Village in Sicily is selling houses “for the price of an espresso”


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In 2019, the commune of Sambuca di Sicilia, in the province of Agrigento located in southern Italy, went viral because it sold houses for just 1 euro. After enjoying successful sales in 2019 and 2021, Sambuca di Sicilia is auctioning off a new batch of cheap houses for just €3, as reported by Euronews.

Buyers came back then from the US or the Middle East. The sales brought about 20 million euros into the local economy.

Now, the Sicilian village is putting several houses up for sale. Just like last time, though, there are a few caveats potential buyers should be aware of – plus, the price has gone up from one euro to three euros.

This time, ten houses are available at the starting price of 3 euros. The homes are located in the old Saracen quarter of the city and are as structurally sound as those sold under previous plans in 2019 and 2021. The homes, which were abandoned after an earthquake in 1969, are owned by the local authority, so the sales process is easier than where councils have to liaise between buyers and private owners.

The properties on offer are two to three bedroom houses no larger than 80 square metres, built from honey colored stone. The houses are sold by auction to the highest bidder, so the purchase price is likely to be much higher than the token amount of €3 – previously most cost between €5,000 and €10,000. Several of the houses on offer have interior courtyards with lemon trees and floors with luminous majolica tiles, an Italian tile that is characterized by its metallic glaze. But most of the properties are far from ready to live. As with cheap homes sold in years past, buyers will need to do extensive repair work. New owners should expect to pay at least €30,000 for a basic renovation, and upwards of €200,000 for a complete makeover. Renovation work must be completed within three years of purchase, otherwise buyers forfeit the €5,000 deposit required during the bidding process.

Sambuca’s “houses for the price of an espresso” brought in the necessary income for important contracts for local builders, architects and designers. It has also led to the opening of accommodation and tourist shops, and there are now remote working spaces to encourage digital nomads to stay in the city. These projects also changed the demographics of the city. They were particularly popular with buyers from the United States, leading to the city being nicknamed “Little America” ​​due to the large community of Americans who came to the region. While the initiative has revitalized Sambuca, those looking for an immersive experience surrounded by locals should look elsewhere.

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