Biccari, “We have prepared an online catalog of houses from 1 euro to 30 thousand euros”

Biccari is located in Puglia, in the province of Foggia. Town of 2,600 inhabitants, with a medieval atmosphere, it is surrounded by rich and fertile nature (like Lake Pescara and Mount Cornacchia). Here, the 1 Euro Houses project is struggling to take off: because those arriving from abroad prefer to buy houses in a better state of conservation, which require less heavy interventions. We talk about it with the mayor, Gianfilippo Mignogna.

Mayor, the 1 euro house project in Biccari: instructions for use

We have in fact created a project different from other cities, in that we have prepared an online catalog of houses ranging from 1 euro to 30 thousand euros.
It's because we realized that many foreigners were asking us for houses that were more ready than those for 1 euro: they were afraid of the problems linked to a renovation that they would have to manage remotely. Just think about bureaucracy or projects, to give you an example. This is why, also having houses in the historic center that did not require total renovation but only required a little maintenance, we decided to extend the project to this type of house as well.

How many did you sell?

We sold around forty in total. We have not yet sold any one-euro model: we have three in the catalog. They were seen by many potential interested parties, I have to say, but we didn't sell any of them.

Odd. But did you put bonds? I'll give you an example: in other countries, the buyer must commit to completing the recovery within 36 months to have the house. Maybe that discouraged him.

No. We have not imposed any residency requirements or restructuring requirements. In the sense that the people who buy our houses then decide what to do with them.

No problem. There are people who want to settle here as soon as they retire, others who simply want to have a second home here to come and spend more or less long periods in Italy. Still others are considering renting them. These are people who arrive from Germany, Argentina, Peru, Portugal, America, Russia. Obviously to someone from Italy too. It is also important to us for the cultural growth of our small community.

So why is the 1 euro home experience struggling to take off?

The truth is that we focused on the requests that seemed most interesting to us from the point of view of human and social relations. We therefore place everyone who simply asked us for a house for one euro in second place compared to those who still sent us photos of their family or explained to us what they would like to do in our community. They were therefore not only thinking about the economic advantage of making a purchase for 1 euro.

Because we say that our project starts from the property, but in reality it is a project that wants to regenerate the community.

Technically, how does buying a house work? In other experiments, there is a notice with a whole series of rules

We've made it much more streamlined and I must say with less formality. In the sense that we have accepted the releases of individuals, who are often far away, heirs of Biccaresi who emigrated a long time ago and who live these empty houses in their country of origin as a bit of a burden. We created an online catalog and featured it on CNN because we wanted it to appeal to a foreign market. Those interested can contact our manager. Then we make calls, possibly we make inspections, visits to the village, we welcome these interested people for a few days, so that they become aware even a little of the reality of our village.

And it will also have generated good income in Biccari, I imagine

Exact. the sum of all sales deeds so far has produced approximately 650 thousand euros. All the work in progress, completed or estimated is worth one million three hundred thousand euros. We have thus generated around 2 million euros in economic flows in our country. And don't underestimate the social aspect: in a country threatened with depopulation, having new citizens from far away, who integrate and bring their experiences, their skills, is important.

So a new community is being born thanks to the houses?

Of course. These people who arrived in Biccari integrated very easily, so the town is small and therefore it is easy to be known by everyone. Even having to carry out work allows you to immediately get in touch with local technicians or builders. We then noticed that the objective is never to conclude a real estate transaction, but to create an alternative to their context: consider that they often come from foreign metropolises. The idea is always to have a little refuge in the Italian village where you can relax, eat well, play sports in the great outdoors and also enjoy new human relationships. This attracts them a lot. We have seen that this is the main motivation for their choices, rather than ownership.

Does the number of available housing units meet demand?

In 2021 we started with 20 houses and that seemed huge. Now, of course, there are more, as the owners have found that the idea works. There are still quite a few empty houses, let's say. We rent around ten with a side project that allows us to bring people in.

Leave a Comment