A small town in the north Croatian, whose population moved to larger urban centers, sells abandoned houses for one kuna (13 euro cents) in an effort to attract more residents. Although under certain conditions.
Legrand, once Croatia’s second most populous center, has shrunk steadily since the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire a century ago, when new borders marginalized it.
“We have become a border town with few transport links to other places. “Since then, the population has been gradually declining,” said city mayor Ivan Sampolic.
Surrounded by greenery and forests, the city is close to the border with Hungary and has about 2,250 inhabitants, half of what it had 70 years ago.
For its first attempt, the city advertised 19 empty houses and abandoned construction sites at a price of 1 kuna (0.13 euros) each, the mayor said.
So far, 17 properties have been sold. Not all homes for sale are in the same condition…. Some are half-destroyed, without doors and windows, with mold covering the walls.
The basic condition for individual buyers or couples who want to settle in Legrand is that they must be financially solvent and under 40 years old. They must also commit to staying there for at least 15 years.
Sampolic said the offer attracted interest from abroad. “After some media reports about our energy, we received inquiries about homes from far away places such as Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Argentina or Colombia.”
However, immigration is complicated in Croatia, so at the moment the city offers the opportunity to shop only to locals, according to the mayor.