Tuesday, June 23, 2015

GMGH's Lobang of the Year: Free House

All day, everyday, all I hear is people (especially Singaporeans, which is ironic since we get access to cheaper HDBs) complaining that HOUSING IS SO EXPENSIVE. That's not to say that I disagree.

I watch HGTV. I've seen the huge American houses that sell for under SGD $400,000. I'm not ignorant to the fact that housing in Singapore really is expensive. Of course, we also live in a safe society where maniacs don't randomly shoot up people and the police don't kill citizens, but hey, how do you compare apples to oranges?

So anyway, to all those people that bitch and moan about how everything in Singapore is expensive and that you want to migrate, I have good news for you! I found an epic lobang! Guess what it is? Okay, of course the title gave it away. I've found free houses!

(You might notice that this is dated in 2014. This is because it is the English version. You are more than welcome to read and translate the updated Italian version yourself if you don't trust me)

The municipal of Gangi, on the island of Sicily, which is in Italy, is giving away free houses! (Full NY Times report here)

Of course, there are some catches, but they are rather simple:

  1. Be an EU citizen
  2. Fix the house to be livable within 3 years
  3. It's yours to live or rent out

The biggest hurdle is of course becoming an EU citizen. You should drop Roy Ngerng an email for some tips since I am not the expert on migrating away, ha ha.

The houses being "given away" are not in quite the condition you would expect, which is one of the reasons why they are being given it away. In Singapore where land is expensive and so is housing, it is not common to see housing turn to shit. Here are the 2 month old listings of the free houses they have to offer.

Another reason for this project by the comune is that the population of Gangi is declining and they see this as a two-pronged approach that helps increase the population as well as offer jobs to locals (through the construction and renovation sector).

I've been to Sicily before and I ate horse meat there too, but unfortunately I've never even heard of Gangi, let alone pass by it through my journeys around the world.

Mondello beach

 Downtown Catania

 Via Plebiscito for some horsey horsey and birra

Coast along Taormina

Sicily is a beautiful island and although I've never been to Greece before, I sometimes felt like I was in Greece. It feels a bit like Malta too, being hot, dry and an island. Italy has great food, beautiful beaches and an amazing history as well as culture.

Gangi might not be in the best location ever - it is an hour drive away to the nearest beach. It is 2 hours to either Palermo or Catania, both of which are the major cities on Sicily.

But hey, free stuff, how to complain right?

After you renovate your free house all nice and spiffy, don't forget to send me an invite to visit, okay? Who else so nice give you such lobang?

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