Ghost Towns You Can Own: 5 For Sale Right Now, and 5 That Already Sold

The median price for a home in this country is $279,500, according to Zillow. But you can spend less right now and live in your own town — all by yourself.

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For that price, you get 100 acres of empty land and buildings. Back in 2013, an abandoned gold mining town called Swansea in California sold for a mere $70,000.

So if you’re a history buff or a paranormal fan — many of these deserted towns are alleged to be haunted — check out these listings. Some are currently for sale, others were bought recently and might come back on the market soon…

Learn how to buy a ghost town in 7 steps.

For sale. Last listed for $3.9 million.

By 1920, its railroad station and livestock shipping facilities were moved to another town. A decade later, the population dropped to 30.

The empty town went up for sale in 2012, but no serious buyers wanted to pay the asking price.

“The people who came to look at it were a little disappointed,” real estate broker Mike Metzger says. “They were expecting a Hollywood movie set, and it was nothing like that.”

Which means you can still make an offer.

For sale. Price: $225,000

It was originally part of a mining town founded in 1927. In 1931, a fire gutted the mines. There are still the foundations of 30 buildings on the property.

Visitors have claimed to have seen ghosts, which gets extra-spooky because the town is located so high in the mountains that cell phone reception is impossible.

Sold on July 13, 2018 for $1.4 million

These 300 acres in the California mountains include an abandoned church, hotel, and bunkhouse, plus some homes.

During the 1860s and 1870s, 5,000 people lived here. It was a raucous town — real estate broker Jake Rasmuson says when the town was at its peak, it averaged one murder per week. That leaves plenty of spirits to be wandering around this ghost town.

Sold in 2013 for $70,000

At 33 acres, it’s a tenth of the size of Cerro Gordo and has several shacks on a dry lake bed created when the City of Los Angeles diverted its water. It’s located 3,661 feet up, right at the base of some mountain pine trees.

A nonprofit organization called the Center for Land Use Interpretation purchased the property in 2013. Will they put it back on the market? Time will tell.

Sold in 2014 for $240,000

So, along with the 12 acres of land, the buyers also walked away with a literal gold mine — and a bar with a liquor license.

The previous owners of Seneca originally purchased the property for $60,000 in the 1970s, which makes it about break-even in today’s dollars.

For sale. Last listed at $1.5 million

Established in the late 1880s, Millican housed 60 residents at its peak in the early 1900s. But most fled after World War I. Since then, it has had an on-and-off population of one.

It went up for sale a decade ago but didn’t sell. It was relisted July of last year.

Sold for an unknown amount in January 2017

The five-acre piece of property includes a gas station, a restaurant, private shooting range, two homes, and an eight-room motel.

The town’s history is murky. Local legends say the townspeople fled the Cabin Creek in the 1970s out of fear, following an unsolved murder.

James Johnson purchased the property 38 years ago to turn into a roadside tourist attraction, but he and his wife wanted to retire and move on.

For sale. Listed at $89,500

At the end of the 19th century, 2,000 people lived in Saint Elmo. Now? No one does. Except maybe spirits.

Locals call these 4.14 acres haunted. In 1881, a cattle rancher named Anton Stark moved to town. In 1890, a fire reportedly destroyed the business section of town, and it was never completely repaired. Four decades later, descendants of the Stark family were the only ones left. Many believe the ghost of Anton’s daughter Annabelle still haunts the town.

For sale. Price: $250,000

Apparently, many potential buyers do mind. The property was originally listed at $400,000, but the price was cut down to $250,000 in 2015.

This supposedly haunted town was named after its founder, a farmer by the same name. When the town thrived, 40 people called it home. The current owner purchased the property in 1998.

Maybe a whole town isn’t what you are in the market for. Forty percent of Americans are willing to buy a haunted house if the price was discounted.

Sold for $1.85 million in July 2017

They’re known for purchasing vacant land and converting them into gathering places for members to worship.

Along with the extensive acreage, the buyers got several homes, a post office, a store, and an old Victorian church. Its mill burned down in 1972, following a lightning strike.

To put the creepy icing on this ghost town cake, it is rumored to be haunted by Emory Johnson, the town’s founder.

This article by Joe Pye was originally published on

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