Housing crisis solved? Italy's Sardinia is selling homes for €1

Saving for a house deposit just got a whole lot easier - that is, if you're prepared to move to Italy.  

Ollolai is a rural location on Sardinia, an island with far more sheep than people. The town was once a medieval capital but its population has halved in the last 50 years.

"A lot of people just left to find work outside, in Sardinia, in Italy or all over the world," a local woman told Channel 7.

"It's not for everybody, but if you live here and you stay here for a while you'll love how life is here."

Ollolai is sparsely occupied by an aging population, but 200 homes lie abandoned in the town. The properties are for sale for just €1 (NZ$1.70) each. 

The catch is that buyers must commit to refurbishing the houses, which are in poor condition and require a lot of work. Two have already been sold, one to a man named Vito who then hired local tradies to do the place up.

He told Channel 7 that it's good for towns built on tradition and history to be restored to their former glory.  

Some 2000 people have applied for the next 30 empty homes on offer. Locals have a preference for families and people keen to open businesses to inject life back into Ollolai's economy. They're even offering a 'baby bonus' for families who move into the area. 

Other towns across Italy have adopted similar schemes, offering cheap housing to combat rural decline. 

Mayor Efisio Arbau told Channel 7 the history of Ollolai goes back more than 4000 years, and his dream is for it to continue for another 4000 years.