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Buy Your Way to “Mayor”

News items pop up regularly about entire towns and villages going up for sale. In April, Buford, Wyo., sold to a Vietnamese buyer for $900,000. The same month, a couple bought the tiny town of Wauconda, Wash., for $360,000. In May, the French “ghost village” of Courbefy sold to an American photographer for about $643,000.

Why buy a whole town? Many buyers see business potential, seeking to transform an abandoned burg into a tourist destination. One man used his July purchase of the town of Bankersmith to put his brand on the map of central Texas. He changed the name to Bikinis, after his “breastauraunt” chain.

Buying a tiny town or a vacant village is not a sure-fire investment. Actress Kim Basinger bought the town of Braselton, Ga., in 1989 for $20 million, then reportedly sold it in 1994 for only $1 million.

For those who might like to own a town (and perhaps give it a wacky new name) and have at least $250,000 to spend, we offer eight options, including two international villages, shown here from least to most expensive. Have your deposit ready: One of the following towns is up for auction on eBay; another hits the auction block Aug. 15.

By Colleen Kane
Posted 8 August, 2012

David Moss | MIPC | Google+)