€1 Italian Homes: New Report Highlights Better Deals—Internationalliving.com

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Italian homes on the market for less than the price of a coffee have been grabbing headlines for some time now. However, a new report from InternationalLiving.com points to better deals available when the true associated costs are taken into account and explores—with examples—what real bang-for-buck looks like in Italy and where and how to find it.



"You’ll need to renovate or even rebuild your €1 home but your dollars actually stretch further buying a fully renovated home on the regular resale market."

“€1 homes are a good deal. But, not the best deal,” says Ronan McMahon of Real Estate Trend Alert, a publication of International Living. “When you dig down, there are better options. You’ll need to renovate or even rebuild your €1 home but your dollars actually stretch further buying a fully renovated home on the regular resale market.

“Sure, there’s something irresistible about a free giveaway. So it’s not very surprising to see the popularity of Italy’s “free” (or €1) home giveaway explode.

“Indeed, when I first heard news that the town of Gangi in Sicily was giving away homes less than the price of an espresso, I hopped on a plane right away to check it out in person.

“The thing is, there are much better deals in Italy than €1 homes. By the time you are done with restoring them, they’re more like €30,000 homes…a good deal, but you can get more bang-for-your-buck if you skip the step of taking on all the renovations yourself.”

The report—linked here—explores a number of areas in Italy where McMahon believes better deals can be had.

Gangi was the first Italian town to host one of these giveaways. To this day, it remains the most successful. Since then, there have been almost 30 more—not just in Italy’s less- affluent south, but in the north too. These towns have turned to such measures because their populations are dwindling. These are often beautiful, historic towns in stunning places, but there’s no work for the young. Their old town centers are crumbling, and in the interest of rivitalizing them, they’re selling off buildings on the cheap, with the caveat that they must be renovated. (and in some cases lived in).

Cinquefrondi, in the southern region of Calabria, is the latest to join the trend. It’s right at the toe of Italy’s “boot.” Located in the hills, it’s surrounded by the Aspromonte National Park and set between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts with dreamy Italian beaches on both coasts, around a 15-minute drive in either direction.

“However, all of Cinquefrondi’s €1 homes will require extensive renovation,” says McMahon. “The town’s mayor estimated between €10,000 and €20,000, but that’s coming from a connected local with an agenda. I’d estimate higher. I’d put the number at more like €25,000.

“Instead, look for resales of bigger, more spacious and high-end historic homes in those same towns. In Gangi, for example, I found three tiers of homes: low, mid, and high. The high-tier homes had bigger windows, high and ornate ceilings, and views to the valley. The low-tier were cramped and had doors I had to bend down to get through—the €1 homes typically fall into the “low” category. But I found great renovated mid-level homes for €30,000…and super high-end homes for around €100,000.

“My point is, those €1 homes are a good deal, but there are better deals.”

Provincial Italy is a treasure trove of bargain properties. From rural villas to medieval homes in hilltop towns. For less than €100,000, sometimes even less than €50,000, there are stunning turnkey properties. And there’s no better time to start looking than now, according to McMahon.

“Italy’s economy has been fragile and debt-laden since the 2008 crisis,” he says. “But now, the toll of the COVID-19 crisis has exasperated any hope of a recovery. Already high, unemployment has skyrocketed. Emigration and household consolidation (kids moving back in with parents and vice versa) will increase. This puts downward pressure on real estate prices, particularly in marginal areas of the country.

“For instance, not far from Cinquefrondi—where we have the latest €1 home offer—I found a restored, three-story home on the market for just €35,000 ($39,412).”

Situated in Santa Domenica Talao’s old town, the two-bedroom house comes turnkey, with a cellar and a balcony with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Stromboli, an active volcano 75 miles south.

The village is small and traditional—famed for its medieval window and door arches—and its spectacular view of the Tyrrhenian coast from the main piazza. Stroll the ancient streets and you’ll meet friendly locals selling hand-woven baskets, olive oil, and local wine. And you’re just five miles from the beachside town of Scalea.

“Up your budget, but still staying under $100,000, and you can get something very special,” notes McMahon.

“In the center of the historic town of Lizzanello in Italy’s southeast, a two-bedroom, one-bathroom, 1,055-square-foot historic home is on the market for $94,530. Set around a typical Salento courtyard, the rooms have magnificent vaulted ceilings, beautifully restored, a perfect canvas to create your ideal bolthole.

“Lizzanello is located less than four miles from the nearest beach and about 30 miles from Brindisi airport, which connects with 24 major European hubs.

“To be clear: I haven’t visited these particular properties in person, nor done any due diligence on them. And, to be clear, I don’t recommend these as properties you can make money from. These are simply little pieces of paradise that you can own for a song.”

The full report from Ronan McMahon can be found, here: €1 for a Home in Italy? I Know a Better Deal…

Ronan McMahon is at the helm of Real Estate Trend Alert, a publication of International Living. He is also the author of the book, Ronan McMahon’s Profit Principle: An Insider’s Guide to Doubling Your Money in Real Estate Overseas. He produces a regular, free e-letter for people interested in owning good-value property abroad, called Roving Real Estate Investor

Members of the media have permission to republish the article linked above once credit is given to Internationalliving.com

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About International Living

Since 1979, InternationalLiving.com has been the leading authority for anyone looking for global retirement or relocation opportunities. Through its monthly magazine and related e-letters, extensive website, podcasts, online bookstore, and events held around the world, InternationalLiving.com provides information and services to help its readers live better, travel farther, have more fun, save more money, and find better business opportunities when they expand their world beyond their own shores. InternationalLiving.com has contributors traveling the globe, investigating the best opportunities for travel, retirement, real estate, and investment.

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