La Vie en Rose, or La Dolce Vita?
In our post-pandemic world, the way we choose to live, work and spend the majority of our time has shifted. Second home buyers are now flocking to Europe to take advantage of more flexible working practices and fulfill their dreams of a life of sunshine. But if you’re thinking of joining their ranks, which country is the best in Europe to invest in real estate?
While France – especially the coast – was always the destination of choice for Britons pre-pandemic (according to a 2010 Savills Global Residential Review), it has recently been overtaken by Italy. In 2021, a Knight Frank Survey found Italy to be the top international destination for second-home buyers from the UK and US. The reason given for this is that homes in Italy are available for relatively lower prices at a time when global housing markets are booming.
Both France and Italy offer plenty in the way of sunshine, beaches, fine food, fashion, cosmopolitan cities, spectacular scenery and high quality of life. So how do you choose between them?
While it’s our opinion that you can’t go wrong with either choice, we have some ideas for discovering which of the two is perfect for you.
Decide what you need from your second home
A Savills World Research survey of buyers seeking property in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal during February and March 2021 found that people’s top priorities are proximity to amenities, high-speed internet access and good views. In France and Italy, you will find all of these things to varying degrees. Internet speeds may be slower in rural areas, but views abound. Larger cities like Paris and Milan will offer more modern amenities and access to airports, but less in the way of space. Once you know what it is that’s most important to you, you can narrow down your search.
Use your imagination
When you’re dreaming of buying a second home in Europe, how specific is your reverie? Do you imagine yourself wandering cobbled streets to buy your morning croissants, or people watching in a lively piazza? Do you see a vast stretch of sandy beach and an azure ocean or a winding path down to a rocky cove surrounded by cliffs? Is your family feasting on entrecôte or on pizza? Are the people loud and demonstrably friendly or a bit more reserved? While both France and Italy have much to offer, the feeling you get in each is very different. Imagining yourself in situ can help you understand which is right for you.
Do you have a language preference?
As obvious as it sounds, when it comes to navigating the process of buying a second home and settling into a foreign country, it helps to be able to speak some of the language. After all, you’ll be dealing with local service and trades people, meeting neighbours and integrating into the community. Having some knowledge of either French or Italian can really increase your quality and enjoyment of life in your second home, and might sway your decision in one direction or the other.
Find your cultural fit
Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Do you want to be in a place where children are welcomed enthusiastically in public and encouraged to run free, or where they’re expected to be more reserved? The stereotypes around the French and Italians are stereotypes for a reason – although generalisations, you can expect them to hold true in many instances. If you have strong feelings about one approach to family life over another, this may help you in your decision.
Or maybe you don’t have to decide…
One of the many wonderful advantages of co-owning property is that you don’t have to completely commit to one place. At Lazazu we have beautiful homes available for co-ownership in both France and Italy (our Italian offerings are currently off-market so please contact us for further information).
But the best news of all is that when you purchase as little as a one-eighth share of a second home, you buy yourself the freedom and flexibility to experience other beautiful places as well. Whether you’re buying a second home in Italy, France, or elsewhere in Europe, we’re here to open up more options, not fewer.
We will help you find the second home of your dreams, manage the purchase process with like-minded buyers, handle the legal work and set up a dedicated company for your holiday home, and then fully manage the home and schedule your stays using our intuitive and equitable booking system. While your second home is being used by other owners or rented out for your profit, you have the freedom to experience other destinations.
Variety, after all, is the spice of life.
Discover more about Lazazu:
How Lazazu co-ownership works | Frequently asked questions about shared holiday homes | The benefits of fractional ownership | Browse Lazazu’s selection of second homes | The difference between timeshare and co-ownership