Italian towns and villages regularly announce that they’re selling off old properties for less than the price of a coffee in a bid to reverse depopulation.
In fact, so many towns in Italy are now competing to offload their old houses that some are adding extra benefits to lure buyers away from their rivals.
The latest place to try the one euro house scheme is Pratola Peligna in Abruzzo.
Just half an hour from the ski resort of Roccaraso and the same distance from the coastal town of Pescara is this small and charming municipality, in the province of l’Aquila.
Albeit a small area with some 7250 inhabitants, there’s a lot uninhabited space, so the authorities are hoping to lure in newcomers with some enticing real estate deals.
Town mayor Antonella Di Nino said, “Our municipality suffered the indirect effects of the L’Aquila earthquake, so we immediately set to work to reactivate the necessary procedures to receive funding to rebuild individual buildings or building aggregates,” reported property and finance site Idealista.
Out of around 600 buildings, they found that 40% were abandoned.
They also discovered that many properties were sitting vacant as they couldn’t trace their owners. Some were still listed under the name of citizens born in the 1890s and in other cases, property owners had died and the inheritance had never been taken.
To reinvigorate the town and give people the chance to get their hands on a deal, they thought to offer these properties at a sale of one euro.
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The houses offered in such schemes need a lot of work, and come with terms and conditions attached.
Many towns ask for deposits of several thousand euros, and the final price of buying and restructuring such a property will of course end up being far higher than one euro.
However plenty of people seem to think the houses are still good value, as towns announcing these deals are always flooded with enquiries from would-be investors and second home owners from all over the world.
If you’re curious about the idea, here’s a list of some of the towns in Italy currently offering houses for sale for just a euro. The interactive map below provides an extensive rundown of one euro houses currently on sale throughout Italy.
Source: Case a 1 euro
A small town deep in the heart of Sicily, the local authorities want to enhance and recover the town’s neglected and abandoned buildings.
As in the other Italian towns and villages offering properties for next to nothing, Bivona’s young people have left in search of work elsewhere, leaving the area depopulated and in danger of soon becoming a ghost town.
The Sicilian town, which has just 3,800 residents, offers its one euro scheme with an added bonus.
To beat the competition from other towns offering the same deal, Bivona is easing buying restrictions and offering tax bonuses for those who buy one of a dozen empty and dilapidated properties in the town.
More information about the properties available and the buying requirements is available, partly in English, here.
The terms and conditions buyers must agree to include paying a €2,500 deposit and declaring their intended use of the property, which can be anything from a family home to a holiday rental property, or even a craft workshop.
This town is hoping to attract families and groups of friends to buy a couple of bargain properties between them.
The picturesque town of Bisaccia, in an inland part of Italy’s southern Campania region, is started to put dilapidated buildings on the market for a euro last year, in hopes of reviving the community.
But unlike other towns offering such deals for people committing to renovations, Bisaccia’s officials say its tightly-clustered buildings would suit more communal projects. Find out more on the official website listing the bargain homes.
This larger town in Sicily focused on making it easy for prospective foreign buyers to find their dream one euro home, by creating a multilingual estate agency to process its own one-euro home deals.
The unusually modern website features an interactive map that has detailed information on each building – and even more surprisingly, it’s all in English. The houses on offer are mainly abandoned stone cottages, in varying states of disrepair.
One of the houses for sale in Mussomeli. Photo: Comune di Mossomeli
Again, a deposit is required – €5,000 this time – plus a a €400 fee payable to the estate agency if a house is purchased (or €500 if you buy a house over one euro).
For that, the agency will take you on a tour of the homes and the local area as well as organising the necessary paperwork.
The site says they’re currently receiving thousands of emails, so you might need to be patient if this is the place you want to be a homeowner.
Most of these towns are in Sicily, and another option on the southern island is Cammarata, a town of 6,000 in the province of Argingento, which started advertised properties on sale for €1 last year.
Here’s an English-language website which facilitates the sale of the houses in this area.
The deputy mayor of this small Sicilian village got more than he bargained for after announcing the town was selling off 17 houses for one euro each.
He said he was “trying not to go mad” after receiving calls around the clock from potential buyers – many of them in English, which he says he has a limited command of.
New owners must commit to refurbishing their property within three years with costs starting from €15,000 (£12,800), plus a €5,000 security deposit.
Sambuca’s official website gives a glimpse of the thousands of queries the village says it has been fielding ever since its offer took off, for example: “Do I have to be an Italian citizen to buy real estate?” (No.) “Must I transfer residency to Sambuca after buying real estate?” (No.)
The FAQs also state that if more than one buyer wants the same property, the highest bidder gets priority – which suggests that you could find yourself stumping up a lot more than €1 if you want to secure your Sicilian home.
This town, once known as “La piccola Napoli” (Little Naples), but now with just 2,000 inhabitants, tried to tempt people to move there back in 2018, offering a welcome bonus of €800 for individuals and €2,000 for couples with children.
“Let’s recover the historic centre” is the project for the one euro homes in 2021 to reverse Italy’s depopulation trend and to refresh surroundings that have been left to degrade.
The administration of the Apulian town has released a public notice to ask owners to hand over their dilapidated properties for the scheme.
You can find the rules of the scheme here.
This tiny rural village in the Campania region, near Naples and the Amalfi Coast, has continued to offer old houses for next nothing.
Their latest batch of available one euro property deals can be found here.
Would-be buyers are encouraged to download and complete an application form on the site, at which point they need to pledge to renovate the house they want within three years, and give details of plans for their new property.
There are tax deductions available of up to 85 percent for renovation work. But of course, there’s a catch. You’ll need to be able to get started within just a few months, and pay a refundable €2,000 security deposit.
See the full list of Italian towns currently offering houses for sale for one euro here.
Please note: The Local cannot help you to buy any of these houses. Please address all enquiries to the relevant estate agency. But do let us know if you decide to make an offer!