This town in Sicily is selling houses for €3 – here’s how to buy one

250 homes have already been sold, and now Sambuca di Sicilia is putting its third batch of budget houses up for sale

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Sambuca Di Sicilia, Italy
Photograph: Shutterstock

Over the last few years, copping a charming little house in the Italian countryside has become much less of a pipe dream. That’s because a handful of towns across the country (such as Castropignano and Sant’Elia a Pianisi) have been flogging homes for as little as €1, and the trend sees no signs of wavering. 

Sambuca di Sicilia, a tiny commune near the eastern tip of Sicily, has just put another batch of about 12 unbelievably cheap homes up for sale, this time for €3. They’re currently under the ownership of the town hall, which took possession after residents fled after an earthquake back in 1969, leaving them empty. 

The scheme has been super successful so far, and the sale of 250 homes is thought to have brought €20 million to the local economy, such as through turnover from new B&Bs, new shops, and contracts with architects, builders, surveyors and interior designers. Now, the town hall is hoping to attract even more buyers. 

‘The timing [of the sale announcement] is perfect,’ says newly elected mayor Giuseppe Cacioppo to CNN, ‘Tourists and interested buyers currently travelling to Italy, and those planning a trip in spring and summer can come take a look.’

The homes are in the town’s old Saracen district, and range from single, two- and three-bedroom houses. Some have ‘gram-worthy iron-wrought balconies overlooking tiny cobbled lanes, and others have lemon tree-filed courtyards decorated with old-fashioned tiles. Not bad for €3, right?

Well, the likelihood is it’ll end up costing you more than that. The homes are up for auction, so if you’re interested you’ll be competing with other bidders. Those taking part also need to pay a €5,000 deposit guarantee (which will be returned if your bid is unsuccessful), and based on previous rounds of sales, homes are usually sold for between €5,000-€10,000. 

What’s more, they’re in need of a bit of TLC, which must be completed within three years of the sale. Doing up one of these properties can cost anywhere between €30,000 and €200,000. 

So, if you’re after a home reno project in the Sicilian hills and you’ve got some cash to invest, you can find photos and descriptions of the homes, plus application forms, on the town hall’s website here

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