy fact or fantasy?

Italy
  • US visitors make up 17.8% of tourist accommodation bookings in Europe (Eurostat)
  • Property enquiries in Le Marche, Italy, up 45% (Gate-Away.com)
  • Le Marche offers the romance of traditional Italian life and values (Appassionata)

It’s a classic image – the sprawling, multi-generational Italian family all gathering around the dinner table outdoors in the sunshine to break bread together, with nothing but birdsong, olive trees and blue sky in the background. But is it the real deal in this day and age?

“Yes, absolutely!” laughs Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, owner of local fractional ownership business Appassionata. “Particularly in largely rural areas like Le Marche, where family life is still a core part of society’s values. Here, life is about good food and good company under the warmth of the sun.”

This is one reason that Italy is so enduringly popular with visitors from the US. According to Travelzoo, the country is the friendliest destination in Europe to visit. Meanwhile the Globus Time to Tour survey highlights how keen Americans are to find out if the real Italy is equal to their romantic notions, finding that 93% of people take holidays in order to experience the places they’ve only read about, including the culture and the food.

Indeed, the whole of Europe benefits from US visitors. According to Eurostat, visitors from the US make up 17.8% of tourist accommodation nights within the EU, the largest of any national group from outside Europe.

Nor is it just hotel accommodation that Americans are interested in today. According to Italian property portal Gate-Away.com, when it comes to the Le Marche region of Italy, buyers from the US account for 12.79% of requests for property, second only to those from the UK (20.83%). The figures are set against a backdrop of growing interest in Le Marche from all angles – January to September 2015 saw a 45% increase in the number of enquiries for property in the region from international home buyers, compared to the same period the year before.

“Le Marche is definitely becoming better known,” continues Appassionata’s Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs. “But it’s growing in popularity at a sustainable pace. Visitors are keen to share the secrets of this wonderful region, but are selective about doing so. It’s as though all those who arrive here are determined to keep it to themselves, avoiding the kind of mass tourism that has descended on parts of neighbouring Tuscany.”

Part of Le Marche’s charm is its blending of romantic landscapes with fresh, seasonal cuisine and the kind of charm that is hard to put into words but that speaks to you as you sip a rich, strong expresso while the local church bell tolls and a gaggle of happily chattering Italian children pass the tiny café in which you are sitting.

American romance novelist and TV soap opera writer Leah Laiman has sought to capture the essential spirit of Le Marche in her latest novel, Lingua Terra. The book tells the tale of an American woman who moves to Le Marche for a year after losing her job in New York. The romantic tale is interspersed with recipes from Michelin-starred Le Marche chef Lucio Pompili. It’s an unusual combination – a romance novel and a collection of local recipes – but one that somehow feels entirely right to those who are familiar with the region.

American buyers – and indeed those from elsewhere in the world – looking to own their own slice of Le Marche have been delighted to come across the Appassionata team. Family-run and passionate about Italy, Appassionata restores and renovates tumbledown Italian properties, turning them into stylish fractional ownership holiday homes. Buyers receive a one tenth share, entitling them to five weeks’ use of the property per year. Just like a property that is owned outright, the share can be passed down to the next generation as an inheritance. However, unlike with a fully owned second home, buyers don’t need to worry about cleaning and maintaining the property when they’re not using it as all of that is taken care of by the Appassionata team.

As Le Marche continues to enchant visitors from the US, demand is rising for Appassionata’s properties. Their third luxurious holiday home, Casa Tre Archi, has just three fractions still available, priced from £75,000. The three bedroom property fits perfectly with that enduring romantic image of Italy, from the traditional touches in the spacious interior to the large roof terrace that is perfect for al fresco family meals in the sunshine, against the backdrop of the gently rolling hills.

For more information visit www.appassionata.com or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

Italy – it’s cheaper than you think!

Italy – it’s cheaper than you think!

Italy
  • Italian cost of living drops from 85% to 58% compared to New York (Numbeo)
  • Three course meal for two now just €50 (Numbeo)
  • Fractional ownership providing luxury property at an affordable price in Le Marche (Appassionata)

Mention that you’ve been on holiday to Italy and within a couple of minutes someone is bound to ask if it was expensive there. Italy has a long-standing reputation as one of Europe’s pricier destinations, but the modern reality is actually very different. According to cost of living figures updated in October 2015 from Numbeo, two people can enjoy a three course meal in a mid-range restaurant for €50, relaxing with a regular cappuccino in a café costs just €1.33 and a mid-range bottle of wine from the supermarket costs €5.00.

