Like €1 Homes, But Better

Our search has begun for a town to buy in Sicily…

The Italian island, the largest in the Mediterranean, is dotted with historic cities…ancient temples…quaint little villages…towering mountains…and stunning beaches on every shore…

It’s also the land of incredible real estate bargains.

Across Sicily, you’ll find homes in stunning historic towns and villages for astonishingly low prices. This opens up an interesting potential opportunity…

Act alone to buy one of these homes and you risk losing access to the amenities and services you need to live comfortably there—the cafés, bars, restaurants, hairdressers, etc.—if the town continues to decline.

But buy together with a group of like-minded people and you can ensure the amenities and services survive and prosper. In essence, by acting as a group, you could take the benefits of buying in a master-planned community—in which the developer provides amenities like cafés, restaurants, gyms, etc.—and apply them to an ancient European town.

I’ve decided to explore this idea and investigate some of the incredible bargains on offer in Sicily, so I’ve asked my scout, Ciaran, to put boots on the ground…

His first stop was Mussomeli, a charming town nestled on a hilltop 90 minutes’ drive southeast of the Sicilian capital, Palermo.

He shared this update from the road…


Ronan McMahon, Founder, Overseas Dream Home & Real Estate Trend Alert

P.S. Do you have a question for Ciaran while he’s on the ground in Sicily? Share it with us by clicking here.

Like €1 Homes, But Better

By Ciaran Madden

The SUV bounced over the cobblestones as we wound our way through the steep, narrow streets of Mussomeli.

After a few minutes of bewildering twists and turns past centuries-old Catholic churches and towering stone walls, we arrived at our destination—a three-story terraced house for sale in Mussomeli’s charming Old Town.

The town of Mussomeli is nestled on a hilltop in central Sicily.

Nathalie, my driver and guide for the afternoon, was from Agenzia Immobiliare Siciliana, the agency that runs the €1 home project on behalf of the town of Mussomeli.

The €1 home project put Mussomeli on the map, bringing international recognition to this small community of just over 11,000 people. Though Nathalie and her colleague, our British-born translator Antonella, weren’t taking me to view one of the €1 houses.

Instead, there were taking me to see something better…what her agency describes as a “premium” home.

The town of Mussomeli is southeast of Palermo, in the mountainous heartland of Sicily.

As Ronan identified when he first reported on €1 homes a decade ago, those properties are rarely cheap or a bargain. Most are crumbling, derelict shells, requiring significant investment to bring back to life.

The “premium” homes in Mussomeli are different…

These homes are often structurally sound. Many are in livable condition, requiring updating and renovation rather than wholesale structural work.

The house we stopped at was a case in point.

The three-bed, two-bath terraced property boasted high ceilings, marble floors, and expansive views from the top floor out over the rolling hills of central Sicily. It needed work—the plaster was peeling from the walls and the dated kitchen was set to be removed—but it was habitable and the potential was apparent.

All of which made the price tag even more astounding.

The home was on the market for €35,000. And according to Antonella, the price is negotiable.

Ciaran’s video walkthrough of the €35,000 premium home on the market in Mussomeli. Click to view.

I’d come to Mussomeli not just to view the bargains on offer or to look for a town to buy…but to see how a town like this can be reborn.

A decade ago, Mussomeli was a victim of the depopulation trend decimating rural Italy. As the young left en masse seeking education and economic opportunity, homes were abandoned and fell into ruin, particularly in the Old Town.

In 2017, Mussomeli started its €1 project in an attempt to reverse this decline…

While dozens of towns in Sicily have launched these schemes, Mussomeli’s was particularly well-administered, with a dedicated English-language website, phone number, and English-speaking staff. These facilities are rarities among Italy’s  €1 home projects.

The accessibility of Mussomeli’s scheme meant it was regularly featured in international media reports on Italy’s €1 homes. Buyers began flocking to the town to see the bargains on offer. Many of the €1 homes were snapped up. Antonella told me only a handful of them now remain available.

As the €1 homes disappeared, buyers looked to other properties.

Antonella says her agency has sold around 300 homes to date, ranging in price from €1 to €30,000 or more. Many have gone to buyers from overseas. Mussomeli now has an international flavor. In a brief stroll around town here, I met foreign home-owners from the U.S., the U.K., and the Caribbean.

