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Second homes in Italy: every household’s dream or (un)profitable investments?


  • Marianna Brunetti
  • Costanza Torricelli


The use of a second home may result in different outcomes for households, ranging from financial profit and holiday use to uses that are clearly unprofitable. We contribute to the literature on second homes by exploring the case of second homes that are not let out, representing the least profitable outcome from an economic viewpoint. The empirical investigation relies on the 2002–2012 Bank of Italy Survey on Household Income and Wealth (SHIW), which also provides extensive information on property, including the actual use. Our results highlight: a gender gap, whereby the unprofitable use of second homes tends to be more clearly associated with male decision-makers; a lack of association with the economic characteristics of the household; and a strong association with the specific characteristics of the property, with inherited property more likely to be used unprofitably. In addition to casting doubt on the effectiveness of second homes as an investment vehicle, our results may have important policy or regulatory implications for housing and rental markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianna Brunetti & Costanza Torricelli, 2017. "Second homes in Italy: every household’s dream or (un)profitable investments?," Housing Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(2), pages 168-185, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:chosxx:v:32:y:2017:i:2:p:168-185
    DOI: 10.1080/02673037.2016.1181720

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ivan Faiella & Romina Gambacorta, 2007. "The Weighting Process in the SHIW," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 636, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Eva Sierminska & Karina Doorley, 2018. "To own or not to own? Household portfolios, demographics and institutions in a cross-national perspective," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 26(1), pages 1-43, March.
    3. Meta Brown & Sarah Stein & Basit Zafar, 2015. "The Impact of Housing Markets on Consumer Debt: Credit Report Evidence from 1999 to 2012," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(S1), pages 175-213, March.
    4. Gattini, Luca & Ganoulis, Ioannis, 2012. "House price responsiveness of housing investments across major European economies," Working Paper Series 1461, European Central Bank.
    5. Hyun-Soo Choi & Harrison Hong & Jeffrey Kubik & Jeffrey P. Thompson, 2014. "When Real Estate is the Only Game in Town," NBER Working Papers 19798, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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