Sambuca di Sicilia has 6,000 inhabitants, Source: Depositphotos

Inflation hits again: Italian town now sells houses for 3 euros

Inflation hits again: Italian town now sells houses for 3 euros

Sambuca di Sicilia was among the first towns to initiate the ‘1-euro house’ concept

Sambuca di Sicilia, located on the island of Sicily as evident from its name, was one of the first Italian towns to start offering 1-euro houses for sale as means to fight the phenomenon of rural depopulation and exodus of young people. The small town is once again in the news in relation to that programme with the announcement that it has raised the asking price to 3 euros.

It may not seem like much, but if you think about it in percentage terms – that’s a 300% markup! However, that’s not entirely correct either, as the previous batch programme in the town offered houses for 2 euros. It looks like inflation has been slowly creeping up and now it seems anachronistic to buy a house priced the same as any item in a dollar thrift store.

The current batch features 12 properties up for grabs and the town authorities, based on their experience with the previous two sell-off programmes that interest will be high once again, despite the slight price surge.

What has made the Sambuca 1-euro house programme more successful?

Referring to these selloffs as 1-euros houses may now be technically incorrect in Sambuca but what’s interesting is that the Sicilian town has done much better in terms of attracting residents and investments than other Italian towns that have tried similar methods.

The reason behind this is that in Sambuca, the town council actually owns many abandoned properties, following a destructive earthquake that struck in 1968. That way, the authorities could dispose of them freely at will, whereas in other towns the authorities have been having a hard time tracking all the heirs of abandoned properties who had moved to larger cities or abroad.

3 euros, however, is only the initial price from which candidates can start outbidding each other at the auction. Although the local mayor claims that the houses are structurally sound, the reality is that they are in need of renovation or a makeover, which can cost anywhere between 30,000 and 200,000 euros.

In this latest auction, homes will be sold to the highest bidder, with bids placed in sealed envelopes and opened in front of a judge. Bidders also need to prepare a 5,000-euro deposit, which the winner will have to sacrifice as a guarantee.

The 1-euro houses idea has been a success locally not only because of these properties, however. People who had failed to win at previous auctions have nevertheless opted to buy other houses in Sambuca – altogether 250 houses have been sold in recent years.



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