By Stephanie Sims
They say real estate is a great investment, but we’re not sure they meant entire towns of real estate.
According to the Huffington Post, quite a few people have named the right price and bought themselves entire towns. In April, Buford, Wyo., sold to a Vietnamese buyer for $900,000. The same month, a couple bought the town of Wauconda, Wash., population 226, for $360,000. In May, the French “ghost village” of Courbefy sold to an American photographer for about $643,000.
While buying a town isn’t always a good return on investment – in order to reap the benefits, you have to make sure all businesses are booming and that the tiny town becomes a tourist destination – the Huffington Post found five towns (mostly in the Montana/Wyoming/Nebraska area) that could be bought for the right price. Hey, why pay $250,000 for a one-bedroom condo when you could buy a town of your own?
Town One: Garryowen, Mont. Population: Two
This tiny town is literally a 7.7 acre lot consisting of a gas station, the 15,700-square-foot town hall, a 2,900-square-foot mixed-use building, and a picnic area. But this tiny town could rake in more tourism dollars; The Battle of Little Big Horn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand, began here.
Town Two: Frannie, Wyo. Population: N/A.
This town is up for auction on eBay, with a starting bid of $330,000. There haven’t been any bids as of press time, so what are you waiting for? With the purchase of this town, you’d get a 5,000-square-foot commercial building, a now-closed restaurant, numerous rental mobile homes, a pond, an apple tree, plum trees, two gas pumps and more than 500 feet of highway frontage. But, although there is a bar in the town of Frannie, that is not included in this package – it’s being sold separately.
Town Three: Valle Piola, Italy. Population: Zero
If you consider a deserted Italian village romantic, this might be a purchase you’d consider. The nonexistent demand for sheep farming drove everyone from the town 30 years ago, but there’s still 11 semi-ruined stone buildings, including a church dating to the 13th century, and a pair of shepherd’s houses there. If you’ve always wanted to escape to Italy and can negotiate around the $782,040 asking price, this could be your chance to run a bed and breakfast (or a full-blown tourist town), because the town isn’t really near any popular Italian travel spots.
Town Four: Henry River Mill Village, N.C. Population: Zero
If you’re a hardcore fan of The Hunger Games, maybe the $1.4 million asking price for this abandoned North Carolina town isn’t all that much. After appearing on the silver screen as the hometown of the movie’s main character, Katniss Everdeen, original owner Wade Shepherd listed it for sale. But no offers have been made yet.
Town Five: Toomsboro, Ga. Population: approx. 700
Here we go! An actual town with a decent population – or, at least, a population bigger than zero. For $2.5 million, the lucky purchaser will get 28 properties in the quaintly historic hamlet of Toomsboro. The more than 50-acre parcel includes a 500-seat opera house, a barber shop, an 18-suite hotel, a bank with brass teller cages, a railroad station, about a dozen houses, a functioning grist mill, a syrup mill and cotton warehouse.
Remember agents, real estate isn’t the only thing for sale – buyers could need you to broker the sale of a town. You never know!