- Citizens flee to the agricultural sector
- Who buys rural property
- The cost of the countryside
- Rehabilitation of destroyed houses
The financial crisis gave rise to a new curious phenomenon in Spanish real estate: the inaccessibility of apartments today is successfully compensated by the availability of … entire villages, the cost of which is several times lower than the average mortgage in any of the cities in Spain. We are talking about abandoned villages, the number of which in the country today exceeds 3,000, and their prices vary from 55 thousand euros for a land plot with several houses to entire settlements of dozens of houses, squares and churches for 600 thousand euros. All prices are negotiable and reduced by at least 10% at the time of the sale and purchase transaction.
Citizens flee to the agricultural sector
The interest in abandoned villages in Spain is growing almost exponentially every year. An increasing number of city dwellers are fleeing here, fleeing the crisis and unemployment, hoping to find shelter and comfort after financial losses and the impossibility of living on minimal government subsidies. “Pure gold” is what their buyers call the savior villages today, and the rural environment, in its long-standing struggle against depopulation, welcomes its newly-made neighbors with open arms. Many village “newcomers” try their luck in creating an agricultural business, others dream of forgetting about the city asphalt forever and make a living by remote work alone with nature, others grab any local vacancies and work as carpenters, bakers, pharmacists and whatever comes along arm in arm, pursuing only one goal: not to return to the city.
The official website for the sale of abandoned villages aldeasabandonadas.com receives about 300 inquiries from potential buyers every day, which once again proves the increased interest in the rural real estate sector.
In 2012, the number of towns and villages sold in Spain increased by 19% compared to 2011.
“There is a clear tendency for people to return to a rural lifestyle due to the housing and financial crisis. In rural conditions, they have the opportunity to find decent living conditions and get rid of the stress of big cities. Living and working in Madrid and the countryside are two different lifestyles, polarizingly different from each other, at least when it comes to the cost of housing: an apartment in the center of the capital costs as much as a whole town just 72 km from Madrid. outskirts “, – say in aldeasabandonadas.com.
The rural environment is gaining more and more against the backdrop of the ailing economy of Spanish cities, and if this continues, in some 10 years there will be no vacant villages in Spain, and the prices of those purchased today will increase several times, independent experts say..
As a rule, 97% of buyers purchase an entire village, but sometimes there are also “retail” sales of one or more buildings. There are settlements where only 7 or 8 houses have survived, in others – about 30 or a little more, and the largest abandoned village in Spain with 70 houses is for sale in the province of Burgos..
Who buys rural property
According to statistics, 70% of buyers are individuals, the remaining 30% are hotel business owners and restaurateurs, while three or four years ago it was exactly the opposite. Modern rural “private traders” are liberal professionals who can work anywhere in the world, “remote workers” who work on the Internet, newbie businessmen who want to devote themselves to rural tourism, and the urban unemployed in pursuit of good luck in their new rural environment..
Slightly more than half of the buyers are Spanish (55%), the rest are foreigners from friendly European countries: Germany, Great Britain, Holland and Belgium, and more recently the United States. So, more recently, several married couples from England pooled their finances and bought an abandoned village in the Eo Valley in Pontenova (Lugo), consisting of four houses and a hangar. All this beauty cost them 125 thousand euros, which is lower than the average cost of the most basic dwelling in any of the Spanish cities. Each house has all the necessary documentation, including registration in the cadastre and real estate registry.
The cost of the countryside
The oldest settlements in Spain, which are threatened with extinction, and where the average age of the population is 60 years, sell their land at symbolic prices with only one purpose: to attract as many new and, most importantly, young residents. One of them was the village of Olmeda de Cuesta in the province of Cuenca, 160 km from Madrid. Nobody has been born here for more than 40 years, which turned it into the “oldest” settlement in the country. According to the local mayor, the village needs energetic entrepreneurs who can create jobs and live in Olmeda on a permanent basis. For this, the mayor’s office put up for sale 14 land plots ranging from 66 to 300 sq. m for less than 15 euros per square meter! To prevent possible speculation, the transfer of land to third parties will be prohibited for several years after the initial sale and purchase transaction. In addition, part of the money from the purchase will be returned to entrepreneurs if they stay to work in the village..
