How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Ghost Town?

How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Ghost Town

Ghost towns have always fascinated history buffs, paranormal enthusiasts, and those looking to own a unique piece of land. The question that lingers in everyone’s mind is, how much does it cost to buy a ghost town?

The answer varies depending on location, size, condition, and the town’s historical significance.

In this article, we will explore various ghost towns for sale, discuss the challenges of owning one, and share some intriguing stories behind these abandoned towns.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Buying a Ghost Town


The location of the ghost town plays a significant role in determining its price. Ghost towns found in areas with breathtaking landscapes, easy access to resources, or near tourist attractions tend to be more expensive. On the other hand, remote and hard-to-reach locations often have lower price tags.


The size of the ghost town and the acreage it sits on can also impact the cost. Larger towns with more land and buildings will generally be more expensive than smaller ones with fewer structures and less land.


The condition of the town and its buildings can greatly affect the price. Ghost towns with well-preserved or restored buildings are likely to be more expensive than those in a state of disrepair, as they may require significant investment to make them habitable or functional.

Historical Significance

Ghost towns with a rich history or a unique story behind them can be more valuable and thus, more expensive. This may be due to the potential for tourism, historical preservation, or simply the appeal of owning a piece of the past.

10 Intriguing Ghost Towns and Their Prices

Woodside, Utah
For sale. Last listed for $3.9 million.
Woodside peaked in 1910 with a population of 328. However, the population declined over the years, and the town was put up for sale in 2012. Despite some interest, no serious buyers have stepped forward to meet the asking price, meaning you can still make an offer.

6000 W Spring Canyon Rd, Utah
For sale. Price: $199,000
This 154-acre property is located on the outskirts of Helper, a town founded in 1927. The remains of 30 buildings can be found on the property, and visitors have claimed to have seen ghosts. The town is situated so high in the mountains that cell phone reception is impossible.

Cerro Gordo, California
Sold on July 13, 2018, for $1.4 million
Cerro Gordo, meaning “fat hill” in Spanish, is a 300-acre property in the California mountains. The town was once home to 5,000 people during the 1860s and 1870s and was known for its raucous atmosphere. The town is now considered a ghost town, with rumors of wandering spirits.

Swansea, California
Sold in 2013 for $70,000
Swansea is an old silver-smelting town located near Cerro Gordo. The town sits on 33 acres and features several shacks on a dry lake bed. The Center for Land Use Interpretation purchased the property in 2013, but its future remains uncertain.

Seneca, California
Sold in 2014 for $240,000
Seneca was once a thriving gold mining boomtown. The 12-acre property was sold with a literal gold mine, and a bar with a liquor license. The town’s previous owners had bought the property for $60,000 in the 1970s, which equates to a break-even in today’s dollars.

Millican, Oregon
For sale. Last listed at $1.5 million
Millican, founded by George Millican, is a 74-acre property with a post office, gas station, and an old store. The town peaked at 60 residents in the early 1900s but dwindled after World War I. The town has been on and off the market for the past decade.

Cabin Creek, Colorado
Sold for an unknown amount in January 2017
Cabin Creek, a spooky town, was put up for sale on Craigslist for $350,000 in 2016. The five-acre property includes a gas station, a restaurant, private shooting range, two homes, and an eight-room motel. The town’s history is shrouded in mystery, with legends of an unsolved murder and residents fleeing in fear.

Forest Service Rd #295 Saint Elmo, Colorado
For sale. Listed at $84,900
Located 1.6 miles south of ghost town St. Elmo, this 4.14-acre property is steeped in Colorado gold mining history. Saint Elmo was once home to 2,000 people, but now lies abandoned. Locals consider the area haunted, and the ghost of Anton Stark’s daughter, Annabelle, is said to haunt the town still.

Swett, South Dakota
For sale. Price: $250,000
Swett offers six acres of land, a home, and a tavern for potential buyers who don’t mind living among the paranormal. Initially listed at $400,000, the price was reduced to $250,000 in 2015. The town was named after its founder, a farmer with the same name.

Johnsonville, Connecticut
Sold for $1.85 million in July 2017
The 62-acre ghost town of Johnsonville was sold to the Philippines-based church Iglesia Ni Christo in 2017. The property includes several homes, a post office, a store, and a Victorian church. Rumors of hauntings surround the town, particularly the ghost of its founder, Emory Johnson.

Challenges of Owning a Ghost Town

Getting a Loan

Securing a loan for purchasing a ghost town can be difficult. Traditional lenders like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA are unlikely to finance such properties. As a result, prospective buyers may have to rely on private banking or personal connections to secure funding.

Maintenance and Restoration

Ghost towns often lack basic amenities such as running water, electricity, and other utilities. Restoring these services can be significant, as the closest sources may be miles away. Additionally, many structures in ghost towns are not up to code, requiring extensive renovations to make them safe and functional.

Legal and Regulatory Issues

Ghost towns may be subject to various legal and regulatory challenges, such as land ownership disputes, zoning restrictions, and environmental concerns. Prospective buyers should consult with legal and real estate professionals to navigate these complexities.


So, how much does it cost to buy a ghost town? The answer varies, but it’s clear that owning a ghost town is not for the faint of heart or the thin of wallet. With significant financial investment, legal complexities, and restoration challenges, owning a ghost town can be an arduous endeavor.

However, for history buffs, paranormal enthusiasts, or those seeking a unique investment opportunity, owning a piece of the past can be an alluring and rewarding experience.

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