It’s more than twice the price of a $1 pizza slice, but homeowners eager for a fixer-upper can still head to Italy to snag themselves something nice.
On the island of Sicily, Sambuca di Sicilia — which rose to global fame in 2019 for selling a stock of abandoned homes for as low as €1, or just over $1, in an effort to revitalize the depopulated town — will put a second batch of similar properties up for grabs, according to CNN Travel. This time, they’re doubling the cost: a whopping €2, or $2.36 in US currency.
The new stock encompasses some 20 abandoned buildings, many of which are adjacent to a house. City officials hope the high inventory and low price will give deal-hungry buyers the chance to buy more than one property and combine them, CNN reports.
This portfolio is located in Sambuca’s Saracen neighborhood, which locals abandoned after an earthquake rocked the area in 1968.
As for specifics, they’ll go up for auction for that still-low price of €2, whose dollar equivalent is less than a swipe on New York City’s subway, and will sell to the highest bidder. The application process will close on November 5 and a public auction will likely be slated for several weeks later.
In 2019, following the craze for the €1 homes, sale organizers resorted to auctioning off the first wave with 16 up for grabs — four of which are undergoing renovations. A number ultimately sold for €1, but prices peaked at €25,000, or $29,531 in today’s exchange rate. Most sold for between roughly $6,000 and $12,000 in current dollar value.
One of those buyers was Brooklyn-native actress and “Sopranos” star Lorraine Bracco, who chronicled her yearlong renovation in the HGTV series “My Big Italian Adventure.” She bought the 200-year-old, dilapidated casa for €1. She later ended up buying the next door property in a private sale, and added three bedrooms and two bathrooms for an extra $53,157.
Even regular folk have jumped at the opportunity. In 2019, the story of Chicagoan Meredith Tabbone, who purchased a Sambuca villa at auction for $6,000, appeared in multiple reports. Since then, she’s chronicled her experience on social media — for all those keen to follow her lead and take the strada less travelled.
The craze surrounding that first sale brought life to the sleepy town, with new wine bars, photo labs and boutiques opening up.
What buyers can get in this round: a smattering of single-story homes whose interior Moorish courtyards have lemon trees. There are also multistory spreads with outdoor spaces overlooking verdant fields where sheep roam. Even vacant patches and spaces in between buildings will go up for auction, which gives winning bidders the freedom of building their spots from scratch. Other opportunities include homes with painted majolica tile floors.
What’s certain is that the bulk of what’s offered is in need of serious repair.
Those interested in bidding must pay a $5,906 deposit guarantee — returned in full if they lose the bid. Upon the closing of the purchase, new owners must finish their renovations within three years.