Urban migration is a major problem in many Italian villages – in order to revive run-down areas, houses are now being sold at the symbolic price of one euro.
Many Italian villages are deserted, houses are in danger of collapsing and schools are empty: The young people move to the cities to have a better job prospect, only the elderly remain in the villages. In 2008, an experiment was started to sell houses at a bargain price on condition that the new owners renovate.
The project failed in Salemi in 2008
The sale of dilapidated houses for just one euro was tested in the Sicilian community of Salemi – the experiment failed, however, because of “infiltration by the mafia,” reports Der Spiegel. In the meantime, there is another project called “Case a 1 Euro” – “Houses for 1 Euro”: It has been extended to several Italian municipalities, many of which are in Sicily.
The Italian municipality of Cinquefrondi, for example, advertises that it does not have any new corona infections and thus praises the purchase of the 1-euro houses, which according to CNN are between 40 and 50 square meters in size.
The concept: low purchase price, but renovation within three years
Cinquefrondi’s Mayor Michele Conia describes the project as part of the “Operation Beauty” that he is carrying out in his community. He speaks to the CNN news channel about “lost parts of the city” and empty houses that are clearly in ruins.
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Therefore, like some other mayors, he is auctioning houses with a first bid of just one euro to interested parties – the low price also attracts young families to the villages who may not be able to finance a home purchase elsewhere. Every year, buyers in Cinquefrondi then pay an insurance fee of 250 euros until they have renovated the property they bought. According to the mayor, a renovation in this area of Italy should cost between 10,000 and 20,000 euros. If the property is not renovated within three years, a fee of 20,000 euros must be paid to the municipality.
The vision: With “Case a 1 Euro” the villages are blooming again
Other municipalities participating in the project – including Salemi, where a second attempt is being made after the failure in 2008 – do not charge an insurance fee or a fine of 20,000 euros. Instead, a deposit of 5,000 euros is collected in many places, which is only repaid after the renovation has been completed.
In Cinquefrondi, only around a dozen houses will initially be auctioned off. Conia hopes for success and wants to offer more houses for sale. His vision: by rebuilding the mostly beautiful Italian villages like Cinquefrondi, they also attract tourism again and the area can blossom again.
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