Stories of London homeowners cashing in their property chips to buy bigger properties out of London are pretty common in the national press, but we’ve never seen one before where flush Londoners can buy a whole town. Admittedly, the town is in Italy, but we can think of worse places to live.
The property section of the Daily Telegraph recently carried a story of how three tiny ‘ghost towns’ have been put up for sale. They’re all located in the northern region of Piedmont, close to Turin.
They include the hamlet of Lunella, which comprises six dwellings (yours for €350,000), Calsazio, which boasts 12 houses for sale totalling €250,000 and Gilli, which has has eight properties up for sale for €180,000. As the average property price in the UK is now £315,000, – which will only buy you 95 square foot studio flat in Westminster – then the idea of being the local Mr & Mrs Big might be quite appealing.
As always (and here it seems Italian estate agents are on par with their British counterparts) there is a catch. Most of these buildings are in a pretty dilapidated state and some may even have been damaged by earthquakes.
Apparently, the ghost town phenomena is quite common in Italy. Known locally as ‘sleeping beauties’, up to 20,000 abandoned small villages and hamlets dot the Italian landscape, with the former owners driven out by either natural disasters, such as earthquakes, or economic necessity, so forced to find jobs in bigger towns.
Their abandonment represents a sad reflection on life in such a beautiful country, but also a once in a lifetime opportunity for those tired of living in London.
For those with bigger budgets, €1.5 million buys you the entire abandoned hamlet of Frattura Vecchia di Scanno in Abruzzi. Overlooking a heart-shaped lake, the one-acre plot includes 70 dilapidated dwellings! These measure about 540 sq ft each (so not palatial) but with a decent local builder on site, these could presumably be turned into fewer, bigger holiday lets. And this is where the smart money is moving in, as according to the Daily Telegraph, ‘restyled homes such as these can earn up to €800 per week in rent during high summer season’.
Of course you needn’t take your London property winnings to Italy. £315,000 will also buy you an entire small island off Orkney in the very north of Scotland, which boasts its own period farm cottage, 40 acres of land and, thanks to a wind turbine, free electricity too.
Free electricity or free olive oil? The choice, as they say, is yours.