There are 20 properties carrying the €1 price tag in Gangi, a 12th-century village in Palermo province. As the years have passed the number of villagers has fallen to around 7,000, as Italians move away in search of work.
Now local authorities are trying to revitalize the village, by drawing foreigners in to take over the abandoned homes. But for Marie Wester, the Sicilian Houses broker selling the properties abroad, Gangi remains “a local secret”.
“Municipalities often don’t have the skills to market properties abroad, but they want some life there,” she told The Local.
Wester described the one-bedroom properties as being in “bad condition”, because they have either been abandoned by emigres or donated to the municipality by locals who can no longer afford the upkeep.
“They want foreigners to come in and take over the properties, because there isn’t much work around here so people are moving away. It’s a beautiful project,” she said.
In addition to the €1 price, Wester was clear that there are other costs involved. Purchasing costs amount to around €6,000, which she said was the norm for buying any property in Sicily.
Buyers also have to agree to renovating the property within five years, with the higher costs coming with structural work.
“You need to have someone to fix the roof, the floors, the sewage and water. These more difficult things would cost around €35,000, then the rest you can do yourself and have a house that’s completely like new!” Wester said.
Aside from having a bargain property, she said picking up a €1 townhouse also brings people to the “authentic Sicily”.
“It’s fabulous. You have the old-fashioned way of life; people are friendlier and the food is excellent!
“If you go to a place like Gangi, you have friends immediately and become the centre of attention. People come to help. You will be part of the community, not a stranger,” Wester said.
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For more information about the Gangi properties, please contact Sicilian Houses directly.