German City Sells $1,000 Houses on eBay

Employees raise a prefabricated house for refugees on the production floor of a construction company near Lindau, Germany, on December 7, 2015. Michaela Rehle/Reuters

The German City of Hamburg was selling 50 weather and winter-proof wooden buildings that had once been used to house refugees in an ad on eBay that was taken down on Thursday after dozens of people showed interest.

"The response on the first day was enormous; we had around 100 inquiries. There was interest from all over Germany," a spokesman from the Central Coordination Unit for Refugees, Daniel Posselt, said, according to Deutsche Welle.

Prices started at $1,140 for the wooden structures measuring a total of 301 square feet. The authorities advertised that the buildings could be used as a workshop, guesthouse, or even a yoga studio. Despite the cheap cost, buyers would have to transport the houses themselves and obtain a building permit.

A local church in Hamburg is interested in using the houses for their original purpose of housing refugees along with others who are homeless.

"If they give us the space we need, we could immediately put homeless people in the wooden houses," social worker Stephan Karrenbauer, said, according to Deutsche Welle.

While the Church hopes to secure 20 houses, a company may buy another 10 for construction workers.

The houses, which originally cost a little over $26,000 each, were built when more than 10,000 asylum seekers were arriving in Hamburg each month when refugee arrivals were at their peak in 2015.

At the time, Angela Merkel allowed more than one million refugees to enter Germany. Merkel's government signed an agreement with Madrid last week that would allow for the return of migrants living in Germany who originally entered Europe through Spain. A similar deal was made with Greece on Friday, reported Reuters.

"It's good that we've got a result," Merkel, who has been pressured by her government to do something about migrants, said of the deal, Reuters reported.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had previously threatened to resign in a move which would bring down Merkel's government if the chancellor did not do something about migration.

"If the chancellor succeeds in finding a European solution, no one will be happier than me," Seehofer said prior to a summit that was being held by European Union leaders in June. He warned that if no progress were made during the summit, the German government would have to "act nationally."

A parliamentary majority is held by a coalition made up of Merkel's Christian Democrats Party and Seehofer's Christian Social Union.

"The number of deportations must be increased significantly. We need to take tougher action, especially in the case of criminals and perpetrators among asylum seekers," Seehofer said prior to taking up his post as interior minister.