Sardinia Is Selling Homes for Just Over a Dollar, But There’s Catch

January 31, 2018 Updated: January 31, 2018

The dream of owning an island getaway comes with the expectation of a hefty price tag.

But not in the town of Ollolai, located in the mountain region of Barbagia on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, where you can now buy a home for the paltry price of 1 euro (US$1.50).

There’s just one catch.

Promise to fix up the place within three years and it’s yours–provided you make good on the commitment to refurbish one of the 200 stone-built homes up for grabs. And that’s likely to run you around $25,000, according to CNN.

Ollolai is in the heart of Sardinia, an autonomous region of Italy and the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. (Google Maps)

The unusual move is part of a desperate ploy to prevent Ollolai from becoming a ghost town–its population has dropped from 2,250 to just 1,300 over the past 50 years.

As young people move to cities for work, study or a different lifestyle, officials said the history and way of life in this beautiful and untouched part of Sardinia are threatened.

“We boast prehistoric origins,” Efisio Arbau, Ollolai’s mayor, told CNN. “My crusade is to rescue our unique traditions from falling into oblivion.

“Pride in our past is our strength. We’ve always been tough people and won’t allow our town to die,” he said.

Downtown Ollolai, Sardinia. (Google Maps)
Ollolai is reported to be “the most untouched and authentic patch of Sardinia,” but many of its dwellings lie in ruin.
In a bid to revive the town, Arbau got former homeowners to sign over the deeds to their properties, so they could be offered for nominal sums as enticements to those who would restore them.
“We need to bring our grandmas’ homes back from the grave,” Arbau said.
Dwellings in Ollolai, Sardinia. (Google Maps)
Accoridng to CNN, at the time of reporting three properties have already found buyers and Arbau said he has received over 100 purchase requests from places as remote as Russia and Australia.
The idea of offer dwellings at rock-bottom prices to attract residents–and their cash–from outside the region is not new.

The Epoch Times wrote about the picturesque village of Albinen in Switzerland being so desperate to boost its flagging population, that it was considering paying people US$70,000 (70,000 Swiss francs) to move there.

Town officials also had a catch–a 10-year contract: move out before and you have to pay it back. Children are worth extra.

The idea was driven by locals after the town school shut down. They petitioned the mayor with a proposal for the village to “invest” in its own future—by paying families to move there.

But only bona fide villagers were to be welcome–investors not allowed, according to the president of Albinen, Beat Jost “Second homes and large residential complexes of investor groups are out of the question.”

“‘Anyone who moves away again 10 years after the start of construction or after buying the house must repay the money,” he said, reported the Metro.

 

The town Leukerbad at night. (Leukerbad 365)

Other regions have devised similar schemes.

The Italian town of Candela announced in October 2017, it would give handouts to new residents.

According to the Daily Mail, Switzerland’s smallest mountain village of Corippo plans to turn the entire village, which has only 13 inhabitants left, into a giant hotel.

Italy announced earlier this year that it was giving away 103 of its historic buildings for free, according to The Telegraph, on the condition that the newcomers transformed the properties into tourist facilities.

 

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