House for 1 euro – to buy or not to buy?

House for 1 euro – to buy or not to buy?

As Russian villages become empty, Italian villages and small towns are losing residents in the same way. How many of these, especially unremarkable - medieval walls, towers, stone houses? — Hundreds and hundreds. The spirit of true Italy is here, far from the tour itineraries.

The residents prefer to live in new buildings - modern design, amenities, industrialization, globalization, and so on ... And in the historical part, many houses are either for sale or abandoned, and sometimes even completely destroyed ...

In order to attract people, the municipalities put up the abandoned apartments and whole houses for sale at a price of 1 euro. Anyone can buy, including a foreigner. It seems great! However, your joy could be short-lived.

So, there are 15 such municipalities today. From north to south: Borgomezzavalle, Carrega Ligure, Fabbric di Vergemoli, Cantiano, Montieri, Lecce-nei-Marsi, Patrica, Zungoli, Gangi, Regalbuto, Mussomeli, Sambuca, Salemi, Ollolai and Nulvi.

Having become the owner of a real estate, you take the obligations to repair it in time (from six months to three years) to such a state that you can get a certificate of compliance with the living premises. Transfer of a house or apartment deed to a new owner can take from a couple of weeks to several months. Replacing the entire wiring in a small apartment by a certified specialist (hiring a jobbing workman - it just doesn't work that way) will cost you six thousand euros. Taking into account other works, the renovation will cost you 30 thousand euros. If you do not meet the deadline, the ‘real estate’ will be confiscated.

The bureaucracy is terrible. You can’t just plaster the wall. First, you need to draw up a work plan and estimate, get them approved by … (a long list of authorities), certify them by (...), etc. At the same time, the appearance of the building should remain the same.

In 2014, Gangi in the province of Palermo was recognized as the most beautiful ‘borgo’ (small town) in Italy. At the same time, the historical centre of this Sicilian town was practically depopulated. So, the mayor came up with the idea of giving up the abandoned buildings for free, with the condition of their renovation at the expense of those who would purchase them. So did the heads of other Sicilian towns - Regalbuto and Salemi.

After the world media told about the situation in these communes in 2016, requests began to arrive from around the world. The Anglo-Saxons and Germans topped the list of requests. A couple of Scots, Dan and Jillian, had had an idea for a long time to have a house near the warm sea, and they recently acquired a home in Sambuca in the province of Agrigento. “I learned about this from the Internet. I looked at the map, wrote to the City Hall, went there and bought a house. And before, I didn’t even know where this Sicily was located,” Dan confessed.

The Belgians Nina and Bert at first thought that they would buy a house in Mussomeli as a ‘distant summer cottage’ and would come there for vacations. Over time, they made new friends in the town and now they live here permanently. To crown it all, they got married in a local church in September.

The success of selling a house for 1 euro is different everywhere. In some places, the new residents moved in and enjoy the sea, wine, and tangerines, in other places, the renovated apartments are rented out to tourists. "At present, 200 such buildings have been sold to Italians and foreigners across the country," said realtor Maurizio Berti. In other places, things have failed to gain traction. But the authorities are not discouraged, and, perhaps, soon we will see the expansion of the list of ‘borghi’, where you can get a ‘casa’ (house) for 1 euro.

In recent years, the number of foreign tourists has significantly increased in Italy. Many of them, having visited this - as it seemed to them - sun-soaked paradise, make their decision to settle there forever. This is to the advantage of the local owners of ‘excess’ housing (the growth of the indigenous population in Italy is negative). Experts on the Apennines have established a direct relationship between the indicators of tourist flows and the numbers of sales transactions.

The Germans, British and the Americans buy the houses in the picturesque Tuscany and the beautiful Liguria. The number of foreigners wishing to purchase ‘casa’ in Italy is constantly growing. The Russians rank fourth in the list of foreign purchasers, according to the Italian real estate transactions’ sites. Behind the Russians, there are the Swedes, Dutch, Germans, French, Chinese, Arabs.

Foreigners buy the real estate in Italy in the whole range of categories, but still all sorts of ‘luxury’ and ‘prestige’ real estate are prevailing. Well, who needs a ‘studio apartment’ in the factory quarter of Milan? The more expensive the villa or penthouse is, the more likely it is that a foreigner will buy it. Unfortunately, the purchasing power of the Italians themselves has fallen sharply in recent years.

A great number of specialized sites offer the real estate to the buyers in Italy. Moreover, the offers are in 10 foreign languages - the main Western European ones, Russian, Swedish, Chinese. The Brazilians, Argentines, Israelis, Turks, Indians open their wallets to purchase the Italian real estate. In total – the people from 152 countries.

The foreign buyers are from 55 to 64 years old. And mostly these are high social status men.

The ‘cream’ are the above-mentioned areas of Tuscany and Liguria, Lombardy (mainly the shores of the lakes of Garda, Como, Lago Maggiore and others), Apulia on the ‘heel’, Abruzzo (lost in the Apennine mountain range and overlooking the Adriatic Sea) and, of course, the islands of Sardinia and Sicily. As you see, the people invest in especially picturesque places, where landscapes are beautiful, and where it is easier to sell a real estate if necessary.

The classic purchase (77 percent of requests) is a cozy house (villa, vacation home, farmhouse) in the countryside, with a mandatory breathtaking view, it’s better - with a pool, garden, and even much better - with a dozen hectares of vineyards. 22 percent are happy to have an apartment, but the beautiful landscape remains a prerequisite.