What can you buy for £50,000 nowadays? You could snap up the average UK property - as long as you were prepared to club together with four friends; you could get yourself a shiny new Porsche Cayman - which might not be the most comfortable place to sleep; or you could buy an entire Spanish village.
A number of abandoned Spanish villages have been snapped up by British buyers. But are they decent investments?
AbandonedAccording to the National Statistics Institute, almost 3,000 villages in Spain have been left abandoned, as their inhabitants struggled to make ends meet, and left for the city. During the recession this trend accelerated, leaving what some might see as decaying relics of another era - and others might see as a brilliant buying opportunity.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, there are a number of villages on the market, starting at around £50,000. It highlighted the village of Ribeira Sacra, which is on the market for £75,000. The asking price gets you six houses - all of which need renovation - a warehouse and 32,000 square feet of land.
Mark Adkinson, who runs Galician Country Homes, told AOL: "A lot of people who are interested in this sort of purchase want to get away from it all and go back to nature." He said that his website gets 14,000 hits a month and that a third of them are from people in the UK.
Take a look around:
One village is actually being given away for free. As Yahoo reported, the village of A Barca in northwest Galicia, is free to anyone who is willing to invest in bringing it back to its former glory. The purchaser must have a plan to develop the village, and priority will be given to those who will also bring jobs to the community.
Would you?Clearly £50,000 is likely to be just the start of the huge expenses you will face. Renovating one abandoned house is expensive enough, so renovating six or more properties, and bringing them up to a sufficient standard, is not for the fainthearted.
However, the experiences of one couple could prove inspiring. The Mirror reported on a couple from Cumbria who bought a village for €45,000, and plan to develop all five houses for less than £140,000. The husband is doing much of the work himself, and is working on the project while his wife teaches in a local village.
Adkinson adds that abandoned villages come in all sorts of different conditions. He has one on the market at the moment for £183,000, with one property in a habitable state, three more which need work and 100 acres of land - just 10km from the sea. It's easy to see the appeal of this sort of property somewhere both cheaper and warmer than the UK.
Meanwhile, for the energetic and resourceful owner, there is the potential to buy somewhere requiring an enormous amount of work, then use the opportunity to develop a holiday lettings business, a retirement community, or an artists retreat, which could turn the ghost villages into thriving businesses.
However, if a Spanish retirement appeals, it's worth bearing in mind that properties across the country have seen enormous falls in prices. £48,000 would currently buy you a repossessed two-bedroom villa on a golf resort complete with air-conditioning and every mod-con. Alternatively it could get you a brand new two-bedroom apartment on a modern complex half an hour from Granada.
If you were after a renovation project, there are plenty of incredible farmhouses in attractive villages for between £10,000 and £50,000, which would give you all the peace and tranquility you could ever need - with the chance of a shop within walking distance and the possibility of a community.
But what do you think? Would you fancy breaking away from the rat race for a life of Spanish tranquility, or is the idea of living alone in a deserted village not something you've ever really aspired to?