1 euro houses in Italy: who can buy one and how does it work?


With UK property prices out of reach for many first time buyers and homeowners dreaming of a second cushion in the sun, the idea of ​​snatching up an Italian casa for 86p is intoxicating.

Several small Italian towns have made headlines for selling vacant homes for £ 1 a pop over the past two years.

But how does the program work and who is eligible to grab one of these villas in the sun?

Why is Italy selling houses for € 1?

As young Italians increasingly migrate to the city and choose cosmopolitan jobs over rural and community vocations, many of Italy’s most beautiful remote villages are abandoned, with tiny and aging populations beginning to die.

Some elderly Italians have found themselves with no one to leave their homes to, bequeathing it instead to local authorities, who must decide what to do with it, while some younger citizens have inherited properties in areas where they have no home. ‘intention to move.

Having a second home in Italy means paying taxes, so selling those unused homes cheaply can be more lucrative than keeping them.

That’s why around 25 Italian municipalities are making future homeowners an offer they can’t refuse – a house for the symbolic price of € 1.

The idea is that these improved and occupied houses in the next few years are worth more to the cities than selling them at full price.

“We don’t need new construction and excessive new construction. The strategy for improving housing and reclaiming our cultural identity is to revive small abandoned centers or to redevelop abandoned buildings, with a story that is our story ”, reads a press release from the team. of 1eurohouses.com.

Local authorities in areas such as Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzo and Campania also hope that an influx of new homeowners will boost the economy, as they buy local products, employ local construction workers, invest money. money in local places and attractions and even stimulate tourism by creating boutique hotels or bed and breakfasts.

What’s the catch?

You are not buying a shiny new villa – the houses selected for the project are often run down and in need of major structural improvements. You are investing in a home to renovate, and not in a house ready to move into.

However, the cost of renovations is still relatively low compared to other countries – in the range of € 20,000 to € 50,000 depending on the size of the property.

While most of the houses are modest village houses or cottages, some stately homes are also for sale, with a much higher price tag. The sellers of this ancient monastery outside Bologna estimates that essential renovations could cost 1.5 million euros.

Legal costs for the purchase of a house abroad can be added up to € 3,000 more, and some municipalities also ask for “guarantee costs” (from € 1,000 to € 10,000 depending on municipality and the cost of the renovation project) to prove you are committed to improving the property.

On the positive side, Italy offers a “superbonus” tax exemption for buyers that covers 110% of eligible construction expenses.

You also won’t be able to make vague promises about how to refurbish your new tile in the future – new homeowners must submit details of a refurbishment project within two to 12 months of purchase (depending on the location), begin work within one year, and complete within three.

It should also be noted that not all properties are sold for just one euro. Popular houses have become the object of a bidding war, several going for € 5,000 or even € 20,000.

It is therefore a device for people who have accumulated savings beyond the initial euro.

Who can buy a house for one euro?

“Is it true or is it a joke?” “Reads a section of the website case1euro.it, which lists the € 1 properties currently for sale in Mussomeli, 60 miles south of Palermo, Sicily.

This is not a joke. The rules differ from city to city, but in the case of Mussomeli, buyers must have the financial and practical means to:

  • Support for all expenses for drafting deeds of sale (notary, registration, transfer)
  • Prepare a property renovation project within one year of purchase, acquiring the necessary authorizations
  • Start of work within two months of the date of issuance of the building permit
  • Complete the work within three years
  • Post a ‘security policy’ deposit of £ 5,000 (£ 4,314), which they will forfeit if work does not progress within three years

In Mussomeli you can do whatever you want with the interior of the property, but you have to keep the facade as originally.

In the fine print, you have the right to renovate the property yourself or with workers of your choice.

This is the path that French buyer Morgane Guihot and her husband have taken, telling CNN in 2019: come back to life. “

Most cities that have a $ 1 house program in place have similar financial requirements – you will need to check the specific requirements of the city you want to buy in. Some require you to live in the house after the renovations, while others allow you to purchase it for use as a vacation home or as a small business like a B&B.

Buyers who do not have an Italian residence or speak Italian may face more obstacles when it comes to organizing their work and being able to use their property.

Did Brexit affect the Brits to be able to buy the houses?

People living outside the EU can still buy properties in Italy, but only as “non-residents”. This means that you pay higher taxes than the locals and can spend up to 180 days a year in your Italian home, but no more than 90 days out of 180.

To visit more regularly, it would be necessary apply for Italian residency, which involves proving that you have sufficient funds to support yourself without a job in Italy.

I’m still interested. How can I get started?

You will find € 1 houses for sale on websites such as 1eurohouses.com, case1euro.it and property-in-sicily.estate as well as on individual websites of local governments such as the Municipality of Sambuca or Citta de Troina in Sicily.

Auctions2Italy also lists a few $ 2 properties around the country, and you can find case studies and ‘How We Did It’ guides on Europe.properties.

US buyer Rubia Daniels, who bought and renovated a € 1 house in Sicily, said Travel + Leisure earlier this year, it is essential to go and see potential homes in person; as well as the examination of the foundations and the condition of the walls.

“Definitely don’t try to do it online – you have to be there to see it and experience the process to make sure you’re making a thoughtful decision,” Daniels said. “I wouldn’t do anything on the Internet. “

“You don’t want to get anything where the walls are warped because that indicates a foundation problem,” she advises.

Zones in housing plan at 1 €

Emilia Romagna

The slice of northern Italy around Bologna has homes for sale in towns such as the verdant and speckled Modigliana of ancient ruins (where you can buy the aforementioned dilapidated monastery).


The region along the coast east of Rome. Towns that raffle their vacant homes include Casoli, Santo Stefano di Sessanio and Pratola Peligna.


The spectacular volcanic slice of the coast around Naples, near Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, has a few € 1 properties for sale in places like the almost abandoned Pietramelara, which recently housed just 15 families.


Sicily is a hotbed of € 1 house projects. In addition to sleeping Mussomeli, the towns of Calatafimi Segesta, Augusta, Sambuca and Caltagirone all sell unwanted or unclaimed homes.


This northern region near Switzerland offers homes in towns like Borgomezzavalle and Albugnano, close to renowned wine regions and the wooded, open-air valley of Antrona.

The steps

The medieval town of Cantiano – a 40-minute drive from the seafront – offers € 1 houses for sale near the white pebble beaches of the Adriatic and truffle hunting sites.


Triora and Pignone are two of the areas in this region, famous for the colorful fishing villages of the Cinque Terre as well as for pesto and foccacia.


With 195,024 inhabitants, Taranto, the provincial capital of Puglia, is one of the first large-scale towns to launch a 1 Euro Case program – connecting buyers with its maritime history and excellent seafood.


The towns of Romana and Nulvi are located in the province of Sassari, outside Alghero, and have both joined the € 1 house sale program.


Montieri, Grosseto, Lucca and Vergemoli are some of the participating towns in the wine and villa paradise in Italy.


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