Entire Alpine village for sale for just £194,000: what's the catch?

Italian village for sale on eBay for less than the average UK house price

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Borgata Calsazio in the Italian Alps has gone on the market for just €245,000 - which works out as roughly £194,000.

Borgata Calsazio in the Italian Alps has gone on the market for just €245,000 - which works out as roughly £194,000. The village is listed on eBay as having 14 houses, containing 50 rooms- at the foot of the Gran Paradiso National Park not far from Turin.

However, on closer inspection it may not be quite the bargain it seems.

It seems like an incredible bargain. After-all, you're getting entire village for marginally more than the average price of a property in Britain. The seller is hoping to attract someone who wants to start a restaurant or a resort.

In Italy there is a fashion for boutique resorts known as 'allegro diffuse' or spread-out hotels, where entire villages are converted to accommodation. There are around 40 of these in the country at the moment.

However, bidding is open until 15th July, and so far there are no takers, which is an indication that this village may cost the buyer far more than the original purchase price. The listing makes it clear that the village has seen better days. It's listed as 'used' and the description says that it "lends itself to a functional recovery, aimed at the renovation of buildings." It adds that the buildings need to be restored in a style that's sympathetic to their architectural heritage - which is especially important given that they are in a National Park.

For the right buyer this represents an enormous opportunity. However, they will need a master plan and deep pockets to make this work.

Other options

Any buyer might bear in mind that this is one of a large number of villages which are being gradually abandoned across Europe, which all need a private owner with a renovation plan to save them from becoming little more than ruins.

We reported in March on the fact that there are around 3,000 villages in Spain which have been left abandoned, and examples on the market start at just £50,000. One village was even being given away for free - to anyone who was willing to invest in it and restore life to the village.

There are similar villages in France too. In 2012 the village of St Nicolas Courbefy went up for sale - complete with a pool and tennis court.

And if you have the cash and the imagination for this kind of purchase, you might fancy something more exotic. For £51,430 you could buy the Placabucu Islands on Brazil's fourth longest river. The sale includes a one-room house, but the sellers say the site is ideal for building a brand new resort.

But what do you think? Do you fancy your own village, your own island, or are you happy settling for a house in the UK for roughly the same money?

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