You Can Buy an Italian Villa for $1 — With a Catch

Have you ever imagined leaving the rat race behind and living the life of an expatriate in Italy?

Many people do. Italy’s population of 61 million includes about 5 million expatriates.

Although Italy has a stressed and contracting economy, tourism is a cash cow industry. More than 76 million foreigners visit Italy annually.

Now, numerous Italian municipalities are strategizing ways to get foreign influxes of capital injected into their local economies.

For example, hundreds of historic buildings, properties, and structures are being offered for sale to foreigners for 1 euro, about $1.14, each.

Yes, you can now buy an Italian villa for $1. However, as with most things in life, there is always a catch.

The $1 villa project

The concept of selling Italian villas for $1 to prospective foreign buyers is not a new concept. Italian municipalities representing small towns have been selling abandoned houses, buildings, lighthouses, and railway stations for a buck since 2016.

The $1 properties can be viewed and bought via the website “1€ Houses – Cheap houses in Italy.” Around 200 properties have been sold to date.

The properties range in sizes between 430 square feet up to 1,600 square feet. You will find these $1 properties for sale mostly in small towns, villages, and hamlets.

Places such as Zungoli in Campania, Cantiano in Le Marche, Ollolai in Sardinia, and Sambuca in Sicily.

The properties have been put up for sale for various reasons. For one thing the country’s distressed economy is dramatically lowering property values in less prosperous parts of the country.

Also, many small towns are trying to protect their heritage, their way of life, reinvigorate local economies, and dissuade youth flight. More than 1 million Italians, mostly young people, have fled the south in the past two decades to seek better employment opportunities in northern cities such as Milan and Rome.

Here’s the catch

Almost all of the $1 properties have been abandoned and are in stark, crumbling states of disrepair. Renovation costs can range between $17,000 and $125,000.

Interested parties must pay security deposits as high as $5,600 and submit renovation proposals to the selling municipality.

Most of the municipalities are interested in foreigners looking to bankroll and launch tourism friendly establishments via their $1 purchase, such as opening a restaurant, B&B, and the like.

So it’s a challenge and a bargain all at once — sitting in the Italian sun and waiting for you.