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Cohousing Considered As Solution For Crisis In Italian Real Estate

News Posted On: 02 May 2013

Italian property news

The property market in Italy has been in free fall and people are worried about housing. With most people in the country being too poor for traditional homes or too rich for social housing, the approach of cohousing seems to be the best possible solution. The spokeswoman of the website cohousing.it, Nadia Simionato said that this concept evolved in the northern part of the continent during the 1960s. It then spread to countries across the continent before reaching Italy in the mid 2000s.

The idea of cohousing is based on the concept of families sharing a private condominium to get the benefits of sharing resources and space such as gymnasiums, gardens, children’s care, laundry, etc. Italy’s ‘gray zone’ which includes people who cannot purchase traditional homes due to financial shortcomings, but are more than prosperous enough to resort to social housing, forms the part of the market that is interested in cohousing.

Simionato says that public administration is finding it hard to understand the influence that cohousing can have. She added that there are several thousand instances of this concept working well in other countries. In Italy, three projects have already been developed, and two more are under process in order to connect designers with prospective buyers.

Benefits of Cohousing

Simionato explained that living in a large and spacious apartment during times of financial difficulty is not sensible. Instead, living in smaller spaces with company will mean that the cost of living will significantly reduce. Sales in the Italian property market declined by almost 26 per cent during 2012, and financial institutions recorded an overall decline of almost 43 per cent in the number of housing loans requested during last year.

Real estate analysts in the country say that the market has not improved as expected. The determination of property values has also become very difficult because sales are minimal. A large number of properties in the country remain vacant, and local buyers are few and far between. People are being evicted for failing to meet rent payments, and as of 2011, there were 56,000 such evicted people.

Market insiders say that it is still early, and an assessment cannot be made just yet. However, they say that cohousing will make people in certain geographic areas live as extended families. Like each family has its ups and downs, people will care more for each other and help find solutions to their problems.

Development of Cohousing

According to reports in Italy, there are currently seven units that feature shared spaces like a yard, common rooms, a cellar, etc. These units have been established to share expertise and time, to nurture social relationships, and to share costs related to living in the space. An increasing number of cohousing facilities is expected to be constructed this year, as it offers people an opportunity to reduce their costs during tough times. Experts say that it will take willingness and patience to discuss things with designers, as they are not familiar with the trends of the buyers. Although there are many people who will have to undergo legal and structural constraint, cohousing will reduce worries over a period of time.

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