Italy’s cost of living is falling. While buying gelato in a touristy area can still result in an eye-watering bill, for those who explore the Italian countryside and embrace the culture of home-cooking with local, seasonal produce, Italy is no longer an expensive place to spend time. The scale of the decrease in prices has been quite dramatic. In mid-2015 the Numbeo Cost of Living Index found that groceries in Italy cost 58.34% of the price paid for the same items bought in New York. Just a year earlier, the Italian groceries came in at 84.75% of the New York price, a significant change.

Just as the cost of living has fallen, so too has the cost of owning a luxury second home in Italy, as Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, owner of local fractional ownership business Appassionata, comments,

“We’ve seen a growing rise in interest in fractional ownership here in Le Marche. Buyers want to enjoy the sunshine and the lifestyle, not spend their holiday time taking care of overgrown gardens, cleaning and maintenance issues, as you do with a traditional second home. With fractional ownership, the property is fully managed, so all you have to do is turn up, unpack and start relaxing. Not only this, but such ownership means that the Italian lifestyle that many dream of is made far cheaper. This also means that buyers can afford a far more luxurious holiday home than if they bought outright, the dream can be a reality!”

Dawn is speaking from personal experience. Her family-run business has so far renovated three Italian properties. The third of them, the charming townhouse known as Casa Tre Archi, has just three shares left for sale. Owners are entitled to use the three bedroom property, which comes complete with roof terrace with stunning views over the town of Petritoli and the surrounding countryside, exclusively for five weeks each year. Fractions are priced from £75,000 and can be passed down to future generations, just as a property that is owned outright would be.

Dawn’s love of restoration work and interior design means that the family are already working on their next project: Il Riposo. The four bedroom, four bathroom home is situated in the peaceful hamlet of Patrignone. A delightful bar/restaurant just two minutes walk from the property offers the ideal place to relax over a lengthy meal of organic, locally produced food and wine. The bustling town of Montalto is just five minutes’ drive away, providing Il Riposo’s owners with everything they could wish for.

“We’re working hard to restore Il Riposo,” comments Dawn. “Casa Tre Archi has sold so fast that we only have three shares left and we are racing to transform Il Riposo so as not to disappoint those who want to buy into the wonderful Italian dream. It’s a big project – right now the house doesn’t have a roof, so we’ve got quite a way to go!”

When finished, Il Riposo will offer owners a traditional Italian home, complete with a small, terraced, walled garden. The Appassionata team are firmly committed to using local materials and local craftsmen – their restorations pay homage to the skills and traditions of previous generations. Previous houses have included bespoke, hand-made kitchen cupboards, reclaimed tiles and stunning light fittings made by a local artisan working out of a tiny studio, who learned at his grandmother’s knee.

“But we do like to fit in modern touches as well, where we can make them work,” continues Dawn. “At Il Riposo there is just enough room to include a swimming pool on the lower terrace. It’s a joy to save and restore some of Italy’s fine, tumbledown buildings and to breathe new life into them. Each home that we have worked on has its own quirks and charms that serve to truly delight its owners.”

At Casa Tre Archi, it is the unique blend of convenient town location with plentiful outside space that has so pleased those who have bought fractions. A shady, bijou kitchen terrace provides the ideal spot for a morning coffee. The first floor terrace provides a magnificent view of Petritoli’s ancient walls, including the three historic arches for which the property was named. The spacious roof terrace includes elegant loungers and a canopied gazebo – perfect for lazy days spent eating, drinking and relaxing in the sunshine. And it’s all within strolling distance of shops, restaurants, cafés, pretty churches and more.

For more information visit www.appassionata.com or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

Chinese tourists head to Le Marche in search of the real Italy

Chinese tourists head to Le Marche in search of the real Italy

Italy
  • Chinese tourist numbers to reach 100 million in 2015 (China Tourist Agency)
  • China to account for 22% of tourism expenditure by 2020 (UNTWO)
  • Luxury fractional ownership holiday home company Appassionata welcomes first Chinese owner

Since the World Expo first opened its doors in Milan in May 2015, visitor numbers to the Italian city have increased by more than 600%, according to the latest data from travel agency eDreams. The impact on the city has been significant, but heightened visitor numbers have not just impacted on Milan in isolation.

