Real Estate That Even You Can Probably Afford

Dollar houses exist, but you’ll pay in elbow grease
Real Estate That Even You Can Probably Afford

If home ownership is your endgame here in America, its a pretty dire time. Is it still possible to save up enough scratch from what are probably three different freelance jobs to buy a house of your very own? Sure, but its going to be a whole lot harder than it was for your parents. Median U.S. house prices are approaching $500,000, which is a pretty penny no matter how many monthly payments you chop it into. 

So whats a modern fella with a dream of a home to call his own to do? 

Well, if youre willing to move, and accept that the house you get might be more than a fixer-upper, there are places around the world that are literally giving houses away, or very close to it…

Japan's “Akiya”


One particular brand of cheap house that seems to continually come up is Japans abandoned houses, or akiya. Japans property taxes are expensive and a little strange, with a notable quirk being that taxes may be cheaper on land with an abandoned house than on empty land with the house demolished. This already should give you a hint that the list price isnt the final bill, but it does lead to abandoned houses being sold for extremely low prices that include the land, with some even being offered for free. Just don't expect them to be ready to move in.

Maenza, Italy

Rural towns in Italy are struggling to keep their populations up, as people overwhelmingly prefer the convenience of city life. Its led to a particularly dramatic demonstration of supply and demand, with some of them offering homes for as little as one euro, in order to jump-start the population and economy. Just dont think you can scoop up a cheap pied-a-terre. These programs often require the buyer to live there for a minimum of at least a year.

Monti Sciaga, Switzerland


This isnt just a fad in Italy, with other European countries and towns giving it a shot before they fade off the map. Case in point: Monti Sciaga in Switzerland is putting up houses for a single Swiss franc. This, too, comes with caveats — namely, any buyer has to commit to renovating the home they buy, meaning youll likely be in the hole for a decent amount of scratch post-purchase.

Baltimore, Maryland

In Baltimore, the city seemingly reached a tipping point when it came to vacant houses. With housing prices hitting exorbitant numbers, the fact is there are going to be vacant houses sitting around, which are both a slap in the face to people who would be perfectly happy to live there, as well as a bit of an eyesore. Thats why theyve launched a program to sell some of these vacant homes for a single dollar to willing homeowners, looking to give residents of the city a chance to, you know, actually live there.

Detroit, Michigan

Public Domain

I spent my college years in Michigan, and while Ill admit Detroit might not be the powerhouse it was in the past, “ruin porn” in the media would have you believe its not much more than a real-life Last of Us situation, which is far from the truth. 

But more specifically on the subject of this article, Detroit is also famous for dirt-cheap real estate, including houses offered for a dollar in a similar program to Baltimore. Now, these are in the rough parts of the city youve probably heard about. And as with pretty much any entry on this list, keep in mind the sticker price is far from the total economic outlay youre going to have to make on them. Still, they're available.

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?