A British-based man who bought a rundown house in Italy for just €1 had to abandon the project as he couldn’t find workers to help him renovate the place.
Danny McCubbin, 58, ended up buying himself a house in Mussomeli, Sicily, where a 'Case 1 Euro' campaign was launched to encourage foreigners to the area.
The Aussie had been living in the UK for 17 years when he heard about the scheme and decided to jump at the chance - because, let’s face it, you can’t argue with an 85p home.
That being said, a year after urging others to do the same as him, it turns out the only stipulation - that buyers must renovate the house within three years of purchase - proved to be tricky to fulfil.
Labour shortages have hit Italy’s construction industry in recent months, so much so that Danny - a chef who has worked for Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Foundation - couldn’t find anyone to help him renovate his dream home.
As such, he was forced to sell the property back to an estate agency after just a few months, receiving his €1 payment back.
The shortage of builders occurring all over the country is partly driven by a surge in demand as the government introduced tax breaks offering homeowners up to 110 percent deductions on expenses relating to energy efficient home renovations.
While the aim was to offset the economic strain caused by the pandemic, construction workers have been left unable to meet demand, triggering a shortage in workers and an increase in building material costs.
Danny waited a year before deciding he couldn’t go through with the €1 home.
Speaking to iNews, he said: “It was very difficult to find a builder and over time the house deteriorated.
“By the time I did find a building company, it was double the cost to renovate it. I decided it was not worth it for me any more.”
The chef was obviously disappointed with the situation, having enjoyed the quiet life in Mussomeli, a town of just 11,000 people.
However, he managed to turn it around by buying another cheap house - this time for €8,000 (£6,700) - which needed less work.
Danny was able to find two construction workers to do a week of work for him, with the smaller fixes setting him back €5,000 (£4,200), all in all costing less than you’d expect to pay for a small deposit on a UK home.
He’s settled into the area, and has since opened a community kitchen to make and deliver free meals to vulnerable families.
“I moved here at the end of December 2020, because I wanted to live in Italy when Brexit happened,” he said.
“I’ve always wanted to live in Sicily, my parents loved the countryside. So I asked myself what was missing in Mussomeli and I came up with the idea of The Good Kitchen.”
As for other people wanting to take advantage of the cheap home scheme, Mussomeli’s deputy mayor Toti Nigrelli has promised to alleviate the labour shortage.
He said: “Local enterprises, which are busy with renovations until 2024, are forced to turn down new contracts, but soon there will be an influx of new builders from abroad to help out.”
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@dannyforgood
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