In the last decade a number of enchanting rural villages across Italy have been attracting more and more foreigners interested in investing in Italy’s real estate market. These small towns have been promoting several schemes in order to fight the rural depopulation caused by a number of socio-economic factors which, in turn, have led many young people with aspirations of a successful career to move abroad or to bigger cities in Italy. Among the most successful projects offered in the past few years, for instance, is the 1-euro properties scheme. However, this comes with a number of advantages and disadvantages. In fact, while the purchasing price for these properties is often one euro, the buyer must invest in their renovation and redevelopment thus the final cost to buy the property might be higher than anticipated. In addition to this, the buyer needs to pay for the notary’s fees and the registration of the property. There are also some specific obligations which the buyer must adhere to, such as renovating the property within a set number of months. So, what are the benefits of buying a 1-euro property? What are the disadvantages? This article seeks to provide you with an overview of the most important aspects you need to consider before you decide to purchase a 1-euro house in Italy.

The pros and cons of buying 1-euro houses

Purchasing 1-euro properties offers several advantages, including cost savings, contributing to the revitalization of small villages, and providing an opportunity for foreign enthusiasts of Italy to explore charming remote villages nestled in picturesque landscapes. However, buyers of 1-euro homes also have specific obligations, such as establishing residency in the property they decide to purchase, presenting a renovation project, and paying a security deposit which is retained by the municipality if the buyer does not carry out the renovation works before the deadline established by law. Furthermore, some villages may decide to sell properties through a bid which starts at 1 euro, and they may put restrictions on re-selling the property, which might be a challenge in itself given the rural location of most of the properties.

Are there any alternatives to 1-euro houses?

While a 1-euro property might sound like an appealing choice, it is worth noting that in Italy, you can often find ready-to-move-in properties that typically range from €10,000 to €60,000 and do not necessitate any significant repairs or renovation work. Therefore, these properties may in the long run be cheaper than 1-euro homes. The town of Biccari in Apulia, for instance, is one of the first towns in Italy to have offered innovative real estate schemes as an alternative to 1-euro houses. Biccari is located near Foggia and it is considered to be a corner of paradise with its fresh mountain air and natural surroundings. In the 1950s it had a population of 5,000 people, but the number gradually decreased as more and more people left the town due to the lack of job opportunities. In the past, many properties were owned by families who eventually emigrated and would use them as second homes during the summer, however, as the years passed, many families stopped returning to the town and ultimately abandoned their properties. As a result, Biccari depopulated, almost becoming a ghost town with less than 2,000 residents in 2010.

As Biccari’s mayor pointed out, today the town offers many charming houses and apartments, which are livable and in good condition, especially compared to 1-euro houses. These turnkey houses are available on Biccari’s official website. More information can also be found on the town’s Facebook page.

Other towns in both the north and the south of Italy are following Biccari’s footsteps and are launching projects which aim to attract foreign investment. Among these are Carrega Ligure, Latronico and Troina. Carrega Ligure in Piedmont is a small town which is close to the borders of Liguria and Emilia Romagna. The municipality’s website offers a few listings which feature pictures and relevant details. If potential buyers are interested in one of these properties, they can email the municipality for further information and book a tour to visit the properties. On the other hand, Latronico in Basilicata is known as the “village of wellness” thanks to its thermal baths and its history as a wellness destination. This municipality has launched a website called “Your House in Latronico”, where prospective buyers can view house listings and connect with property owners and real estate agencies. Current listings show negotiable prices ranging from €9,500 to €50,000.

Finally, Troina in Sicily is another enchanting village surrounded by forests and parks. In particular, Troina offers financial incentives up to a maximum of €10,000 to people who relocate to the town’s historic district and establish their residency there.

However, small towns are not the only locations offering alternatives to 1-euro houses. In fact, there are also a few Italian regions which are promoting advantageous initiatives, such as “residency income” for those who purchase a property and relocate there. It is important to note that these schemes are not limited only to Italian citizens – they apply to all individuals regardless of their country of origin. Sardinia, for instance, offers several bonuses to people who relocate to municipalities with less than 3,000 inhabitants. Among these, the so-called “Bonus Casa” is valid until 2025 and it entails a €15,000 grant which covers 50% of the total expenses to purchase and renovate a property. However, individuals who are granted this incentive must establish their residency in the property for a minimum of 5 years. In addition to this, the region has also recently launched the “Bonus bebè”, which offers families who relocate to some specific villages €600 per month for each first child (either newborn or adopted in 2023) and €400 for any additional child. Similarly, in 2022 Emilia Romagna launched the “Bando Montagna 2022”, a project which aims to repopulate and bring new life to municipalities which are spread out across the Apennines.

Final remarks

In conclusion, there are several alternatives to 1-euro houses which include ready-to-move-in homes in small municipalities. There are also a number of bonuses and schemes which are worth considering that are available to both Italian and foreign citizens alike.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to purchase your dream property in one of Italy’s charming and unspoiled villages! If you are thinking of purchasing a property and you would like more information, feel free to contact us at info@italianrealestatelawyers.com .

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