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Italian town lists homes for 1 euro — but still can’t find buyers for them

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A national law has created a huge hurdle for offloading some historic, and very cheap, houses.

In central Italy’s medieval town of Patrica, a strategy to breathe new life into empty properties has hit a possibly insurmountable snafu.

Patrica recently adopted a plan that has seen success in other depopulated Italian areas: Selling off its deserted abodes for a single euro each — about $1.08 in today’s American currency — to those interested for a fixer-upper opportunity.

It may seem unique and unusual, but these opportunities have popped up in other parts of Italy in the past several years, all in an effort to repopulate the regions where these residences stand.

A panoramic view of Patrica. Giamby/Wirestock Creators – stock.adobe.com

A panoramic view of Patrica. Giamby/Wirestock Creators – stock.adobe.com

The village is located in the mountains of the Lazio region of Italy, south of Rome. tiziana – stock.adobe.com

The village is located in the mountains of the Lazio region of Italy, south of Rome. tiziana – stock.adobe.com

While the campaign has worked in towns such as Sicily’s Mussomeli and the Campania region’s Zungoli, Patrica has barely moved any properties. That’s because doing so requires permission from the current owners, many of whom left their homes in the early 1900s, according to CNN.

“We first need the availability of owners, or their heirs, in disposing of their old houses,” Lucio Fiordaliso, the mayor of the remote, approximately 3,000-person village, told the outlet of the Italian law that has significantly impeded the homes’ resale. “Only then can we place these properties up for sale with their consent, which makes the process very complicated. Almost impossible.”

(Towns that have been depopulated as a result of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, are not required to get owner permission to put abandoned buildings up for sale.)

Of Patrica’s nearly 40 abandoned residences currently selling for 1 euro, only two have traded hands, both fully owned by locals.

“The disposal of potential 1 euro homes faced a deadlock as most relatives sharing the same property were at odds with one another for personal reasons or couldn’t agree on the sale, some hardly spoke or knew each other, others lived in distant cities and even abroad,” Fiordaliso said, comparing the process for finding heirs and getting them to consent to their near-worthless home’s sale to “looking for a needle in a haystack.”

It’s a newly emerging challenge for these property sales, which have made plenty of news headlines over the last several years. However, despite the lure of a dirt-cheap purchase price, tens of thousands of dollars tend to be required for renovation costs, leaving certain new owners of such homes in Italy over their heads in work.

Meanwhile, Patrica’s turnkey listings have been moving, CNN reported. But still, Fiordaliso isn’t throwing in the towel on the old ones — even if it means continuing to wade into family feuds to acquire owner permission.

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