With UK property prices out of reach for many first-time buyers and homeowners dreaming of a second pad in the sun, the idea of buying an Italian casa for 86p is attractive.
Several small towns in Italy have made headlines in recent years by selling vacant houses for just one euro each.
But how does this scheme work and who is eligible to snag these bargain holiday homes in the sun?
Why does Italy sell houses for 1 euro?
As young Italians increasingly move to cities and choose international jobs over rural and community jobs, many of Italy’s most beautiful and remote villages are abandoned and small, aging populations decline. It’s starting to happen.
Some elderly people in Italy find themselves with no one to entrust their homes to and instead bequeath their homes to local authorities, who then have to decide what to do with them, while others find themselves in areas they do not intend to move to. There are also young citizens who have inherited real estate.
read more: What is it really like to buy a house through Italy’s 1 Euro housing scheme?
Owning a vacation home in Italy means paying taxes, so selling these unused homes cheaply can be more profitable than holding onto them.
That’s why around 25 Italian municipalities are offering potential homeowners an offer they can’t refuse: a house at a symbolic price of 1 euro.
The idea is that improving and living in these homes over the next few years will be worth more to the town than selling them off at list price.
“We don’t need new construction or new overbuilding. Strategies to improve the housing environment and restore cultural identity should either revive abandoned small centres, or replace buildings in a state of dereliction with our The idea is to redevelop it with a story that will become history,” the 1eurohouses.com team said in a statement.
Local governments in regions such as Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzo and Campania are also buying local produce, hiring local construction workers, pumping money into local venues and tourist attractions, and even investing in new housing. The hope is that the influx of owners will stimulate the economy, as well as boutique hotels and B&Bs.
What is the problem?
You’re not buying a shiny new vacation home. The homes selected for this program are often old and in need of major structural improvements. You’re investing in a fixer-upper instead of getting a move-in ready home.
However, renovation costs are still relatively low compared to other countries, ranging from 20,000 to 50,000 euros, depending on the size of the property.
Most of the homes are modest village homes or cottages, but there are also some stately homes for sale with quite hefty price tags. The sellers of this former convent on the outskirts of Bologna estimate that essential renovations could cost €1.5 million.
Legal costs when buying a home abroad can add up to €3,000, and some municipalities charge a ‘guarantee fee’ (€1,000 depending on the city and the cost of the renovation project) to prove the evidence. (up to 10,000 euros). You are committed to improving the property.
On the positive side, Italy offers buyers a ‘superbonus’ tax exemption scheme that covers 110% of eligible construction expenditure.
Nor can vague promises to renovate the new pad in the future. The new owner must submit details of the renovation project within two to 12 months (depending on location) of purchase and begin work within. It will be completed within one year, the next he will be completed within three years.
Please also note that not all properties end up selling for just 1 euro. Popular homes are the subject of bidding wars, with some selling for €5,000 and even €20,000.
So this is a scheme for people who have some savings beyond their first euro.
Who can buy a house for 1 euro?
“Is it true or are you kidding?” read the section of the website case1euro.it, which lists a €1 property currently for sale in Mussomeli, 90 miles south of Palermo, Sicily .
It’s not a joke. Rules vary from town to town, but in the case of Mussomeli, the purchaser must have the financial and practical means to:
- We will support you with all costs associated with creating a deed of sale (notary public, registration, transfer).
- Prepare a property renovation project and obtain the necessary permits within one year of purchase
- Please start construction within two months from the date of issuance of the building permit.
- Complete construction within 3 years
- A ‘deposit’ of £5,000 (£4,314) will be put down, but this money will be lost if the work does not progress within three years.
In Mussomeli, you can decorate the property in any way you like, but the facade must remain in its original appearance.
The small print further states that you have the right to renovate the property yourself or with workers of your choice.
This is the path taken by French buyer Morganne Guiot and her husband, who told CNN in 2019: Become alive again. ”
Most towns with a €1 housing scheme have similar financial requirements. You will need to check the specific requirements of the town you wish to purchase from. Some towns require you to live in the home after it is renovated, while others allow you to purchase the home. Purchase with the intention of using it as a holiday home or as a small business such as a B&B.
Buyers who do not have Italian residency or who do not speak Italian may encounter more hurdles when organizing their work or making use of their property.
Has Brexit affected Brits’ ability to buy a home?
People living outside the EU can also buy property in Italy, but only as “non-residents”. This means you pay higher taxes than locals and can spend up to 180 days a year in your Italian home, but no more than 90 days out of 180.
To visit more regularly, you will need to apply for Italian residency, including proving that you have sufficient funds to support yourself without working in Italy.
I’m still interested. How do I get started?
Homes for 1 euro are on sale on websites such as 1eurohouses.com, case1euro.it, property-in-sicily.estate, and on the websites of municipalities such as Sicily’s Sambuca commune and Città de Troina.
Auctions2Italy also lists some domestic €2 properties, and you can find case studies and ‘how we did it’ guides at Europe.properties.
said Rubia Daniels, an American buyer who bought and renovated a 1-euro home in Sicily. travel + leisure Earlier this year it was announced that it was mandatory to go see potential homes in person. The condition of the foundation and walls will also be inspected.
“Don’t ever try to do it online. You need to be there and experience the process to be sure you’re making a careful decision,” Daniels says. “We don’t do anything over the Internet.”
“You don’t want to get anything where the walls are bowed, because that indicates a problem with the foundation,” she advises.
Areas with a 1 euro housing scheme
In the parts of northern Italy around Bologna, homes are for sale in towns such as Modigliana, dotted with lush ancient ruins (where the aforementioned dilapidated monastery is available for purchase).
A region along the coast east of Rome. Towns that hold a lottery for vacant houses include Casoli, Santo Stefano di Sessanio and Pratola Periña.
On the dramatic volcanic coastline around Naples, close to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, properties such as the near-ruined Pietramelara, where only 15 families live these days, are selling for €1.
Sicily is a hotbed of 1 euro housing projects. As well as sleepy Mussomeli, the towns of Calatafimi Segesta, Augusta, Sambuca and Caltagirone are all selling unwanted or unclaimed homes.
In this northern region close to Switzerland, you’ll find homes in towns such as Borgomezzavalle and Albugnano, close to the famous wine region and the outdoor tree-filled Antonona Valley.
In the medieval town of Cantiano, a 40-minute drive from the seaside, houses are sold for €1, near white pebble Adriatic beaches and truffle-hunting spots.
Toriola and Pignone are two regions in the region, famous for Cinque Terre’s colorful fishing villages, pesto and focaccia.
Talent, the capital of Puglia with a population of 195,024, was one of the first large towns to launch the 1 Euro Case scheme, introducing buyers to its maritime history and excellent seafood.
The towns of Romana and Nurvi, located in the province of Sassari on the outskirts of Alghero, are both participating in the plan to sell houses for 1 euro.
Montieri, Grosseto, Lucca and Vergemoli are some of the towns that participate in Italy’s sacred wine and villa haven.