(Note from Erin: I actually have a $1.50 now if I could just find time to fly to Italy and redo yet another home. Although, at least this one wasn’t destroyed by a hurricane!)

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This is one of the benefits of living in our global world- owning a home in Italy for less than a $1.50 (plus purchasing costs)! The catch is you must refurb it within three years and can’t sell it until after five years of ownership. Each of the homes is in poor condition but they are found in one of the loveliest spots on earth: the island of Sardina.

The population of Ollolai has dropped by half in the last three decades and is now down to just 1,300 people of which most are middle-aged, childless couples. With very few babies born every each, Efisio Arbau, Ollolai’s mayor, decided to prevent the population plummeting further by launching the ‘houses for €1’ scheme in 2015 (he may have taken a play from the island of Sicily who did the same thing just a couple years ago).

“Once the capital of Barbagia, Ollolai’s once-buzzing piazzas are now much quieter after families abandoned their homes and younger residents left for big cities.

Many of the homes have been left unoccupied, falling into ruin, for decades.

So Mr Arbau contacted former homeowners, including shepherds and farmers, and asked them to sign their properties over to the town’s authorities.

After approving a special decree, the homes were placed on the market.”1

His plan seems to be working, too. In the spring of 2016, the first home was purchased and immediately refurbished by a retired builder and his wife. And now, thanks to the media attention, applications are starting to pour in from all over the world.

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Thanks to high interest a deadline of February 7th has been set for applications. Once the deadline closes, applications will be assessed in the order they were received. But, if you don’t make the deadline or aren’t picked, no worries, a number of others towns threatened by depopulation are running a similar scheme, check it out here.

It’s utterly beautiful. Would you buy an old Italian home and refurb it?

Sources and References

  1. Daily Mail, January 31, 2018.