More come all the time.

Demand is now so strong that Nathalie and Antonella host walking tours three or four times a week where they take groups of potential buyers to view up to 40 homes. This is in addition to organizing private viewings.

On the afternoon I joined Nathalie and Antonella, they were showing homes to Richard.

Originally from Australia, he’d flown halfway around the world from his home in the Philippines to see the bargains available in Mussomeli. We viewed four properties together, all “premium” options.

The homes had similar styles—three stories, multiple bathrooms, small kitchens. Many had balconies with views of the rolling hills. Some had already undergone partial restoration.

The four homes we viewed were priced in the €28,000 to €35,000 range. (I’d share listings, but the homes aren’t online. Antonella told me they can’t keep the website updated fast enough.)

Richard was impressed. His mind was made up…he was ready to buy in Mussomeli. It was just a matter of finding the right home. At the end of the tour, he was already arranging more tours and second viewings. As I’m writing this, he’s texted me to say he’s chosen one to buy.

Dating to the 16th century, the oldest church in Mussomeli, La Madonna dei Miracoli, is hidden amid the winding, narrow streets of its Old Town.

The influx of foreign buyers has helped Mussomeli turn a corner.

The central piazza has been renovated. There are new restaurants and cafés to serve the growing expat community. Building and renovation work is evident around the town center.

That’s not to say that Mussomeli is the finished article.

Many homes remain dilapidated. Antonella told me the agency has hundreds more to sell, and more to come online after that. And there are other real estate agencies in town with yet more listings.

This explains why prices in Mussomeli haven’t risen over the past several years. For now at least, there is ample supply to keep up with the growing demand. That means there is still an opportunity to buy into Mussomeli’s rebirth.

But while I was charmed by Mussomeli’s piazzas and winding Old Town, I’d have some reservations about owning here, chief among them the climate.

Sicilian hill towns like Mussomeli are known for temperature extremes. Cold winters are followed by hot summers. Homes require heating and air-conditioning. And outside of summer, it can feel cold, even when the sun is shining, due to the wind chill. When I visited on a sunny day this week, coats were still required.

What Mussomeli does provide, however, is a powerful demonstration of what can be achieved when you reach a critical mass of buyers. It stands as proof that the idea of buying a town can succeed.

Earlier today I moved on from Mussomeli…next up on my hunt for a town to buy is the neighboring community of Cammarata, 30 minutes’ northeast.

Then I’ll be heading north, to scout towns near the historic city of Cefalu on the coast. More on those to come…

Ronan says: Wow…this is truly liberating. We can buy a spacious, well-built home in a charming town with views to rolling hills…for a little more than half the average cost of a new car in the U.S. And that new car will cost a lot more to own than one of these properties.

With a home in Mussomeli, you’ll have no HOA fees and the annual property tax bill is less than an ordinary meal out back in the U.S. This is a life-changing opportunity for so many Americans.

You can be part of a real community, eat amazing food with your neighbors every day, and your gym is the steps you take to visit the café up the hill at the top of the town. It’s an antidote to the stresses and disconnection back home.

More Americans will come to Mussomeli. There will be opportunities to make money for us as investors. Stay tuned…and please share this dispatch with anyone you feel needs the only proven antidote I know to the stressed and stretched life back home.

In Mussomeli, you could buy a home and live like a king or queen on Social Security alone.

Your Daily Dream Home

Saint-Front-la-Rivière, Dordogne, France


In a quaint country village in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France is this two-bedroom home. Nearby, you’ll get your morning croissant and coffee easily as there are shops, restaurants, and bars.

On the first floor you’ll find a kitchen, a lounge, and a bathroom. The second floor had two bedrooms and another bathroom.

Outside, you’ll find a sizable garden and an enclosed courtyard.

Click here to find out more

Remember, we don’t make money from any listing shared here in the Your Daily Dream Home section. We have no dog in the fight. We’re just sharing cool properties we’ve found.

I haven’t visited this property or done due diligence on it. If you’re interested in the listing, you should hire an attorney and do your own due diligence.

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