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Italians seek refuge from new yacht tax

Italy’s new tax on boats and yachts has owners increasingly looking at living in alternative spots such as nearby Montenegro.

John Kennedy, founder and CEO of The Boka Group, a global alternative asset management and investment advisory firm, told Property Wire that even Italians are moving their assets away from the country in a bid to escape the levy.

During the last six months, the private equity real estate developer has seen a 175 percent rise in interest and inquiries from Italian buyers.

"This single measure has seen inquiries from Italian investors for land-based assets now competing with traditional market inquiries from British and Russian clients,” Kennedy told the publication. “Italians are now right at the top."

The move to neighboring Montenegro has serious ramifications for the Italian property market, particularly in the prime segment, according to the report. Since the tax was introduced, an estimated 20,000 yachts have been moved from Italian ports to France, Spain, Malta, Croatia, Greece and Montenegro.

The Boka Group has already observed general movement by non-boat owners away from Italy.

"Many are worried they are next in line for tax targeting in any new round of fiscal initiatives," Kennedy said. "With no signs of European Union and Italian deficit problems being resolved soon, there are signs of a pre-emptive movement to swap and relocate fixed assets out of Italy."

The recent decision to cancel a controversial tax on primary residences may not be enough to persuade second-home owners and overseas investors to stay in the Italian market because a municipal tax will be introduced in 2014 to make up for the loss of the primary residence levy.

The recruitment sector has also noted a 15 percent dip in the number of staff employed in the industry, Property Wire reported. This equates to 9,000 jobs.

Click here for the full report.