Cities Across the World That Offer Homes for a Dollar

You’ve probably seen articles like this one where a particular city, usually a small town in a remote country, offers homes for a dollar. Are these offers for real? Many of them are very much for real. However, in most cases, there is a bit of a catch as part of these deals. If you can go through the entire process, though, here are some places where you can become the proud homeowner for around one dollar.

Mussomeli, Zungoli, and Patricia in Italy

 A narrow street between the old houses of an old town in the Campania region.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Giambattista Lazazzera

Italy may be the country with the most cities offering homes to anyone for a dollar. Many of these places are rural towns that will soon become ghost towns if people don’t start taking up these one-dollar home offers. The “catch,” in most cases, is that the buyer has to commit to renovating the house within a year. That means the investment to own a home in these towns will be much steeper than just one dollar.

Cumnock, Australia

Animals on bikes along the Banjo Paterson Way, Cumnock, Australia.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Slow Walker

This is a town of under 300 people west of Sidney. Homes here are a bit more expensive, costing one dollar a week! The main issue may not be the higher “cost of living” but the fact that people are starting to leave this place behind. Finding stores, schools, and other basic infrastructure won’t be as easy. In the 2021 census, authorities reported that 491 people were living here, which has only continued to drop in the last three years.

Liverpool, England

Old red brick buildings in the city center of Liverpool
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Madrugada Verde

Not just rural towns that have adopted this scheme of selling homes for a dollar. In this case, it’s one pound since these homes are in the UK. There’s a neighborhood near Anfield, the famous stadium of Liverpool’s soccer team, where Victorian-era houses are falling apart. Residents are encouraged to apply to own the homes. However, locals say that people with more money in the bank have a leg up in the application process. The city is looking for these homes to be renovated, so they don’t generally hand over the keys to anyone. That didn’t stop a 30-year-old middle-class Liverpool native from applying, and now she’s built a beautiful home on a property she bought for one pound.

Monti Sciaga, Switzerland

Scenic view on beautiful Lake Maggiore among the mountains, Italy
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Yuriy Chertok

This has to be one of the most appealing offers on the list. Monti Sciaga, Switzerland, is a small town near the Alps that overlooks Lake Maggiore. The city is also offering homes for a dollar. Again, the catch is that some of these places may have to be renovated, and getting workers out to this lakeside village may not be easy or cost-effective. However, people with enough money in the bank can build an amazing summer home here!

Chicago, USA

Aerial view of Chicago houses.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Lena Platonova

A few U.S. cities are also trying their hand at selling properties for a dollar; Chicago is one of them. The city is not only offering properties near the downtown area; there are also plots of land on the outskirts of Chicago that are part of the program. Applying to get a chance to purchase one of these homes can be a lengthy process, and there’s no guarantee of success. It may be easier to get one of the plots of land as a business willing to relocate to the area. You have to make sure your pitch to the city is just right to have the best chance to win!

Roubaix, France

Tramway linking the city of Lille to Roubaix and Tourcoing in the north of France
Image Credit: Shutterstock / MisterStock

This is the perfect spot for digital nomads looking to settle down! This city has a ton of museums, cafés, and everything you’d expect from a small town in France. The problem is that the local industry isn’t booming, so finding a good-paying job here can be challenging. That’s why the offer is ideal for digital nomads. People willing to bring their family here and live in the city for at least six years can get a chance to buy a dollar home in the region.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo skyline and Mountain fuji in Japan
Image Credit: Shutterstock / f11photo

Tokyo is another big city that is having trouble with some of its older buildings. Indeed, the homes you can find for a dollar will require much work. Plus, local authorities may not be too keen to sell to foreigners unless they can present a decent renovation plan. It’s worth a try if you’re looking for a flat in Japan’s busiest hub!

Toronto, Canada

View of Nathan Phillips Square and Toronto Sign in downtown at night, in Toronto
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jon Bilous

Another potential surprise on the list! Toronto is a city that’s been praised for its quality of life. The harsh winters may not be for everyone, but at these low rates, the building you buy can be a summer home. It’s a bit of a stretch to say that there are homes in Toronto for a dollar. Auctions for certain dwellings start at a dollar; that much is true. However, most of these houses don’t sell for that rate, so it’s a bit of a sneaky tactic that local authorities are trying.

Detroit, USA

Detroit, Michigan, USA downtown skyline from above at dusk.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

A program run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development created the framework to allow cities to offer homes at the dollar rate, which is why quite a few U.S. cities are on this list. The program will enable cities to sell homes valued at under $25,000 for a dollar after the property has been on the market for more than six months. These may not be high-end properties you’ll have access to, but it’s one way to buy a house in 2024.

Buffalo, USA

Buffalo City aerial view from the top of the City Hall in downtown Buffalo, New York, USA.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Wangkun Jia

The same program that allows people in Detroit to own homes for one dollar is being applied in Buffalo, New York. Of course, there are specific stipulations that people need to follow to keep the property. As is the case with most of the cities on this list, people must commit to living in the property for a set number of years and make an effort to renovate it.

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

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