Country village with dwindling population could pay families to move in

Would you live here for £53,000?


A picturesque Swiss mountain village could be about to offer families £53,000 each to move in .

That's because Albinen, in the Swiss Canton of Valais, is facing extinction as the population plummets - it now stands at just 240 people.

Residents are leaving the isolated rural spot in favour of city life and anyone under 45 could be offered a cash lump sum to reverse the decline.

The village is 4,265 feet above sea level and has a church as well as many traditional chalets.

According to municipality president Beat Jost, the village is characterised by its quietness, phenomenal views, great air quality and many hours of sunshine throughout the year.

Credits: CEN/Gerhard Mathieu

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Even though it is just under four miles from the spa town of Leukerbad, while the Canton capital of Sion and the industrial city of Visp are just a 35-minute drive away, Albinen has emptied out over the years because of a lack of jobs.

Jost said in the last few years the municipality has lost three families with eight children, forcing the closure of the village school.

Nowadays, just 240 people are left in Albinen, among them seven children who have to go by bus to nearby towns to attend school.

Credits: CEN/Gerhard Mathieu

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Jost is now looking for people under the age of 45 to move into one of the many empty houses in town or to buy ground to build their own property.

A group of young citizens even launched a petition in August - signed by more than half of the eligible voters in the village - asking the municipality to offer a cash incentive to those moving in to reverse the trend of emigration.

According to the initiative, which will be voted upon by the municipal council on November 30, the benefits are meant for anyone under the age of 45 who wants to build, buy or renovate a home in the area.

Credits: CEN/Gerhard Mathieu

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If the municipal council accepts the plan, each adult over the age of 45 will get 25,000 Swiss francs (£18,992), with the town also paying 10,000 francs (£7,597) for each child.

It means that a couple with two children would get 70,000 francs (£53,188 ) if they decided to move into the village.

There are, however, some rules which people must follow in order to get the subsidy.

Credits: CEN/Gerhard Mathieu

CEN/Gerhard Mathieu

Credits: CEN/Gerhard Mathieu

Jost said: "Second homes and large residential complexes of investor groups are out of the question.

"Anyone who moves away again 10 years after the start of construction or after buying the house must repay the money."

Another condition is that the investment amount is at least 200,000 francs (£151,925).

Jost said: "In a best case scenario, even the village school will reopen.


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