Are in Italy selling houses for 1 euro?

Is it true that in Italy it is possible to buy houses for 1 euro?
Yes, but it’s not as easy as it seems.
That’s why today we explain how it works.

We start with Sambuca.

A little over a week ago, in fact, the Italian magazine Elle Decor announced: “Houses for two euros in Trinacria: the second round of Sambuca in Sicily.”
In fact, after the success of the “1 euro houses” in 2019, the small Italian municipality, in the summer of 2021, relaunched the initiative, doubling (!) in this case the price.

Founded by the Arabs in 830 with the name of Zabuth, the Sicilian town, which has less than six thousand inhabitants and gives its name to the famous anise liquor, in 2019 had in fact put up for sale about fifteen structures for one euro and the initiative has gone around the world.
CNN had taken up the issue and hence the initiative had become a success.


“In the 48 hours after the story was published, the city was inundated with tens of thousands of inquiries from people waiting in the Italian rural dream,” Silvia Marchetti explained for CNN two years ago. There were about 38 thousand emails to manage and calls from all over the world: some interested in business possibilities, others tempted by the realization of that dream.

For this reason, a few days ago, CNN returned to the topic, launching the sale of another 20 buildings located in the historic center of Sambuca, a town in the province of Agrigento, not far from Palermo.

“The houses for sale for two euros,” explains Marchetti, “include a selection of single-family homes, on one floor, of 50 to 80 square meters, with small Moorish-style interior patios, adorned with lemon trees.”
Officially started on July 15, the “sale” phase will end on November 5, but this time, according to the American newspaper, whoever decides to buy will find themselves in front of a town revitalized by the first tranche of sales: “Immersed among the vineyards, in a nature reserve surrounded by splendid beaches, forests and mountains, the Sicilian city will soon be full of art workshops, artisan boutiques, photography laboratories and bars.”

The objective, furthermore, is precisely this: to bring life back to the small abandoned towns, which abound especially in the south.
And the chosen tool is undoubtedly welcoming: the possibility of buying a house at a low cost and “living the dream” of a house in the most authentic Italy.
In this case, however, a stone’s throw from the superb Valley of the Temples, an archaeological site of extraordinary beauty and incalculable value.


But do houses really cost 1 or 2 euros?
Not quite.

According to CNN, for example, the first tranche of buildings was actually sold at a cost ranging between 5 and 10 thousand euros, reaching in some cases 25 thousand euros.
The houses, in fact, are offered to the market according to the mechanism of the purchase proposal, with a minimum offer that in this case was precisely 1 euro.
But structures are allocated to whoever makes the highest bid.

Not only.
Buyers must also guarantee the renovation of the building and coverage of bureaucratic and notarial expenses.
In the last notice published by the Sambuca City Council, for example, interested parties must present a guarantee deposit of 5 thousand euros, which will be returned when the sale is formalized, or upon completion of the rehabilitation works.
Failure to renovate the building within the established period of three years, in fact, causes the cancellation of the sale and the transfer of the building to those who have made the second best offer.

So much for the economic issue.
Regarding the requirements, first of all it is necessary to clarify that, in this case, the transfer of residence is not required, nor is it necessary to be an Italian citizen.

Anyone interested in buying a house in Sambuca can therefore visit the corresponding section (in Italian and English) of the City Hall website, see the advertisement, the houses for sale, as well as the suggestive promotional video made by the Municipality to “tell” Sambuca.


But, in addition to Sambuca, as we have said, there are many Italian municipalities that, in recent years, have joined the initiative, so much so that a website has also been dedicated to the topic:

From this site you can access the long list of locations where it is possible to buy under similar conditions.
Many, as you can see, are the municipalities of Sicily, but northern and central Italy and Sardinia also answer the call.

The page, also available in English, explains that, in general, the structures belong to individuals and the city council limits itself to promoting the initiative, subject to regular authorization and agreement with the owners, who are not interested in the property.
The advantage of the City Council is, of course, the revitalization of the territory, as well as the fight against urban deterioration generated by buildings that normally need renovation, security and beautification.

That’s why the renovation project is generally a conditio sine qua non of the purchase.
And the project, of course, must be approved by the competent offices.

As we have seen, a deposit or bond is usually required to secure the offer.
Regarding restructuring, however, it certainly seems interesting to inquire into the bonuses often offered by the Italian government, which in some cases allow the amount invested to be fully recovered.

In the case of foreign citizens, it is necessary to have a tax code (issued by the Tax Agency) to pay taxes: from abroad it is possible to request it at Italian consulates around the world.
If you need a visa or apply for residency, obviously its granting or need depends on the country of origin, with obviously very few problems in the case of citizens of EU countries.

So what do you think? Have you decided to buy your house in Italy?
Contact us for any advice and information for your home decorating project!

Emmanuel Raffaele Maraziti

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