Get the Train for Italian Investment Property

By: Nicholas Marr

Real estate in France experienced a piece-by-piece real estate surge as its own high speed train system is put into place. This is also referred to as the Ryan Air effect, whereby values rise as budget airlines arrive. This is due to the ease of getting to property that was once considered in the middle of nowhere - or at least hard to get to.

The Italian high speed train service is known as the TAV in Italy, which stands for treno ad alta velocit?or, more generically, ES Itallia for Euro Star Italy. The high speed route from Rome to Naples is nearly complete and portions of the route from Turin to Milan are also open. Another line from Milan to Rome is scheduled to open in early 2009. The state train company, Trenitalia, has train service throughout Italy to all major cities currently. The high speed trains can run, and currently do, on several of the main line tracks, but at reduced speeds not approaching their 300 kph maximum. When the new lines are complete, they will be able to whisk passengers between the major cities throughout the country.

With the new lines and service, new stations are being built and old ones renovated. Trenitalia is investing ?2.5 billion in new stations for Bologna, Naples and Florence and renovations in Milan, Rome and Turin. According to Carlo de Vito, who oversees the 2,400 stations throughout the country for Trenitalia, the changes can have a considerable impact: "A new station near the center of a big city makes that area more appealing to the middle class willing to commute, and the same will happen with the high-speed train." He adds that ""When we open a new station there is a 30 to 40 percent rise in real estate values in just a few years." While property in Italy in major cities is improving, some see the most potential for cities that currently don't have the access of the big ones.

One such city is Genoa, the end of a planned Milan-Genoa line. These cities don't have the easy and relatively inexpensive access that the larger ones do. The new train service, much like new low-fair air service, can help newcomers get to the city and discover its charms and, more importantly, its real estate.

So what is on offer in Italy? Italian farmhouses that require renovation work, houses with rustic charm off plan property at Lake Como or city apartments in Milan. There is plenty on offer for the overseas buyers in Italy.

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