A house for 1 euro

A house for 1 euro

The latest Sicilian comune to offer houses for 1 euro is Sambuca, a hill town above Agrigento.

It’s an inviting prospect, but it’s better to keep your feet on the ground. The house will cost you 1 euro, you will have leave a deposit of 5000 euros and guarantee to do all the restoration work within 3 years – at your cost.

It still sounds appealing, but looking at the dozen or so houses for sale by the comune it’s not difficult to see why.  They are largely properties abandoned during the great emigration of the 1920’s and 30’s and have been abandoned for decades.   They are mainly one up, one down and nothing out the back – so your costs of restoration are to sort out sewage, water, electrics, roof, install a kitchen and bathroom, and make sure the building is modernised according to the current law on seismic activity.   You cannot do this work yourself.  You must use a builder who has certification and is approved by the comune.  You will need a professional to do all the paperwork and sign off on the works (and take his 10%),  and you will need a translator.    National law takes precedence and then the Beni Culturali in Sicily who will tell you what you can and can’t do.  Adding terraces, putting in windows etc will not be permitted.    At the end of this you will have a house in a place which has cost you above market value, with a terrible resale market.  After all people want a house for a euro, not for the tens of thousands of euros you have spent.

Sambuca is a pretty little town of 5000 inhabitants.  It is in one the most depressed areas of Sicily and lacks infrastructure, services and utilities.  Sicilians have been leaving for decades.

You can buy a little house in most parts of Sicily that is habitable and in a place with a resale market for less than you will have paid in Sambuca, Gangi or Salemi.  Closer to the sea (which most people want) and closer to airports and travel hubs.    It will have a dependable water and electricity supply and local services.