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Sambuca, Italy: Sicilian town sells houses for $ 1

A half-abandoned city in Italy sells homes for just over a dollar in the hope of convincing foreigners to renovate their homes and revive the local economy.

Sambuca, a hill town in Sicily with sweeping views of the Mediterranean, sells dozens of low-priced houses in the basement, after other Italian towns and villages have made similar offers. Sambuca – no relation to the liqueur of the same name – has a population of less than 6,000 inhabitants and is located about 40 miles south of Palermo.

Gangi, also in Sicily, started selling empty apartments for € 1 in 2015, and Ollolai in Sardinia followed suit. At the center of these efforts are attempts to revive their economy and preserve their culture as young residents flocked to large cities, killing elderly residents and leaving behind a supply of abandoned homes.

Airbnb also offers four foreigners to pay for three months in Grottole in the southern province of Matera as part of its Italian sabbatical program. The participants will help the local community "revive the village".

"The small village Grottole with only 300 inhabitants and more than 600 empty houses is in danger of disappearing and asks for your help!" The description of the program is as follows:

An aging population

The birth rate in Italy has been on a downward trend for years. "The Italians a few years ago reached the lowest birth rate in history with 1

.1 children," said Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute.

He said he saw witnesses to a series of initiatives aimed at promoting procreation.

"There are villages and towns where bonuses are offered for every child born there because the birth rate is so low," he said. "But there does not seem to be a combination of economic incentives around the world, at least in the developed world, to increase the birth rate to a replacement, which equates to 2.1 children." "I do not know if there is something that Italy can do."

Younger residents of Sambuca have moved into urban settings, while older people are generally not equipped for a modern economy.

"Older populations are not innovative, they are not investing in the future, they are only downsizing resources that they have already accumulated," Mosher said. "In some countries, there are years of inventory of homes that may never be reoccupied, simply because there are no people to occupy them, which burdens the economy."

Thousands of Emails

But global interest in the newly-listed Sambucan homes suggests that the tactic already works.

"It's amazing that thousands of people from Dubai and Barcelona expressed interest, and I had countless inquiries from New York," said Giuseppe Cacioppo, deputy mayor of Sambuca and tourist council, to CBS MoneyWatch. He said he had not been broadcast since the international community was informed by CNN after CNN had originally written about the plan.

"I did not sleep last night because I received so many calls," he said. "I received 39,000 emails in response to the offer, including those who wanted to buy entire blocks of flats."

Connected Strings

Homes that cost less than a piece of pizza are tempting, but they do it in connected conditions.

Buyers must deposit $ 5,000 ($ 5,682) and commit to spend $ 15,000 ($ 17,000) to rebuild within three years. The deposit will be refunded once the renovations are completed, reports CNN.

Potential home buyers should also receive a plan to self-employ.

"These places are small and very geared towards older generations, life is very quiet and simple and basic, there is not much to do except to renovate your property and garden," Kathleen Peddicord said. Publisher and founder of Live and invest overseas.

And fluent Italian is a must, according to travel and retirement experts.

"You need to feel comfortable in Italian if you want to do a work project," said Kat Kalashian, publisher of Live and Invest Overseas. "You need to speak Italian to get referrals and find work, and you need to speak Italian to work with them."

Property taxes

Buyers can avoid paying the property tax on the apartments if Sambuca becomes their primary residence. Otherwise, a tax rate of up to 0.76 percent applies. A different secondary tax between the municipalities also applies in the range of zero to 3.3 percent. "Depending on the community, there could be zero zero taxes," Kalashian said.

Max Dilendorf, a New York-based attorney who responded to a similar initiative last year, eventually decided that the offer was not meaningful after weighing the cost of a colon clean-up.

"If you will be there only once or twice a year at the end of the day, you think you will feel better if you get an Airbnb," he said. "But if someone is ready to move and live there, it might make sense."

Peddicord agrees that this is a unique opportunity, but not for everyone.

"It would be mostly a love job and a life adventure, these qualities really make sense to someone who loves the romantic idea of ​​it," she said.

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