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Before the pandemic devastated parts of Italy, there were several small historic towns selling homes and buildings for just one dollar. And now that the country is coming out of the grips of COVID-19 and easing travel restrictions, more homes are hitting the market at the bargain price.
Cinquefrondi, in the southern region of Calabria, announced that multiple houses were on the market for €1 (just over a dollar) after the town's population declined in recent years. "Too many people have fled from here over the decades, leaving behind empty houses," Mayor Michele Conia told CNN. "We can't succumb to resignation."
The project is so important to the Mayor that he named it "Operation Beauty," Conia added. "Finding new owners for the many abandoned houses we have is a key part of the Operation Beauty [mission] that I have launched to recover degraded, lost parts of town."
That's not to say that the town isn't already beautiful. It's located in stunning hills surrounded by the Aspromonte National Park. It overlooks both the Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts and is the beach just a 15-minute drive away. Plus, the town highlights that it had no coronavirus cases, and the region as a whole had Italy's lowest contagion rates.
Interested? To purchase a home, you have to pay the €1 along with an annual €250 policy insurance fee until you complete the renovation of the house. If you don't complete the repair in three years, you could face a fine of €20,000.
"We're just asking for some kind of certainty once a new buyer commits to the project," said Conia. "The policy fee is very low, and the cost of a restyle here is within €10,000 to €20,000, given the dwellings are cozy [and] tiny."
There are currently a dozen homes available, but more could be made available if there is a lot of interest. "If we receive a huge demand," said Conia. "I can expropriate all other buildings which have been empty for decades, and the old owners are nowhere to be found."
There are also fully renovated houses available at budget prices.