You may have seen in the news recently that in certain Italian villages there are properties of offer for as little as €1.
The villages are mainly in not so sought after areas and are suffering because the locals have migrated to other places in Italy and the EU. Younger people leave for education, to find work or to broaden their horizons. As a result there are around 2,500 Italian villages which are becoming ghost villages fast and this despite their charm and attractions.
Local authorities of these villages are desperate for new inhabitants, not only in an effort to support the remaining locals, but also to preserve the buildings, most of which are of historic interest and should be protected.
Buying a house for €1 in such circumstances comes with strings attached with buyers expected to renovate the houses and live there for a period of time, whereas those who can offer job opportunities to locals have a most welcoming reception.
The idea of opening small businesses such as confectionary, Airbnbs, workshops and so on seems to attract the more romantic Europeans, but nowadays with the 750,000 immigrants living in Italy, alternative housing locations are sought.
Those who are eager to jump at the opportunity must be aware that they will need a considerable amount of added investment depending on the amount of renovation needed. The reporter who carried out the investigation, estimated that in addition to the purchase price, an additional amount of at least €50,000 is required in order to make a small one-bedroom unit livable.
Can we copy this plan in order in an attempt to revive some of our distant and dying villages? Definitely not, since there are no €1 units on the market, not even in ruins. Locals do not sell their properties, whatever their state, unless they receive an offer at market value or higher.
In addition to this, one must consider local attitudes towards immigrants. Look at villages like Tala, Emba and others, where the concentration of refuges has caused a reaction from locals, protests and, in some cases, violence.
It seems Italians are more eager to get rid of the expense and hassle that such abandoned buildings create.
In addition Cyprus offers several incentives for rural living and especially to preserve buildings it offers grands, long-term loans, lower electricity bills and so on. Other incentives include grants for creation of workshops.
More easily said than done, mind you, since there are problems regarding schools, entertainment and so on, which puts off young families and those who return to such villages.
It is noteworthy that the pandemic and restrictions on travel, encouraged those living in towns to visit villages much more. Over weekends and summer holidays restaurants seem to be doing well. This has also been helped by the investment in infrastructure.
Proof of the increased interest is the recent acquisition by mainly foreign investors of aged hotels – an indication of a better future.
So do not expect €1 sales to happen in Cyprus any time soon.
Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Valuers, Estate Agents & Property Consultants, www.aloizou.com.cy, [email protected]