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Italy is gradually emerging from the recent economic crisis. However, getting a mortgage is still a challenge as banks have strict requirements regarding borrower income. Foreign citizens are subject to more stringent requirements regarding the assessment of the mortgaged property. Applicants are more likely to be granted a mortgage on high-end liquid property.

Lending terms

Mortgages are granted for pending constructions, existing property and renovations. The property should be registered in the land cadastre as living premises. Italian banks do not provide mortgages for property located outside Italy.

There are fixed interest rates from 2.8% to 6.5%. Variable rates are calculated using Euribor: for three, six or twelve months plus 1.6–2%. Euribor (Euro Interbank Offered Rate) is a daily reference rate published by the European Banking Federation. The rate can be mixed, e.g. a fixed rate applies for the first 2–3 years, then a variable rate. Mortgages are provided most often at variable or mixed rates. The mortgage term ranges from 5–20 years and the amount granted from €100,000–700,000. The maximum mortgage offered is 60%. Mortgages amounting to 80% of the purchase price are very rare and only available to prime borrowers, e.g. employees of major European companies with a headcount of over 1,000 staff.

Mortgage process

It is easier to obtain a mortgage in the north of Italy, e.g. near Lake Como, where authorities are more willing to lend and do it more often than those in the south. It is more challenging to get a mortgage in rural areas, especially Sicily and Calabria.

Initial mortgage approval takes up to two weeks, then another six weeks for the bank to make its final decision. If the documents submitted do not comply with the requirements set out, the process may take up to two months. If the mortgage is approved, both the seller and the buyer must open accounts with the lending bank. The buyer then deposits the down payment onto their account.

The mortgage agreement is executed concurrently with the final sales contract, then mortgage funds together with the buyer's down payment are transferred to the seller's account.

Requirements for borrowers

Generally, Italian banks treat non-citizens applying for loans with caution. Loans must be redeemed before the borrowers turns 85. Monthly mortgage costs and payments must not exceed 30–35% of the borrower's (or aggregate family) monthly income. Revenue generated from property rental is not taken into consideration.

Documents

Mortgage applications in Italy require the following documents:

  • passport;
  • tax identification number (codice fiscale) issued by the questura (the local police), which has local headquarters in each province of Italy;
  • for legal entities: registration documents and financial statements for business owners;
  • payslips from permanent employment for the previous year (for the employed);
  • bank statements confirming regular cash inflow;
  • tax return proving timely tax payments;
  • information on payments for previous loans and/or alimony paid;
  • re-sale property contract;
  • excerpts from the land cadastre proving the property is on the housing register;
  • estimation of costs (for property renovation mortgages).

Banks may also require a 'household' certificate confirming the number of family members and information about them, marriage or divorce certificates, a birth certificate and a driving license. A residence permit is not compulsory to get a mortgage in Italy.

All the documents must be translated into Italian and notarised. The formalities can be completed via a consulate of Italy.

Extra costs

State and state-owned joint stock banks provide mortgages in Italy for loans negotiated by a mortgage broker that reviews the borrower's solvency. This broker also informs the applicant of the necessary documentation required for the mortgage. The broker's commission fee (1%) is paid once the mortgage has been granted.

The other costs incurred by a borrower:

  • mortgage processing fee — 0.4–0.7% of mortgage amount;
  • costs for closing the procedure, charged by the bank — €100–160 (one-off payment);
  • property value assessment — €200–450 (one-off payment);
  • notary fee for execution of documents — 1.0–1.5% of the mortgage amount;
  • mortgage registration tax: 0.25% of the mortgage amount (for residents if the property is to be their main residence) or 2% (for non-residents and/or in secondary market acquisitions);
  • compulsory property and life insurance — €150–600 per annum.