Murphy's Law: Sailors Pay To Go Native


November 5,2008: The U.S. Navy is finding that a bargain is not always a bargain. For example, there is a major U.S. naval base in Naples, Italy, and there are hundreds of apartments available on base for married sailors. Hundreds of these apartments stand empty, shunned by sailors and their families. The rents are attractive (less than $2,000 for a four bedroom unit). Similar housing off base costs about twice as much. But many sailors prefer the off-base housing, mainly because they want the experience of living in Italy. The on-base housing is like living in the United States (of an American naval base back home.)

This attitude results in over 200 on-base apartments being empty, costing the navy over two million dollars a year in lost rents. The navy is trying to deal with this by making the two bedroom units (about $1,300 a month) for unmarried troops (who can double up, and live better than in the barracks or bachelor officer quarters.) Some of the empty apartments can also be used for transient housing, for military or civilian personnel who are there for a short stay.


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