11 Mar, 2014 @ 13:03
1 min read

Pick up a Spanish ghost town for next to nothing

a barca e

ABANDONED medieval hamlets across Spain are being ‘given away’ to foreign investors.

The deserted villages, many of them centuries old, can now be acquired for free or bought for incredibly low prices.

The village of A Barca in northern Spain, which dates back to the 15th century, is being offered for nothing to the right investor.

Any potential adoptors of the village, however, will have to prove they have a viable plan to preserve the delapidated stone houses.

Other villages are being sold off at rock-bottom prices, such as Pena Vella, near A Pontenova in Galicia which is on the market for just €62,000.

Estate agents say the majority of these ‘ghost hamlets’ are being bought by foreigners, with Britons, Norwegians, Americans, Germans and Russians snatching up medieval properties.

There are around 2,900 abandoned hamlets across the country, according the Spain’s National Statistics Institute.

Most of these were left vacant after villagers moved to big cities, or were forced to leave after farming land became less fertile.

Imogen Calderwood

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  1. Many of these old properties were used in the Franco days for some pretty hideous crimes. I knew of a family who purchased such a property, a water mill. They were continually warned away by locals on many occasions, much to their surprise, but after they rennovated it they then found from a local historian that it was used for torture and executions during the civil war. They moved out a few days later.

  2. Fred,

    Interesting, but surprised the family did not make inquiries after such warnings prior to spending money in renovations.

    What happened to the Water Mill.

  3. It’s difficult to make enquiries when you are newcomers to a land and don’t know anyone, and of course don’t speak the language fluently. Hindsight eh? The agent (Spanish) did not mention the issue to the buyers. These old houses are all over the place, not just in Galicia – there are hundreds in Andalucia too. I have heard similar stories with other derelict properties and I even viewed one myself many years ago – it still had the bullet holes in the walls.

    The mill was put back on the market and I think they sold it eventually (with its past omitted from the particulars, as it wasn’t the best selling point).

  4. Fred,

    I’m not trying to prolong the chat but just making observations such as how did he manage to understand the warnings, and surprised he did not use a solicitor that spoke and understood his own language and of course there are such things as interpreters.

    Common sense tells me to use an interpreter each time that i need to visit the hospital the same as the bullet holes may have put you off.

    Just thoughts really.

  5. The agent do not have to tell anything. He/she is working for the seller. Buyer beware comes to mind.

    On a practical note. In places mentioned I do not think you will find s translator/lawyer. Besides the local layer will not be professional and will be connected to one of the parties i.e. seller, agent.

    Finally the issue here is of history & not of legality.

  6. I have first hand experience of lawyers and judges in Galicia – cuidado, cuidado mucho cuidado.

    The article mentions that many gave up farming because the land was worked to death and not mentioned desertification – how do you live without water.

    Then again in Galicia you get too much rain and don’t forget the terrible humididty.

  7. Camel,

    Correct on every point.

    It’s like a person selling a car and takes a purchaser to an outhouse and show’s him a rusty old crappy car. “Well there you are Sir” the seller say’s pointing to the rusty old car. “Just what i’m looking for” replied the buyer. “Well you will need transport” The seller say. “No problem” The purchaser replies, “I have a trailer”.

    So both men push’s the rusty old car onto the trailer, pay’s the asking price and the purchaser drives off.

    A few hours later the purchaser phones up sounding quite annoyed.

    “Whats the problem” the seller ask’s. “Well the car had no engine” replied the buyer. “You didn’t ask” replied the seller. “You could have lifted the bonnet and looked”, and puts the phone down.

    Now who is right or wrong. See what I mean Camel. Hehe

  8. Camel,

    There could be a flip side to that rusty old crappy car.
    The seller renovated the car to pristine condition and was sold at action for £2 million.

    The original seller noticed the sale in the newspaper and phone the original purchaser sounding quit annoyed.

    “Whats the problem” the purchaser asks. The seller replied “I didn’t realize it was a one off car and was so valuable”. “Well you didn’t ask” replied the purchaser. “You should have done your homework” and puts the phone down.

    Again who is right or wrong. See what I mean Camel. Hehe

  9. Camel P.S

    In my last note to you it should have said on the second line

    “The purchaser renovated” and not the seller. Typing too quick i’m afraid and sending. Hehe

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