Europe's dream country seeks new residents, offers houses at 13 cents

Europe's dream country seeks new residents, offers houses at 13 cents

In this European country, it's possible to buy a house for just a few cents.

Communication operations aimed at selling houses to attract buyers are nothing new. Recently, Italy offered properties for just one euro, creating an international media frenzy and encouraging hundreds of people to move to hilltop villages and seaside towns. Now, another European country is taking the initiative further, offering an incredible opportunity to take the plunge and move abroad.

The media outlet Forbes reports on the unlikely initiative launched by this small Croatian town to attract buyers from all over the world: it is offering houses at a symbolic - but precise - price of 13 cents on the dollar (or approximately 12 cents on the euro). Like the low-cost real estate program in Italy, the community launched this project to offset its demographic deficit.

Legrad is a small rural town in northeastern Croatia, along the winding Drava River, which forms the border with Hungary. The town offers plenty of green space, access to nature, and river beaches for summer lounging. The collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire a century ago and the redrawing of borders relegated the once prosperous town to peripheral status. Currently, the small community has a population of just 2,000 and is keen to increase this figure. So, to make this dream a reality, the town council has launched an improbable project to attract families to Legrad.

The authorities have announced the distribution, virtually free of charge, of the town's houses, or rather to sell them for the symbolic price of 13 cents. This price was not set at random, as it corresponds to one kuna, Croatia's former currency before the changeover to the euro on January 1, 2023. Legrad had already tried this tactic to attract media attention and thus young buyers: in 2021, the town had already started selling houses for one kuna.

"We've become a border town with few transport links to other places. Since then, the population has gradually declined," said the town's mayor, Ivan Sabolic, interviewed by Reuters. At the time, five houses had been sold and three families had moved into the town. There are, of course, a few conditions to be met in order to apply for the offer and hope to become new residents of Legrad. Applicants must be under 45, be in a marital or extramarital partnership, have no criminal record and own no other property. 

Danijel Harmnicar, a young man from northern Croatia, seized the opportunity offered by Legrad and purchased a one-kuna house for his family, consisting of his wife and two small children. "It's far more satisfying to reside in our own home than to be tenants. We have no qualms about staying here for 15 years; relocation isn't in our plans," he said to Reuters.