On Italy’s eastern coast, in the central Le Marche region, locals have noticed a significant increase in visitor numbers over the summer months. Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, owner of local fractional ownership holiday home business Appassionata, comments,

“We’ve seen a big increase in tourist numbers this year. In particular Le Marche has enjoyed having visitors from America, Australia, other parts of Europe and China. The restaurants, bars and cafés have all had a bumper summer and the extended heat-wave has certainly helped. We’ve also had a lot of foreigners coming to Le Marche to get married this year – and with a setting this stunning one can easily see why!”

Dawn is referring to the rolling hills, deep blue skies and abundant flowers surrounding the medieval hilltop town of Petritoli, where Appassionata’s luxury townhouse, Casa Tre Archi, is located. The property boasts outdoor space at every turn, with accommodation split across three levels. Three bedrooms and three bathrooms make the fractional ownership property ideal for use as a family holiday home as well as a place to stay on a break with friends. Owners are entitled to five weeks’ exclusive use of the property per year, with prices starting from £75,000.

Many of those visiting Le Marche have also taken in Milan as part of their travels, with just 4.5 hours in the car separating the two. The World Expo there has attracted tourists from across the globe and not least from China, which has the largest pavilion at the event. The number of Chinese visitors ranks third overall, closely following those from the US and France.

With the largest number of outbound tourists of any country (the number should reach 100 million by the end of the year, according to the Chinese Tourist Agency), China is leading the world not only in visitor numbers but also in holiday spending. Chinese tourists currently spend around €75 billion annually, while the UN World Tourism Organization has projected that China will account for 22% of global tourist expenditure by 2020.

According to China National Tourism Administration data, Italy is Chinese tourists’ favourite holiday destination within Europe and the Italian government has been courting the Chinese market for some time. Prior to the expo, the Italian consulate in Shanghai committed to a 36 hour turnaround time for all visa applications for travel to Italy.

“The Italian Government Tourist Board (ENIT) has made the greatest effort to oversee this market,” comments Andrea Babbi, Director General of ENIT, “We have organized educational tours that involved over 70 Chinese tour operators, we met in China around 500 local tour operators, and we organized travel for 150 Chinese journalists to visit Italy.”

Italian companies are also joining the effort, by applying for China Tourism Academy certification. The ‘Chinese Welcome’ certification rates companies and services on how welcoming they are to Chinese tourists, such as the Italo NTV train company, which displays information signs in Chinese as well as Italian.

In Le Marche, the Appassionata team have just welcomed their first Chinese owner to Casa Tre Archi. Roland Marcz advised Dawn and her family team that Chinese visitors now wanted to look beyond cities like Florence and Rome in order to experience the tranquil way of life, climate, culture and cuisine of the ‘real’ Italy. Compared with the fast pace of life in Shanghai, Petritoli offers a haven of peace. Roland comments,

“What becomes clearly apparent after living in this house even for a day is that the location could not be better, with amazing views from every window that are never, even at the back of the house, short of amazing, and to include three terraces on three levels of this manor is an added bonus that brings the outdoors with its blue skies and fragrant Italian air so close to home that we feel complete and satisfied with every sense of our being!”

As Chinese tourist numbers continue to increase, those countries ahead of the curve in welcoming them are set to benefit hugely and within Europe it is Italy that has taken pole position.

For more information visit www.appassionata.com or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

Expanding Italian economy means big things for small businesses

Expanding Italian economy means big things for small businesses

Italy
  • Italian economy to grow by 0.7% in 2015 and 1.5% in 2016 (Bank of Italy)
  • Knock-on effect of expansion on small businesses being felt across the country
  • Newest luxury holiday home from Appassionata already impacting positively on local businesses

The expanding Italian economy is great news for almost all businesses (with the possible exception of debt collectors!), but it is on smaller businesses that its impact is being felt the most. Micro businesses and artisanal suppliers in rural areas, away from the opportunities created by big cities and mass tourism, have struggled over the past several years. Many of them are run by just one or two family members, with skills passed down to them through the generations.

The Bank of Italy has forecast 0.7% GDP growth for the country this year and 1.5% for 2016 and a fall of unemployment by 1.5% by the end of 2016. But these headline numbers mask the true tale of Italy’s small businesses. It is in areas like Le Marche where the impact of the expanding economy can best be seen at grass roots level.

