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Sunny Side Up: Insight into the Real Estate Market of South Tyrol, Italy

Framed by the Dolomites and situated on the sunny side of the Alps, South Tyrol offers a host of attractions and investment opportunities for elite homeowners

Last fall, Business Matters, the U.K.’s leading business magazine, reported on the Italian property market, identifying South Tyrol as the region’s “most valued spot” for real estate investment. The article praised the area’s natural landscapes, unpolluted atmosphere, and peaceful locality.

This view is echoed by Dr. Alexander Benedetti, of Benedetti Real Service. “The real estate market in South Tyrol is very stable and has grown continuously along with the region’s economy over the past 50 years,” he says. “During the pandemic, property in South Tyrol proved to be very crisis-proof with a slight upward trend. Even in 2008 and 2009, when the real estate market in Italy declined slightly due to the financial crisis, prices here remained largely stable and began to grow again from 2014.”

Large property with roof terrace set amid green hills
Built in 1900, and completely refurbished in 2019, this residence/apartment building is in one of the most desirable areas of Merano. Packed with historical character, it offers 12,098 square feet (1,125 sq m) of interior space.

Having worked in real estate for 30 years as a broker, advisor, and valuer, Benedetti is well placed to advise on the market in this part of Italy, where real estate rights are still subject to Grundbuch, the former Austrian system of public announcement and constitution of property rights. “The system makes property transactions safe and assures both buyers and sellers,” he explains.

Attractions and Opportunities

But it’s not just reassuring buying and selling conditions that attract investors here. The area offers the advantages of the blended Italian and Austrian/German culture—both are also official languages of the region—and the surrounds are, as Bendetti points out, “full of attractions that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.”

Among them are the picturesque towns of Merano (Meran), Bolzano (Bozen), and Vipiteno (Sterzing) and the botanical gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle. The gardens are home to an array of plants from around the world, with panoramic views over the surrounding mountains, while the castle itself was a favorite destination for Empress Sissi of Austria—she stayed here on several occasions.

Interior of wooden clad living room featuring a wood burning stove
This two-bedroom pied-à-terre in the ski resort of Val Gardena boasts modern chalet-style interiors and a balcony from which you can enjoy wonderful views of the Dolomites.

Powder fans are also well catered for in South Tyrol with the Dolomites of Val Gardena and Alta Badia—which offer skiing for all abilities—as well as the famous Sellaronda, a circular ski route boasting 16 miles (26 km) of great downhill runs.

“South Tyrol is on the sunny side of the Alps and in the middle of Europe,” says Benedetti. “It is home to a beautiful alpine landscape, the Dolomites, and smaller towns with first-class gastronomy, in which the best of Italian and Austrian cuisine come together and complement each other.” Lovers of the outdoors should also visit Lake Braies, which is known for its emerald-green waters and is surrounded by a nature reserve with many hiking trails.

Areas for Investment

So, were someone interested in putting down roots here, where should they look? “The most desirable neighborhoods are the area of Merano and surroundings, the Val Pusteria with Brunico, the Dolomites area with Gardena and Badia, the area of Appiano, and Caldaro with the lake of the same name,” he advises.

A large villa with ornamental pond in South Tyrol, Italy
Located in Völlan—a municipality situated almost 2,300 feet (700 m) above sea level with an alpine-Mediterranean climate—this stately villa enjoys a tranquil rural setting and is an ideal starting point for hikes and many other activities in South Tyrol.

Benedetti notes that apartments are the most readily available type of property here. Building land is rare, and individual houses are highly sought-after. And while there are no restrictions for foreign buyers, Benedetti does counsel that because land is scarce, “about 80 percent of the properties are subject to a commitment that requires that they be occupied by someone who is working in South Tyrol or has been resident here for at least five years and is not the owner of another appropriate property in South Tyrol.”

This means that because many properties need to be used as a primary residence, life, and local services “are intact throughout the year in the whole region.”

So, what does he believe the rest of the year holds for real estate in South Tyrol? “The supply on the market became tighter in 2021, and it was possible to achieve good prices,” he says. “There’s a good demand for investing in real estate and sales can often be carried out very quickly.”

There’s also growth on the horizon, with Benedetti Real Service having recently increased the number of its brokers along with opening a new office in Cortina, “the pearl of the Dolomites,” which will host the Winter Olympic Games in 2026.

Banner image: Lake Misurina in South Tyrol, Italy. Getty Images