Empty European town selling £1 homes hikes the price – but insists scheme is working

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun16,2024

A small but beautiful town managed to turn its fate around by selling off houses for £1. Sambuca, a town on the Italian island of Sicily, suffered from a dwindling population and empty houses until a few years ago.

Its local government started putting houses up for sale at a ridiculously cheap price after properties were abandoned following an earthquake.

The first auction took place in Sambuca in 2019, and saw dozens of houses being snatched by both Italians and foreigners wanting to invest in the small town.

Given this success, the scheme was repeated in 2021 – with the starting price for the homes raised from £1 to nearly £2. While someone did manage to get a property for £1, most homes were sold for averages between £4,200 and £8,400. 

A third auction of this kind, during which around 12 ultra-cheap homes ranging from one to three-bedroom properties will be on offer, is to take place soon – as tourists from around the world are flocking to Sicily to enjoy its blistering weather, outstanding food and turquoise sea.

The starting price of the homes up for grabs has risen once again, as this time it’s set at £2.50.

Five years after the first auction took place, Giuseppe Cacioppo, the newly-elected mayor of Sambuca, still hails the scheme as a success. He told CNN: “We just want to make it clear that by numbering these batches, more sales will likely follow in coming years. Foreigners are flocking to buy our homes, it’s been a hit so far.”

The homes up for grabs, he stressed, are as “structurally stable as those so far sold”, but are in need of a restyle. 

Depending on the state of the properties, the cost of renovations can be expected to go from £25,000 to £170,000.

Alongside the amount people are willing to pay during the auctions to snatch one of these Sicilian properties, prospective owners also need to put down a £4,200 deposit guarantee to secure the home after winning the bid, and need to complete the renovation works within three years.

The auctions have managed to put Sambuca on the map and brought new homeowners to the town.

But they were also successful in injecting some £17million into the local economy given the need for more contractors, architects and designers to fix up the properties. They also prompted the opening of new B&Bs and shops. 

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *