One Euro Homes, Italy


One Euro Homes, Italy

Mismatches Vacant housing
Policies and regulations Local policies Governance
Financing Supply subsidies
Promotion and production Transformation and adaptation

Main objectives of the project

The "One Euro" homes initiative in Italy has emerged as a notable strategy to address vacant housing in areas affected by population decline. Municipalities offer these homes for a nominal fee, typically owned by the municipality itself, with winning households required to fulfill renovation obligations within a specified timeframe. This policy aims to revitalize communities, stimulate tourism, and halt depopulation by repurposing abandoned properties. Additionally, some municipalities have adapted the scheme to cater to the needs of vulnerable groups, such as migrants and refugees, emphasizing the policy's flexibility in addressing diverse community needs.


  • 2013: Implementation



Continent: Europe
Country/Region: Italy


In recent years, one of the most renowned strategies to address vacant housing in Europe has been the "One Euro" homes (‘Case a 1 euro’) initiative in Italy. Several municipalities in areas affected by population decline and abandoned housing implemented this scheme, offering these homes for sale at the nominal fee of one euro. Typically owned by the municipalities themselves, these homes were donated by previous owners to evade property tax liabilities. Under this scheme, winning households must fulfill specific obligations. These include presenting a renovation project within a designated timeframe post-purchase, covering notary fees for registration and transfer, and adhering to a maximum time limit for commencing renovation work after obtaining permits.

This basic scheme has had different strategies depending on the town. Some have used it to renovate its downtown in rural areas and others to invest on the migrant population. The key feature is that is a strategy to ensure renovation of vacant housing units that should be for the most vulnerable groups.

For instance, in Sambuca di Sicilia, municipality-owned buildings were sold via public auction with a €5,000 deposit to ensure renovation and a commitment to complete the work within three years. The aim was to stimulate tourism and entrepreneurship, halting the depopulation process in Italy's interior areas.

Similar schemes were conducted in 2013 and 2019, with obligations akin to those in Sambuca di Sicilia. In 2019, Gangi included the intention for some homes to become tourist accommodation, aiming to generate jobs and households in the town. The guarantee period was extended to five years due to issues with the previous three-year deadline. Interestingly, the initiative influenced the sale of other vacant homes not part of the scheme, as visitors initially drawn by the one euro homes decided to invest in the area. These homes remained affordable, priced between €5,000-€20,000, reflecting the distressed local housing market.

Both towns experienced oversubscription, allowing authorities to select serious buyers with concrete renovation plans, ultimately benefiting the towns by reducing the stock of abandoned residences.

A similar initiative aimed to revitalize declining towns while accommodating arriving migrants and refugees, exemplified by Riace in Calabria. Initially welcoming 200 Kurds in 1988 to vacant houses due to emigration, Riace saw gradual economic recovery and house renovations, with "solidarity tourism" emerging. However, a change in political direction led to a cessation of funding, resulting in families leaving the town, highlighting the need for ongoing management and public support for such repopulation programs, particularly those reliant on training and job creation initiatives.