If you’ve joined the remote-work revolution, you might have the opportunity to move wherever you want for the first time in your career. If you’re looking for a change of pace in a brand-new place, but you don’t know how you could possibly afford to relocate, consider the fact that there are destinations around the country and world that want your company so badly that they’ll give you land, a home and/or big piles of cash to make you a member of their community.
Italy’s $1 home bonanza started in the village of Gangi in 2011, according to the LA Times. With 5,800 towns with fewer than 5,000 residents — 2,300 of which are totally abandoned or close to it — the country is at risk of losing its historic rural hamlet culture. Starting with Gangi, small, remote villages across the country began selling abandoned homes for $1 to try to bolster their populations.
Most locations have been isolated and remote — until now.
In 2021, Maenza became the first town with proximity to Rome to join the $1 craze, marking the first time that a giveaway town that wasn’t an off-the-map backwater where travel was difficult and opportunities for work and academics were sparse.
The rural municipality of Pipestone in Manitoba, Canada, is selling plots of land for $10 for residential use. Interested buyers pay a $1,000 deposit and sign an offer agreement. When they build a home within the terms of the offer agreement, they get a refund of $990.
According to the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center, it’s part of a nationwide movement that began in New Brunswick when a single couple began giving away chunks of their 130-acre plot of land to create a new town around their home.
The Scottish Islands
Scotland is home to nearly 1,000 offshore islands whose communities are a crucial part of Scottish culture and history — but the populations of those communities are dwindling. To reinvigorate those isolated towns and hamlets, the government launched the National Islands Plan in 2019, and the initiative has survived both Brexit and the pandemic.
Scottish authorities launched a bond fund to give £50,000 — that’s about $65,000 — to up to 100 households who relocate to qualifying islands through 2026.
Mankato is a town of 900 people located in a county of around 3,000 — and if a small-town atmosphere in a rural part of a rural state sounds good to you, you can flock there for free land like the Homesteaders of old. The town is giving away more than two dozen lots to people who agree to build homes on those lots within six months.
All lots are close to the local hospital, school, steakhouse and motel, and are just a half-mile away from the town’s shopping district.
Known for its rugged beauty and mountain wilderness, West Virginia is suffering from acute population decline that’s nearly unmatched in the rest of the country. In order to reverse the flow of people, the government launched Ascend West Virginia, a program designed to lure new residents and stop the outward exodus.
The initiative offers $20,000 to anyone willing to pull up stakes and relocate to the Mountain State. The first part of the bounty is a $12,000 cash payment — no strings attached — that comes with $10,000 doled out over the first year and $2,000 over the second year.
The other $8,000 comes from freebies like free whitewater rafting, skiing and other outdoor recreation, which can otherwise get pricey fast, plus free rentals and gear for you and your family. Participants also get free co-working space and free professional development and entrepreneurial assistance.
The Tulsa Remote program — which incentivizes telecommuters with out-of-state full-time remote employment to relocate to Oklahoma — saw applications soar by 300% during the pandemic. Now, it’s beefed up its offerings with a fresh cash incentive.
The city is giving $10,000 to qualifying participants who purchase a home in Tulsa. The money is awarded as a lump sum, and in the city where the median home price is just over $205,000, $10,000 represents about 25% of a 20% down payment.
The state government of Vermont is offering two different incentives to lure new residents to the heart of New England. The New Relocating Worker Grant is for new residents who are filling a vacancy with a Vermont employer. The New Remote Worker Grant is for new arrivals who work remotely for an employer located out of state.
There are several qualifying factors, but those who fit the bill can receive up to $7,500 to move to Vermont.
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