The village of Ollolai, on the idyllic Mediterranean isle of Sardinia, is selling empty homes for just $1.25

If you’re looking for your new retirement destination home, you may be able to get one for less than pay for a cup of joe at Starbucks. No, you didn’t misread that line. The village of Ollolai, on the idyllic Mediterranean isle of Sardinia, is selling empty homes for just $1.25.

I know, it sounds too good to be true. But an announcement coming from this island just west of the boot of Italy substantiates the fire-sale price of houses there. According to the Ollolai’s mayor, Efisio Arbau, charging just a nominal amount for a place in the village is an effort to attract new residents. Over the past 50 years, the village’s population has gone from a quaint 2,250 people to about half of that number.

The effort is part of the “Case 1 Euro Project,” which seeks to remedy the issue of declining populations and abandoned pieces of history in towns and villages across Italy, namely in Tuscany, Sicily, and Sardinia. Under this initiative, towns offer up historic properties at a fraction of the market price in exchange for the hope for a return of vibrancy, tourism and, of course, residents.

Now you may be thinking, “There’s the catch. No one wants to live there.” Not so. For folks with steady income streams and a desire to have a more relaxed, slower-paced lifestyle, Sardinia could be the perfect retirement locale.

Picture rolling hills, tranquil lakes, rushing rivers and an abundance of parks and retreats. Then imagine freshly made sheep cheese, handcrafted goods, delicious local foods, excellent Italian wine and traditional celebrations. If this is your picture-perfect idea of how you’d like to spend your retirement years, then you may want to hurry over to Sardinia.

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Okay, okay, so there is one catch, but it’s not a big one. Each house is a slice of history but is in some state of disrepair and the Italian government doesn’t want to relegate the homes’ previous splendor to the history books. If you buy one of the abandoned homes (some having been vacant for decades), you must refurbish it within three years. The estimated cost of each restoration is $25,000.

Still, even with this caveat, there is another deal to be had. Local officials are open to helping you foot that bill, offering grants that could fund up to 60% of the restoration costs, depending on the property. So, all in without any grants, you’re looking at $25,001.25 for a house in a picturesque Italian village.

As if you needed more convincing, this area is the number one member of the notorious “blue zone,” made up of areas renowned for the longevity of residents.

Overall, Italy has an average lifespan of 81.77 years. But in Sardinia, folks live even longer. How long? Well, one team of demographers found a hot spot of longevity in mountain villages where an amazing proportion of men reach the age of 100 years, confirming it is as the place where people live the longest in the world. Chalk it up to the Mediterranean diet coupled with healthy doses of red wine. Or maybe it’s the climate. No matter the reason, it’s proven that folks there just live longer.

With the steal of a deal on houses in Ollolai, it’s almost sure to attract retirees looking to spend their retirement years in this peaceful little village. Why not be one of them?

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