Would You Buy This House for One Dollar?

Panoramic view of Maratea. Basilicata. Italy.
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In last September’s issue of The Bill Bonner Letter we reported on an interesting real estate deal in Sicily.

It was in a hill town in the interior of the island. But Sicily is a small place; it was not too far from the coast or from big cities.

We dispatched one of our researchers. He reported that the deal was real.

A village, called Gangi, in the Madonie Mountains in the province of Palermo, was desperate to stop the depopulation trend that was emptying central Sicily of people.

Rather than renovate them, owners turned their houses — many of them derelict — over to the local council.

What was the council to do with them?

Give them away for a euro each. That’s $1.12 at today’s exchange rate.

Our researcher got back to us with an opinion: the houses were probably not the best investment…even at a buck and change. They required too much renovation.

But the village — in fact, almost all of Sicily’s towns and villages — had plenty of houses that were in decent shape and could be bought for very little money.

Better than an RV?

We had a chance to visit one of those small towns on our drive from Agrigento to Syracuse yesterday.

Piazza Armerina is in the hills, not too far from Enna, which is said to be one of the prettiest towns in Italy and about two hours from the coast.

In the town centre, on top of a hill, is a large church built of brown stone, with a piazza in front. From there, narrow streets spiral down the hill, revealing small squares, restaurants, and balconies festooned with drying laundry and all the paraphernalia of small-town Sicilian life.

Our subject for the last few days has been how to live better for less money. In fact, we have taken it as a challenge to find ways to live on $500 a month.

So far, the consensus among readers is that living in a used RV in a Walmart parking lot is not better, and maybe not even possible.

We don’t disagree. But what about living in Piazza Armerina?

It would not be for everyone. But it might work for some…

We must sign off. We are rushing to catch a ship.

More tomorrow…

Regards,

Bill Bonner,

For The Daily Reckoning, Australia

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Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail The Daily Reckoning.
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