Today Olmeda de Cuesta is home to only 15 people permanently, which threatens its continued existence on the map of Spain. To prevent such a sad ending, the mayor’s office put up his land for sale at unprecedented prices, and the action was not slow to give its first results: the purchase of land plots with an average area of 150 square meters. m and a cost of 2000 euros (13.33 euros per 1 sq. m!) has already attracted a lot of people.
The only problem is the creation of new jobs in the village, where olives and grain are mainly cultivated. True, for those who are tired of the city and dream of tranquility, clean air and products without chemicals, Olmeda de Cuesta will be an ideal and, most importantly, almost free place to stay.
Similar promotions are taking place today in other regions of Spain, where entire devastated villages are sold for the price of an average apartment..
Galicia is an autonomous region in the north-west of the country with the largest number of abandoned villages: about 2052. The cost of the cheapest of them – Antas de Ulla in Lugo is 55 thousand euros with the possibility of buying each of the houses separately for 15 thousand. euros and even less.
All buildings are made of stone and have their own 200-meter plot of land, plus the magnificent Galician landscapes surrounding them. Not far from Antas de Ulla, another abandoned village is for sale – Ferreira (Lugo), consisting of 5 private houses, 4 residential buildings with 4 apartments in each, one church and a children’s park, at a price of 600 thousand euros. According to experts, this place is an ideal platform for creating an ecovillage for 21 families or a spacious bio hotel. Here, in Galicia, the mini-village of Castro de Cabayedo (Lugo) is for sale, consisting of two stone houses with water and electricity worth only 26 thousand euros.
Interesting real estate offers can be found in the neighboring province of Galicia – Asturias, known for its fabulous nature and the best cuisine in Spain. For example, an Asturian house in the Tarkmundi Valley with an area of 200 sq. m and a land plot of 300 sq. m, costs 36 thousand euros. Another abandoned village in the prestigious tourist and wine region of Ribeira Sacra with 4 houses, barns and stables will cost its buyers 90 thousand euros.
The most expensive devastated settlements in Spain are in Madrid and Catalonia. So, 70 km from Madrid, the village of Pegerinos is for sale with 23 land plots with a total area of 4144 sq. m at an initial price of 900 thousand euros. And in Catalonia, not far from Barcelona, an entire abandoned ancient castle is for sale. This romantic property is 1600 sq. m with battlements, high towers, gabled roofs and surrounded by a fortress wall, dates back to the 12th century.
Built in the style of a French chateau and imbued with the scent of history, the chateau consists of a spacious living room, dining room, 14 en-suite bedrooms, multiple fireplaces, a courtyard and a chapel. The Spanish king Alfonso XIII stayed several times in the castle, where his room and bed are still preserved in their original form. The fortress is surrounded by gardens and forests, and features an outdoor pool, racquetball court and picturesque fountains. The original cost of all this luxury was 4.5 million euros, today the price of the castle is negotiable.
Rehabilitation of destroyed houses
But if you wish, even in Catalonia, you can find inexpensive abandoned villages, however, in the event of their complete rehabilitation. So, not far from Tarragona, the settlement of El Querol with a total area of 82 hectares with 14 buildings in a dilapidated state is being sold for 280 thousand euros. The cost of restoring one of these houses depends on many factors, but the average cost can range from 750 to 1100 euros per square meter. Despite such impressive expenses, many owners are interested in the construction of rural hotels, restaurants, bio hotels, theme parks, tourist centers, campings and do not spare money for the rehabilitation of villages..
Of particular interest to businessmen are the settlements along the famous Camino de Santiago route – the pilgrims’ road to the burial of the Apostle James in the city of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia). With over 160,000 people walking these trails every year, regardless of the season, the strategic location of hotels and restaurants along the way could generate millions of dollars in revenue for their owners..
Tangible assistance in the restoration of villages and the implementation of business projects in rural areas of Spain is provided by the European Union fund, whose assistance in recent years has increased from 3.6 million to 12 million euros, which significantly revived new “injections” in the agricultural sector. The financial crisis, the imminent end of which even the most hopeless optimists cannot predict, allows experts to make one quite justified statement, already confirmed by practice: The future of Europe is in the agricultural sector!