In the charming Le Marche hilltop town of Petritoli, local resident Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs is an excellent example of the impact that economic changes are having. Dawn runs fractional ownership holiday home company Appassionata with her husband, daughter and son-in-law. The company’s third fractional ownership project, the luxurious Casa Tre Archi, has proven popular with buyers looking for a taste of the ‘real Italy,’ rather than the touristy offerings of more commercialised destinations.

Now, the Appassionata team has just taken on its fourth project – the renovation and transformation of a house in the pretty hamlet of Patrignone. The decision has a knock-on effect for businesses in the local area. Builders and craftsmen have already been engaged to undertake some of the larger elements of the restoration and the scaffolding has already gone up.

As work progresses, Dawn will also commission a number of bespoke pieces to be manufactured by her key supply team – a collection of local craftsmen working from sheds and garages who alone or in pairs are producing some of the finest quality goods imaginable. Custom designed, exquisite chandeliers and slim, elegant wrought iron stair rails are two of the products that will be commissioned for the new holiday home. The lights are made by self-taught artisan Alfio Giuffrida, who spent his childhood playing at the feet of his mother and grandmother while they made lampshades. The stair rails come from the Brinci family, whose tiny blacksmith business has been running for more than 200 years. Other bespoke items will include pottery from brother and sister team Annamaria and Emanule Bozzi, with Grandfather Mario sitting at the pottery wheel to ensure the younger generations keep tradition alive.

Nor does the impact of the economic progress stop there. Appassionata’s fractional model means that owners get five weeks’ exclusive use of the property per year. With ten sets of owners each staying for a week, five times per year, that means 50 sets of flights, hire cars, spending money and so forth. The positive impact is felt by restaurants, cafés, local markets… all those small businesses that serve to give an area its character and its history. While the headlines talk about forecasts and percentages, this is the human way in which Italy is really growing – one tiny business at a time.

Casa Tre Archi has shares are available from £75,000. For more information visit www.appassionata.com or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

Cheese and chestnuts in the heart of Italy

Cheese and chestnuts in the heart of Italy

Italy
  • Buy the morning’s catch directly from the fishermen at Pedaso beach
  • Savour warm, plump chestnuts for a true taste of autumn
  • Be part of every season with a fractional ownership holiday home from Appassionata

Autumn is a variable concept. In the UK, it means nights drawing in, plunging temperatures and sudden unexpected squalls that leave you cursing your foolishness for leaving the house without an umbrella. In Italy, the nights are also drawing in, but that’s really where the similarity ends.

The autumn months are a wonderful time to enjoy Italy at its best. Not only does it offer the promise of reasonably consistent sunshine, but less touristy areas come alive with a wealth of seasonal local treats that will have foodies desperate to pack up their lives in the UK and head to Italy on a one-way ticket.

That was precisely what Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs and her family did nearly a decade ago. Wanting to be part of the ‘real’ Italy, they eschewed the big cities overrun with tourists in favour of the Le Marche region, the true heart of Italy. Dawn and husband Michael, along with three of their children, two grandchildren, three horses, two dogs and a cat are still delighted that they made the move and are loving living la dolce vita in Le Marche. Interior designer Dawn comments,

“This is such a fabulous time of year. The countryside just comes alive with colour and the scents and sounds seem to soften somehow after the intensity of midsummer. It’s a great time of year to focus on the forthcoming harvest, to start making jams and chutneys, capturing the tastes of summer ready for the winter months.”

As well as a host of regular markets and the ability to buy fresh fish directly from fishermen at the local beach, Le Marche offers a number of food festivals over the autumn months. From the wild fennel festival at the end of August, through the chestnut festival in October to the cheese festival in November, the area is awash with delicious flavours.

Le Marche is also home to some of Italy’s most well respected restaurants. Madonnina del Pescatore, near Ancona, is one of the finest dining establishments in the country, while its nearby offshoot, Il Clandestino, serves Italian sushi from a shack and enjoys an incredible local reputation.

