The performance of the Italian housing market and its effects on the financial system
Developments in the real-estate sector are of crucial importance for the business cycle and financial stability. This study analyses developments in the Italian housing market on the basis of both real and financial variables. Following the sharp contraction of the market during the financial crisis and the more general fall in economic activity, a few signals suggests that the recession in the housing market is easing somewhat. However, the degree of uncertainty remains considerable. In recent months the ratio between the flow of bad debts to total outstanding loans to households and construction firms has reached the highest levels since the beginning of the decade. The paper also investigates three issues of a more structural nature. First, it examines the performance and the regulatory framework of real-estate investment funds in Italy. Second, it analyses the main characteristics of the taxation of residential housing, with reference to ownership, rentals and transactions. Finally, the paper estimates the impact on residential house prices of the growing demand for housing services by immigrants.
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