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Reader question: What’s going on with Italy’s blocked superbonus credit?

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Reader question: What’s going on with Italy’s blocked superbonus credit?
Credit transfer issues with Italy's superbonus threaten to leave countless renovation projects unfinished and push thousands of building firms into bankruptcy. Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP

As funds for Italy’s ‘superbonus 110’ renovations remain blocked, homeowners are left wondering if the government is any closer to finding a solution allowing stalled projects to go ahead.

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Since 2021, chronic credit transfer issues have led to major delays and complications for many of the homeowners using the popular 'superbonus' government scheme to fund their home renovation projects.

The problems started when banks essentially stopped buying up government credits released to fund renovation projects after the introduction of tighter regulations. This created a major bottleneck within the complex system of buying and selling of credits which had sprung up around the superbonus, leaving builders with projects to complete but no liquidity.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: What Italy’s new superbonus decree means for you

The scale of the trade in superbonus credits was so big that it prompted Italian Prime Minister Giorgia to describe it as a “parallel currency” as she all but ended new claims in April under sweeping changes to the superbonus.

When the government made these sudden reforms in April, it was also widely expected to step in with aid measures to help resolve the credit impasse - particularly after building companies said they’d been blindsided by the changes and left in an even more difficult financial position.

Worker on scaffolding

Blocked superbonus credits currently amount to a total of 30 billion euros. Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP

But so far banks and other credit institutes have largely been left responsible for unblocking the funds, which were worth some 19 billion euros as of late March.

Homeowners are now left asking whether there’s any news about the plan to deal with the credit logjam, amid serious concerns that not being able to access credit could ultimately leave renovation projects unfinished and push building firms into bankruptcy.

Two months after the latest amendments, there are no new official figures regarding blocked credits, though Italy’s Builders Association (ANCE) estimates that they now amount to 30 billion euros, with some 180,000 renovation projects currently stranded.

ANCE president Federica Brancaccio recently described the situation as a “socio-economic drama” that’s left countless “families and businesses in dire straits”.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Are any of Italy’s building 'bonuses' still available?

What’s even more worrying is that the banking sector has so far shown little to no improvement in its ability to deal with the issue.

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There are very few national banks buying up superbonus credits at the moment, even after they were allowed to convert part of the total value (10 percent each year) into long-term treasury bonds. 

The banks that are buying credits include Intesa San Paolo – Italy’s largest bank, responsible so far for the purchase of 18 billion euros in credits.

Milan-based UniCredit is also buying credits, but only those accrued by construction businesses and relative to 2022.

Scaffolding in Rome

Only few national banks and credit institutes have resumed buying up superbonus credits. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

Other institutes, including Credit Agricole, Banco BPM and Poste Italiane, have not yet resumed buying these credits, with all reportedly still trying to re-sell previously purchased credit to partners or other third parties.

It remains unclear when exactly these banks and others across the country will reopen to the purchase of superbonus credits.

Even Enel X – which the government previously identified as one of the main solutions to the logjam – hasn’t yet completed its planned credit trading platform, with the project expected to be finished in September.

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Besides banks and credit institutes, a number of online marketplaces such as Finanza Tech, SIBonus and InnovaCredit, are acting as financial intermediaries between sellers and buyers, though many are only dealing with credit from construction businesses at the moment. 

With no official solution in sight, an increasing number of business owners and homeowners around the country are coordinating efforts to put pressure on the government to act, for example by campaigning via the Esodati del Superbonus Facebook group, which has almost 6,000 members.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on individual cases. For more information on claiming Italy’s building bonuses, homeowners are advised to consult a qualified Italian building surveyor or independent financial advisor.

See more in our Italian property section.

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