“And don’t forget the cake shops,” adds Dawn. “We are spoiled for choice here in Petritoli – the displays have to be seen to be believed. Oh and then there’s the local wine…”

It is in Petritoli that Dawn’s family business, fractional ownership company Appassionata, has renovated their latest project, Casa Tre Archi. The luxury holiday home is a three bedroom townhouse so entwined in Petritoli’s history that the ancient, curved turret wall of the town’s fortifications is a feature of its living room. With a traditional style kitchen and three outdoor areas, including an expansive roof terrace, the charming home cries out for owners to enjoy preparing and savouring local delicacies.

Owners of Casa Tre Archi are able to use the house exclusively for five weeks every year. Shares are available from £75,000.

For more information visit www.appassionata.com or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

Enjoying the great outdoors – making the most of Italy under the autumn sun

Enjoying the great outdoors – making the most of Italy under the autumn sun

Italy
  • 85% of people cite playing outside as one of their greatest childhood memories (National Trust)
  • Families turn to Italy to enjoy the great outdoors (Appassionata)
  • From paragliding to snowboarding, Le Marche has it all (Monti Sibillini National Park)

As the seasons turn, rural Italy offers one of Europe’s most attractive holiday destinations. The sunlight loses the ferocity of its mid-summer heat, yet still provides long, warm days that are perfect for enjoying the outdoor lifestyle. Plump grapes swell and sweeten on the vine as the harvest approaches, while olives fatten invitingly ready for the winter months. Eating outside is an almost obligatory pleasure and in areas like the Le Marche region the rolling hills and distant, towering mountains look at their best in the autumn sunlight, inspiring painters to grab the nearest canvas and get to work.

For the McCaffrey family, outdoor pursuits were one of the draws that led to them buying a share in a fractional ownership holiday home in Le Marche. Although they actually intended to buy somewhere on the Norfolk coast! It was only a chance meeting with Michael Hobbs of family-run luxury holiday home company Appassionata that led to them falling in love with Italy in the first place. Michael recalls,

“Nick and I met on an endurance motorcycle ride across India for charity that we were both taking part in. With a shared passion for bikes, we kept in touch after the trip and Nick and his wife Frances came to stay us here in Italy a few weeks after we all got home. They knew we ran fractional ownership holiday homes, but none of us had any inkling that the McCaffreys would become our next set of owners – I don’t know who was more surprised, us or them!”

It was the outdoor lifestyle that Nick and Frances were so delighted with upon their first visit to Le Marche. The region benefits from a huge expanse of Adriatic coastline as well as the Sibillini Mountains and National Park. From late summer swims in the clean coastal waters to rocketing down a mountainside on a snowboard, the area offers something to suit every taste and budget. For the McCaffreys, the hiking trails of the Monti Sibillini National Park offer a wonderful way for them to enjoy the great outdoors with their three grown up children.

New research from the National Trust has revealed just how important that outdoor time is. 85% of those surveyed cited playing outside as one of their greatest childhood memories, yet the survey found that 54% of today’s children (aged 7-12) spend less than an hour outside each day. For 25%, outdoor time totalled less than 30 minutes daily, yet their parents spent an average of two hours 34 minute outside each day during their own childhood.

It was consideration of his children that made the fractional ownership model so appealing for Nick McCaffrey, both for now and for the future. Nick explains,

“When it came down to it buying a fraction of Appassionata it was a no brainer.  We would realistically only ever spend five weeks in a holiday home and this opportunity is for life and will be handed down in time to my children and grandchildren, a wonderful legacy to leave.”

The latest Appassionata holiday home, the three bedroom, three bathroom townhouse Casa Tre Archi, maximises the opportunities for enjoying outdoor space, with a bijou terrace tucked behind the kitchen, a generously sized first floor terrace off one of the bedrooms and a 50 foot roof terrace at the very top. With elegant loungers and a beautifully canopied gazebo, along with views that stretch for miles around, it offers the perfect outdoor living space for the whole family to enjoy. Even when the first autumn rains arrive to finally break the heat of the summer, it is a delightful place to curl up under cover of the gazebo with a blanket and a hot chocolate, to watch the landscape transform as the rains sweep across it.

The arrival of the winter months sees travellers flock to the Monti Sibillini National Park to try their hand at skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports, but autumn in the great outdoors is no less exciting, with horse riding, mountain biking, hang gliding, paragliding and climbing all available to those looking to make the most of their time in the Italian sunshine.

Shares in Casa Tre Archi are available from £75,000 for five weeks’ exclusive use per year.

For more information visit www.appassionata.com or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.