We've done it before—daydreamed about moving to Italy for that $1 mansion, or cried about that steal of a Game of Thrones castle. Housing affordability is at an all time low, tiny homes are more than just a trend, and apartments are starting to look a lot like coffins. Meanwhile, all that urban sprawl is causing structures around the world—churches, inns, and general stores included—to go up for sale.
But forget individual buildings: towns are the the new must-have for people who have it all. Goop's latest holiday gift guide covered everything from golden banana lamps to a village in Lugo, Spain. At at little over $190,000, the sale included a granary, mill, and 4 large stone homes all within the historic city of Lugo, just a short day trip to the beach or nearby Portugal. The home was listed on Aldeas Abandonadas (Abandoned Villages in Spanish), a real estate website catering to old towns and new wellness resorts for sale across the whole of Spain.
The prices vary based on location and quality, with 20 acre, pristine parcels in like this for millions or resort villages with 11 updated homes like this one priced cheaper than many a NYC one-bedroom. The town trend isn't exclusive to Spain. France, Italy and the U.S. all offer large plots of resort ready land for the taking. While Europe might have better deals, the U.S. has fully functional spaces with airstrips, inns, and wellness communities.
Rick Hofstetter bought Story, Indiana in 1999. The town was in disrepair, thanks to its previous owner, and featured a restaurant, inn, and a coveted spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Along with his business partner, Hofstetter cleaned up and restored the town, eventually buying his partner out and creating a small haven for himself. Now, he's placed it on the market for $3.8 million, but won't sell to just anyone with a checkbook.
"I got an expiration date on me, but the town does not. I want to put it in safe hands and send it down the tunnel of time," Hofstetter told CNN Business.
Town buying is much older than Schitt's Creek. In 2004, Bruce Krall made history for the first town purchase on eBay for $700,00. He's since offloaded the 83-acre California paradise, but eBay has remained home to famous town auctions, from California ghost towns to historic New England hamlets in Connecticut.
The housing shortage has led U.S. towns to follow the rest of the market and raise prices—despite a solid deal per square foot—making village living stateside less affordable than the European version. If you need me, I'll be on Gites de France, daydreaming of replacing my tiny home with a towering chateau.
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