Prominent signs reading "FOR SALE" have become a ubiquitous sight in front of numerous residences and houses and are often up for months.
Representatives from the real estate sector confirm that there is indeed a surplus of sellers and a dwindling number of buyers.
Manuel Rizzo, a committee member of the Chamber of Real Estate and owner of his own real estate agency, has in-depth knowledge of the market dynamics. Rizzo stresses that fewer individuals can afford homeownership, impeding their ability to make purchases. Meanwhile, the inventory of available properties continues to expand. According to Rizzo, the situation has reached a point where real estate agencies are no longer encountering prospective buyers, as clients find themselves constrained by financial limitations and opt to rent instead.
The repercussions for estate agents are dire, leading to financial strain and deliberations on cost reduction throughout the industry. This, in turn, often results in layoffs and redundancies. Rizzo underscores the significance of this issue, particularly for employees who have dedicated months or even years to their respective companies, now living under the constant fear of losing their jobs unless the market rapidly recovers.
Jean-Paul Scheuren, President of the Chamber of Real Estate, identifies the primary challenge in the new-build sector, where soaring prices exacerbate the already diminished sales compared to older houses and flats. He expresses concern that the real crisis may unfold after the collective holiday season this summer. The strain of the holiday period, combined with reduced business in the autumn, could push numerous companies to their limits or force them to make difficult decisions such as closures or employee layoffs.
While acknowledging the need for intervention, Scheuren remains sceptical about the state buying up private projects. He urges the government to disclose the number of flats it has acquired thus far, as discussions on this matter have persisted for six months without any signed contracts coming to light. Scheuren suggests that genuine progress in the sector could be achieved if investors were to acquire 1,500 to 2,000 flats, emphasising the significance of their involvement.