You may have seen on the news recently that some Italian villages have offers for as little as 1 euro.
The villages are mostly in less sought after areas and are suffering as the locals have migrated to other places in Italy and the EU. Young people leave to study, look for work or broaden their horizons. As a result, about 2,500 Italian villages are quickly turning into ghost villages, despite their charm and attractiveness.
The local authorities of these villages are in desperate need of new residents, not only in order to support the remaining local residents, but also in order to preserve the buildings, most of which are of historical interest and must be protected.
Buying a house for 1 euro in such circumstances comes with the condition that buyers have to renovate the houses and live in them for a while, while those who can offer work to local residents are very welcome.
The idea of opening small businesses like patisseries, Airbnbs, workshops, etc. seems to appeal to more romantic Europeans, but with 750,000 immigrants currently living in Italy, alternative places to live are being sought.
Those who want to take advantage of this opportunity should be aware that they will require significant additional investment depending on the amount of repairs needed. The investigating journalist estimated that, in addition to the purchase price, an additional sum of at least €50,000 was required to make the small one-bedroom apartment livable.
Can we copy this plan to try and revive some of our distant and dying villages? Definitely not, as there are no units for 1 euro on the market, even in ruins. Locals do not sell their property, no matter what condition it is in, unless they receive an offer at or above the market price.
In addition, it is necessary to take into account the attitude of the local population towards immigrants. Look at villages like Tala, Emba and others where the concentration of refugees has provoked local reactions, protests and, in some cases, violence.
It seems Italians are more willing to get rid of the expense and hassle that such derelict buildings create.
In addition, Cyprus offers several incentives to live in the countryside, especially for the conservation of buildings, it offers grants, long-term loans, lower energy bills and so on. Other incentives include grants to set up workshops.
Note that this is easier said than done, as there are problems with schools, entertainment, and so on, which repels young families and those who return to such villages.
It is noteworthy that the pandemic and restrictions on movement have prompted citizens to visit villages much more. On weekends and summer holidays, the restaurants are doing well. This was also supported by investment in infrastructure.
Evidence of the heightened interest is the recent acquisition of old hotels by mainly foreign investors, which indicates a better future.
So don’t expect €1 sales to start in Cyprus anytime soon.
Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – real estate appraisers, real estate agents and real estate consultants