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You Can Buy a House in Italy, Right Now, for Just €1

Homes in rural Italy are selling for just €1 – but how can they cost so little? and is the offer as good as it sounds?

Some €1 houses listed in Sambuca, Italy.
Municipality of Sambuca di Sicilia / The Local

20 towns in rural parts of Italy have listed abandoned properties for next to nothing. Are these the perfect fixer-upper homes?

Of all European countries, Italy was the earliest – and one of the worst – sufferers of the COVID-19 pandemic. But since this July, and after a vast reduction in the country’s case rate, its government has been restarting a sensational scheme which sells rural properties from just one euro. 

Back in 2019, towns and villages such as Sambuca, Mussomeli, and Cinquefrondi launched the scheme due to large numbers of younger residents moving in search of better job opportunities elsewhere.

Business Insider explains that there are a few added costs for a renewal project like this.

In the town of Sambuca, the population has decreased by a huge 30% since the 1950s. Further estimates suggest that as many as one million Italians have left the country in the last 20 years, which has left behind plenty of empty houses that now need some TLC.

By encouraging people to move to these areas, Italy not only hopes to restore some of the derelict buildings in these towns, but it also hopes to boost local economies, which have struggled as a result of the mass migration.

So, What’s The Catch?

These houses really have been listed for €1 – but they are sold via auction, and this is just the starting price. As expected, bids often come from a variety of potential buyers. Most of the homes sell for a few thousand euros, and there are added costs like flights and a hell of a lot of renovating to bear in mind. There’s also a deposit to pay, but this can be refunded if you start working on the house within a year.

Given some time, effort, and spending, though, this initiative seems like an affordable way to secure a holiday retreat for life.

Cinquefrondi, which is part of the southern region of Calabria, and a seller of €1 properties, has declared itself a “COVID-free village”. Its mayor, Michele Condia, is a huge advocate of the scheme, which he calls ‘Operation Beauty’. He sees the town’s absence of cases as a unique selling point for those concerned over the spread of the disease.

Buyers in Cinquefrondi may have to fork out around €10,000 to €20,000 in renewal costs, though, and they could also face a considerable fine of up to €20,000 if they don’t start work on the property within 3 years.

Better get going, then!

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