The town of Salemi Italy is looking to raise money and attract new residents to the area by auctioning off abandoned properties. The economic downturn due to Covid-19 has hurt some of the more remote regions of the country. Will the auctions help stimulate the economy?
Abandoned properties for cheap
Got a dollar to spare? You can buy a house for that in the town of Salemi in Italy. The picturesque town in the south of Sicily has hundreds of crumbling dwellings that are up on the auction block. The starting price will be one Euro, which is a little over $1 USD.
The town’s mayor, Domenico Venuti, hopes the auction will breathe new life into Salemi. The population has been shrinking for decades, leaving many of the buildings abandoned and condemned.
In 1968, an earthquake rocked Sicily’s Belice Valley. 4,000 residents of Salemi left and never returned. Officials are now suggesting they sell off the properties for next to nothing under the condition that buyers must renovate them. Town officials view this as a great way to revitalize the area.
“All buildings belong to the city council, which speeds up the sale and reduces red tape,” Venuti told reporters. “Before launching the scheme we first had to recover the old parts of Salemi where the houses are located, upgrading infrastructures and services from roads to electric grids and sewage pipes. Now the town is ready for the next step.
” Similar projects have already been launched in other areas of Italy. However, officials in Salemi had to work through some bureaucratic issues before joining the $1 auction club. “It was a long process,” explains Venuti.
“Not only did we carry out thorough maintenance works to secure the risky crumbly areas, we also had to recover many properties for residential use. We’ve been ready for a while but wanted to wait and see how the Covid-19 emergency evolved.”
Earthquakes and Covid-19
Italy was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Venuti admits the virus is still a major concern for residents. Salemi had 30 reported cases and things appear to be getting better.
He believes now is the time to move forward with the property auctions. All auctions will start at $1 and many will be in need of substantial repairs. Properties may be purchased sight unseen, so you don’t even need to show up.
But you do need to have a renovation plan to prove you are serious about the project. Those seeking to transform a property into a bed and breakfast or another type of business will receive further tax credits from town officials.