A village in New Zealand that has stood mostly empty for three decades is for sale. Not included: neighbors.
The entirety of Lake Waitaki village, located on New Zealand’s south island, is on the block for NZ$2.8 million (US$1.8 million), the Guardian reports. According to the listing, the property includes eight three-bedroom houses, nine garages, a bar and a 6,300 square-foot lodge. These days, the mountain views also come with plenty of peace and quiet.
The settlement was built in the 1930s as accommodation for laborers building the Waitaki dam. At its peak, the village was home to some 3,000 people, the New Zealand Herald reports. But the scenic spot has mostly lain dormant since 1989 when the dam was automated.
The moribund hamlet is emblematic of rural communities that are struggling to survive in New Zealand as the country’s population migrates toward cities. In 2002, 85.7% of New Zealand’s population lived in urban areas, up from just over 40% in 1881, according to a government statistical survey.
Last year, New Zealand’s government launched a three-year, $3 billion (US$1.9 billion) provincial growth fund to help revitalize outlying regions and create more enticing, higher-paying jobs.
Read more: Jacinda Ardern: Up Close With New Zealand’s Prime Minister
The Lake Waitaki village received historical protected status in 1995 after fears that it would be demolished once the dam staff moved. The current landlords, who bought the property in 2011, had hoped to turn it into a corporate retreat, according to the Otago Daily Times. The plan didn’t materialize, and Lake Waitaki village went up for sale again in 2015 as “an investment opportunity.”
It could face additional trouble finding a buyer since the New Zealand government banned foreign investors from purchasing homes in August in response to soaring housing prices. Foreigners are still permitted to buy land through the overseas investment office, or if they are New Zealand residents and spend 183 days per year in the country, according to the Guardian.
Lake Waitaki’s real state agent Kelli Milmine said it was difficult to distinguish New Zealand bidders from foreigners working through domestic intermediaries under the new regulations. But Milmine remained optimistic that somebody would take a shine to the vacant Lake Waitaki town.
“It’s simply a matter of waiting for a person to pay the price we are looking for,” she told the local Otago Daily Times.
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