April has seen another Italian town formally announce they are launching a batch of houses for just €1. Castiglione di Sicilia is in the province of Catania and close to Parco dell’Etna. Located about an hour’s drive from Catania and its airport. The town is in the East of Sicily and approximately 40 minutes’ drive to the coast.
Wine lovers should note that this town is surrounded by vineyards and producers. Here they grow a number of indigenous grapes. The proximity to Mount Etna means dark volcanic soil and the area is dotted with lava caves nestled between pine forests.
The mayor, Antonino Camarda estimates there are about 900 abandoned houses in the town. The houses in the poorest conditions will be sold for €1, other properties in better condition will be sold cheaply with prices starting as low as €5,000.00.
This makes the town extremely attractive, as many €1 house schemes involve you having to spend an awful lot of money to renovate the house. Think new roof, floors, electrics, doors, windows, bathroom, kitchen, plumbing and rendering of walls. Also, most €1 houses we have looked at are typically in alleys in a medieval town so this makes a renovation more costly and difficult, if not sometimes almost impossible. If you need a substantial quantity of concrete for, say a new ground floor just getting it to the house will be a real challenge.
Anyway, for a lot of potential buyers of €1 houses it makes much more sense to buy a cheap houses that doesn’t need a full renovation, maybe just some cosmetic improvement – this really can be the most cost effective way of getting a small property in Italy.
Mayor Camarda has said there are circa 400 properties in the town that require minimal renovation. He has stated that for properties that attract a lot of interest there may be an auction with the highest bidder securing the house.
For the €1 houses offered renovations need to be completed within a three-year period and the house deemed habitable. There is no deposit required, instead purchasers of the €1 houses need to take out an indemnity guarantee policy for €4,000 from a bank or insurance company which may cost around €100 per year (this may be difficult or impossible if you are not in Italy?). It should also be noted that renovations can qualify for income tax credits whereby costs can be deducted against income tax payments in the year that work is carried out.