Escape from New York

Reminder: abandoned towns are still much cheaper than a New York apartment

By Virginia K. Smith | August 26, 2015 - 1:59PM

At this point, it's not even shocking anymore to hear stories about entire towns (or islands) that cost less than your typical New York City apartment. Witness the $240,000 abandoned California mining town up for sale last year, and the $2.4 million Connecticut ghost town looking for takers this spring.

Apparently, the phenomenon is more pronounced overseas, and in Spain in particular. Nearly half of Spain's 3,500 rural villages are now abandoned, as NPR reported earlier this week, and brokers and politicians have been trying to breath new life into them by pitching them as peaceful fixer-upper opportunities to prospective buyers. (Indeed, last year The Daily Mail followed a retired British couple who spent £140,000 for an abandoned village to call their own—and that price tag includes renovations!)

One example: The village of O Penso, which has "100 acres of land, a total of six houses, two barns and a big cattle barn that'll hold 70 cattle," according to Mark Adkinson, a British-born broker who now specializes in selling the abandoned homes and villages of Spain's Galicia region. (You can check out more of his listings here.) The asking price for O Penso? A scant (and negotiable, according to NPR), $230,000. Not to be outdone, one local mayor is giving a way an entire town for free to buyers who agree to stay and fix it up (not unlike the recent giveaway of homes in Italy.)

And there are more like it: Adkinson recently told the Christian Science Monitor that he's identified as many as 400 villages that could potentially end up on the market, if he can determine ownership rights. This is all confirmed by the very existence of, which links through to a Spanish language website with dozens of homes and villages for sale. Below, check out this hamlet in Lugo, which includes four houses, a mill, a granary, and a barn, and is asking 250,000€, or around $287,000: 

Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, there's a cute, $299,000 one-bedroom, one-bath in Washington Heights with your name on it.

It could use a refresh, but considering the current median price of a Manhattan studio co-op is now $380,000, according to Douglas Elliman, it's a (relative) bargain. 


Make the weak Euro work for you: vacation homes across the pond for around $200,000 or under

Not a drill: an Italian town is just giving away houses for free

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