We've all heard about how small Italian villages – and even one city – are selling off unloved old houses for a euro in a bid to attract new residents.
But now one town in southern Italy has come up with what it says is a better way of countering the problem of depopulation.
While the €1 home deals have been a success across Italy, with buyers from far and wide committing to investing in extensive renovation works, there are concerns that buyers are just snapping up cheap holiday homes, which will then be left empty for much of the year – doing little to solve the town's problems.
The location of Teora. Screenshot: Google Maps
The town of Teora, in the Campania region, is instead offering a contribution towards the cost of either renting or buying a house in the town.
Set in the wild, inland province of Irpinia, Teora in is about a two-hour drive from the Amalfi Coast or the city of Naples.
Teora. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Teoravventura
Many residents left Teora following a devastating earthquake in 1980, and the population is now down to just 1,500.
Teora's local council has offered a contribution of 150 euros per month towards the rent for two years, or a one-time payment of 5,000 euros towards buying a home.
The average local rent in Teora is already very low, at around 200 euros per month for a house, and reports in CNN and other outlets say new residents may need to pay just 50 euros monthly for the rent on their new home.
The average cost of monthly rent in Italy is around 600 euros.
Mayor Stefano Farina told CNN: “I don't believe in selling empty houses for €1, that doesn't incentivise people to stay in town.”
“They just come a few months a year as holidaymakers. That's not the solution. But taking up residency and enrolling kids at the local school, that does breathe new life.”
To make sure that doesn't happen in Teora, people benefitting from the scheme will need to take up residency in Teora for at least three years, and the offer is only open to people with one or more children.
While many one euro homes need serious renovations, the homes in Teora are said to have been recently rebuilt following the earthquake.
Residential buildings in Teora. Photo: Michele Notaro/Comune di Teora
The town has also said it would waive school meal fees and taxes on local services for new residents.
And the offer is open to non-Italians who are prepared to make the move.
“So far two Italian families have settled down and one from Brazil with Italian roots,” Farina said.
The initiative got a mostly positive reaction from the town's residents on a local Facebook group, though one criicised the idea as “ridiculous” and said the money should go to investing in local small businesses instead.
For more information, please contact the municipality of Teora through the official website. Please note The Local cannot help you apply for this scheme. But do let us know if you decide to move!