Faced with de-population risks, a number of villages, towns and regions in Italy have started to offer very attractive incentives to lure new residents to their communities. Since early 2019 one of the most attractive schemes, the €1 house initiative or “Casa €1” scheme lures potential new residents by offering houses for just €1 (yes, really just €1!). There are also a number of tax incentive type schemes and even regions that will pay you to go and live there, or start a business and we will cover these in separate articles.
Many Italian towns and villages have seen their populations shrink for a number of reasons. Many of the younger generations have left these places to migrate into the bigger cities to seek employment, other opportunities or to further their education. Many will never return. Italy has one of the oldest populations in the World and for decades has seen a shrinking birth rate. So it is no surprise to see that some communities are “dying out”. Fortunately many of these communities are enterprising enough to offer incentives to attract new residents, both Italian and foreigners.
So where there are derelict properties in these towns and villages the local mayor and commune are offering either permanent ownership or a fixed term occupancy in exchange for an undertaking or understanding that the properties will be renovated and made habitable and the costs involved will be borne by the new owners or occupiers.
Be under no illusion many of the properties available under these schemes will be uninhabitable and may be little more than a shell. Indeed we have viewed images of some available properties and there is just a “foot-print” where a house used to be and a pile of stones! Nothing like a “blank canvas”! However, we also read an interesting article on the CNN website about a young Australian gentlemen who acquired a stunning town house in a beautiful town in Sicily – from the pictures it looked like you could move in straight away, there even appeared to be some old furniture still in the property.
A word of caution – we have looked at a number of the schemes and there may be financial penalties if the property is not renovated and made habitable. We saw how this penalty could be as much as €10,000! So make sure you understand fully the likely costs of renovation and also any penalties that could be levied in the event of failure to complete the project within the prescribed time scale.
If you have never renovated an older building or property, it can be a very stressful experience often taking a lot longer than planned and going way over the original anticipated budget. Red-tape or bureaucracy for building permits or permissions can also hamper your project and let us not forget how sometimes it can be difficult to engage with local trades people. Combine this with a foreign language and you can envisage possible undesirable out comes!
Do look at the prices of similar sized renovated properties as although €1 purchase prices are unbelievable if you need to spend €100k to complete a project but you can get a similar completed/renovated property for just say €50k?
Anyway, now we have pointed out the negatives, who wouldn’t be tempted to get an actual house in a dreamy Italian town or village for just €1? Italy has everything for a lifestyle many can only dream of. The best food in the world? The biggest wine producing nation by output. Stunning beaches and coastline. Panoramic scenery. And not forgetting the culture, architecture and the people. Even the language is beautiful! No wonder there is the expression ‘La Dolce Vita’ which means the good life, full of pleasure and indulgence or the “sweet life”.
There are €1 house schemes all over Italy, with many in the South but also in the North for example in Piedmont and even Tuscany! Sicily and even Sardinia have €1 properties available.
We will post articles on some of the latest towns and villages to offer €1 houses and also other regions that our staff have looked in detail at properties offered.