Italian Town of Sambuca in Sicily Sells Homes for a Dollar
Looking for a dose of instant sunshine to help you through the winter? This latest deal out of Italy could be just the warm jolt of vitamin D you need.
As of right now, you can buy a house on southern Italy's beautiful island of Sicily for less than the cost of an espresso.
Sambuca, a hilltop town with views over the Mediterranean island and nearby beaches, has placed dozens of dwellings on the market for €1, or just over a dollar.
The deal is aimed at reviving a community that, like many other rural spots in Italy, has suffered from depopulation in recent years as residents move to bigger cities.
It's not the first Italian town to lure in outsiders with tempting offers but, say local officials, Sambuca is scrapping red tape to make sure anyone interested can more or less make their purchase right away.
"As opposed to other towns that have merely done this for propaganda, this city hall owns all €1 houses on sale," says Giuseppe Cacioppo, Sambuca's deputy mayor and tourist councilor.
"We're not intermediaries who liaise between old and new owners. You want that house, you'll get it no time."
But there's a catch. The new owners must commit to refurbish their choice of the crumbling 40- to 150-square meter dwellings within three years, at a cost starting from €15,000 (about $17,200).
They'll also need to cough up a €5,000 security deposit that will be returned once the restyle is complete.