A highly-regarded reference point when it comes to European culture, Milan has long been considered Italy’s most modern city – a place that combines the best of the country’s renowned culture with a thriving business and finance centre, and a distinctive cosmopolitan edge.
Despite being smaller than many other major European cities, Milan, in recent years, has managed to redevelop large urban areas and has become one of the most prominent cities in Europe from a real estate perspective.
Milan is also one of the major university centres in Italy and wider Europe, with students from all over the world coming to study and live in the city. Several Milanese universities such as Luigi Bocconi University, Politecnico, Bicocca and Statale are expanding their infrastructures by creating new classrooms, sports centres, communal areas and student residences.
Milan is located in a strategic and convenient position, approximately an hour by train or car from the Ligurian coast, with beautiful lakes and high mountain spots. When it comes to exploring the city itself, Milan has great public transport, with one of the most developed tram lines in the world, offering 17 lines over an area of 181 km.
Milan is an internationally appealing city, regularly hosting major global events such as Fashion Week and the design week known as "Salone Internazionale del Mobile", one of the most important exhibitions and worldwide networking events for designers. The food and drink culture is also huge in Milan – it is, after all, the birthplace of Campari, a bitter aperitif that dates from the 1860s when Gaspare Campari opened his first Milanese café and decided to create a drink that would serve to stimulate the appetite.
"Milan is an internationally appealing city, regularly hosting major global events such as Fashion Week and the design week known as "Salone Internazionale del Mobile"
What can you get for your money in Milan?
Knight Frank has listed all properties within the past 12 months.
Neighbourhoods to watch
Scalo Porta Romana
Located on the south-east side of Milan close to the railway yard, this former industrial area is undergoing major redevelopment. It is home to the new Symbiosis Business hub, set to become the business district of the future, with innovative offices, labs, urban gardens, restaurants, hotels and public spaces that combine nature with science to set a new sustainability benchmark for the city
This up and coming suburb was once an old industrial area that’s being redeveloped to create new residential accommodation. Located in north-west Milan (not far from Expo 2015 pavilions), neighbourhood Cascina Merlata is made up of seven residential towers. A shopping mall is expected to open in the area in 2021, which once operational, will employ 1,000 people and include over 160 businesses.
An urban regeneration project located in a previously neglected area, this development will become a unique and contemporary neighbourhood built around an intelligent urban ecosystem that’s a future-proof smart district. Smart solutions include smart benches, smart parking, free Wi-Fi and smart lighting systems. The development will bring 160,000 square meters of park, 10,000 square meters of shops, 30,000 square meters of offices, 500 new homes and is just 16 minutes from the Piazza del Duomo in Florence.
What’s driving demand
7 Universities / 9 international Schools Professional schools with dedicated specialisms
Reason for buying?
Price per sq m:
Core: €6,500 Prime: €10,000 Super Prime: €20,000
Did you know
Milan will host the Winter Olympic Games, an event that boosts its international appeal further
80% Local 20% International
Reasons to buy
Milan today is one of Europe’s major economic powers, and it’s experiencing a significant era of regeneration and success that makes it particularly attractive to investors. The city has undergone extensive redevelopment in large urban areas, and the subsequent construction of offices, residences and public and private green spaces, as well as the development of transport networks such as the new metro line that will be ready for 2022. Milan is also dedicated to improving its sustainable transport credentials, with over 35km of cycle paths created in recent years, its most important being the cycle path that connects the centre of Milan to the city of Monza, passing through the historic Milanese streets of Corso Venezia and Corso Buenos Aires.
Milan offers a high quality of life for its residents, with internationally recognised flagship events and exhibitions held throughout the year. Tourism underpins the city’s economy, while the student dynamic of the city remains core to the residential sector. In 2026, Milan will host the Winter Olympic Games, an event that boosts its international appeal further.
Milan market in numbers
Whether it is for lifestyle or investment purposes, there can be extra costs that need to be considered in addition to the purchase of the property itself. While the cost of the property is by far the most significant expense, additional costs you may need to cover can include local fees, taxes, running costs and possible charges that will need to be factored in.
The total percentage of purchasers costs involved in buying a property in Milan, which includes:
9% tax is levied on land registry value of the property which is often less than the sales price. Notary fees are 1%. Agency fees are 3% for existing buildings and often to 2% for new build properties when purchasing direct from the developer. On development purchases, 10% VAT is paid on the agreed sales price.
Rental yields: Based on gross income. Average rental: Based on prices per month. Prime market: The most desirable and most expensive property in a given location, defined as the top 5% of each market by value. Super prime market: The most desirable and most expensive property in a given location, defined as homes priced at more than US $10 million.
Rental yield: 4.0% Expected running costs: €3.5 sq m Average rental: €18 sq m
Rental yield: 3.5 % Expected running costs: €5.8 sq m Average rental: €30 sq m
Super prime market
Rental yield: 3.0% Expected running costs: €7.5 sq m Average rental: €60 sq m
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Sources: 1. Knight Frank Italia. This city guide is provided for general information only. It is not definitive, nor is it intended to amount to advice on which you should solely rely upon. As far as applicable laws allow, we do not accept responsibility for errors, inaccuracies or omissions, nor for loss or damage that may result directly or indirectly from reliance on or use of its contents.