An Italian town is selling houses for just €1 - here’s how you can buy one

A town in Italy is currently auctioning off houses for just €1, after first proposing plans to do so more than a decade ago.

In 2008, Salemi in Sicily was one of the first Italian towns to propose selling houses at a low price, on the condition that new owners renovate the properties.

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However, it was decided that improvements to the town should be made before any properties were auctioned off, including upgrading roads and sewage pipes.

Houses ready to be auctioned at €1

Twelve years later, the town is now ready to start auctioning off houses. Around 12 homes will be up for sale over the next month, with bidding starting at the price of €1 (around £0.91) per property.

Those wishing to buy one of the homes have to submit a plan which explains how they would renovate the property. Those whose plans could potentially help the local economy - such as converting one of the properties into a business like a B&B - will be given extra points and tax credits.

Although applicants can buy more than one house, a deposit of €3,000 is required for each property. However, the deposits will be refunded after the renovations are completed.

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The town’s population has shrunk considerably over the last 50 years, after around 4,000 residents left following the earthquake that occurred in Sicily's Belice Valley in 1968. Selling these homes could bring more people back to the town.

If the first round of homes are successfully sold, then a further 100 properties could also be auctioned off, according to the town’s mayor, Domenico Venuti.

Salemi follows Cinquefrondi in Calabria, and Mussomeli and Bivona (both in Sicily) who have all previously auctioned off €1 homes.

‘Now the town is ready for the next step’

The town's mayor, Domenico Venuti, told CNN Travel, “All buildings belong to the city council, which speeds up the sale and reduces red tape.

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"Before launching the scheme we first had to recover the old parts of Salemi where the houses are located, upgrading infrastructures and services from roads to electric grids and sewage pipes.

"Now the town is ready for the next step."

For more information about the homes due to be auctioned off, visit the Salemi government website.