Legrad was once a thriving town – so much of an urban center that it had the second-largest population in Croatian territory. But ever since the Austro-Hungarian empire collapsed in 1918, it has continued to suffer from depopulation over the course of the last century, Reuters reported.
In response, the town has been luring in new residents with homes for just one Croatian kuna, or the equivalent of about 16 U.S. cents.
Of course, the offer comes with some stipulations. The houses are all abandoned, and most require serious work, but the town will chip in another 25,000 Croatian kuna (or about $4,045 in U.S. dollars) toward refurbishing the abode. On top of that, those taking advantage of the deal need to be under the age of 40, financially stable, and commit to staying put for at least 15 years.
Located in northern Croatia near the River Drava and Hungarian border, Legard hopes to increase its current population of 2,250, which is only 50% of the count 70 years ago, Reuters said. “We turned into a border town with few transport connections to other places,” Legrad’s mayor Ivan Sabolić explained to the news service. “Since then, the population has been gradually falling.”
When the news first came out last year, the town saw interest from people all over, including Turkey, Russia, Colombia, Argentina, and the Ukraine, Sabolic said. But with immigration to Croatia being a challenge, they’re currently sticking to those who live domestically. He added that the area’s job opportunities include wood and metal processing and food production. Of the 19 original homes marketed, 17 have been sold so far.
Croatia isn’t the only country selling cheap homes in areas that have seen its population decreasing. Japan is also offering bargain residences all over the country, as have many Italian towns.