One euro home sell-off in Italy

Sambuca di Sicilia: This pretty Italian town was a pioneer in selling off homes for just over a dollar to try to revive its fortunes. Many of the buyers are said to be from North America.

There’s a place on the Italian island of Sicily where you’re increasingly likely to hear an American accent wafting down its narrow streets instead of the local language. Sambuca di Sicilia, which gained a reputation as one of the first places in the country to sell off old houses for next to nothing, is becoming something of an Italian “Little America” after a wave of mostly Americans moved in to snap up bargain properties and breathe new life into the town.

The Sicilian town began attracting overseas buyers in 2019 when it made headlines by selling off 16 dwellings for €1 each, or a little over a dollar. Then again in July 2021 when it offered 10 more old buildings for a symbolic €2 each.

Success story: Approximately 16 houses were snapped up as part of Sambuca di Sicilia’s 2019 €1 home scheme. Now the Italian town putting a new batch of abandoned properties on the market.

Slight increase: This time around, the homes, which are located in the town’s “Saracen” neighborhood, have been given the symbolic price of €2.

High demand: Local authorities say they still get requests from foreigners interested in buying a forgotten property, and have decided now is the right time to auction off around 20 more.

Waiting it out: Last year, the town postponed a similar scheme due to the chaos caused by the pandemic, which saw Italy particularly hard hit during the first wave.

Panoramic views: When the sky is clear, Sicily’s Mount Etna volcano can be seen from the Belvedere Terrace, where a luxurious palace previously stood.

Residents wanted: Before the first scheme, Sambuca was in need of rejuvenation, as many of its former residents had long abandoned the town after the devastating 1968 Belice earthquake.

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