Villages in Galicia are reviving with increasing demand for village houses

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villages Galicia

After years in which once vibrant villages increasingly fell into disrepair and saw their last residents leave, Galicia is now seeing a reversal in this trend for the first time. The number of uninhabited centres has fallen to 1,880, which is 15 fewer than the previous year.

Young people in particular are attracted to the countryside, looking for affordable homes to renovate and where they can live in peace. The lockdown in 2020 due to the pandemic has brought about a change in mindset among many people. They started to see the countryside differently and in the years after the health crisis, smaller municipalities started to gain population again. There has now been a decline in the number of abandoned villages for the first time. While this in itself is not enough to fully revitalize these areas, it indicates that something is changing.

Growing interest in rural housing

Elvira Fafian, manager of the real estate portal Aldeas Abandonadas Real Estate, confirms in El Faro de Vigo that the demand for houses in abandoned villages has increased. In 2023, interest in purchasing homes and villages in rural areas increased by 46 per cent, the largest increase since their registrations began.

The figures from the Instituto Galego de Estatística confirm this trend. The number of abandoned villages is decreasing. In total, there are 15 fewer, which is the difference between the villages that became empty and those that were repopulated that year. For the first time, the balance is negative, meaning that more centres are populated than abandoned. This reduces the total number of uninhabited entities to 1,880.

Decline in all provinces except Pontevedra

This decline in abandoned villages occurs in all provinces, except Pontevedra. There, the number of uninhabited villages has increased by two to 173. Lugo has the most empty villages with 889, five less than a year ago. A Coruña follows next, with 661, down from 665 in 2022. Ourense sees the biggest drop in abandoned villages, with eight fewer, bringing the total to 157.

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Galicia leads in Spain

Despite this modest revival, the number of uninhabited centres in Galicia remains high. The region is even at the top in Spain. Nearly 52 percent of shell entities nationally are located in this northwestern Spanish region. However, this large number of abandoned villages does offer opportunities for those looking for peace and affordability. However, the increasing demand for these homes in rural areas is now driving up prices. “A price increase of 25 percent has been observed in the last three years. Prices are expected to continue to rise due to decreasing supply and increasing demand,” explains Elvira Fafian.

Entire village in ruins for 120,000 euros

For €120,000 you can buy an entire village in ruins. For something renovated, prices are between 250,000 and 300,000 euros. But there are even cheaper options available. In Pontevedra, for example, a center with four houses to renovate is offered for 88,000 euros, just 25 kilometers from the city.

“Young people are increasingly choosing rural areas to avoid being tied to a 30-year mortgage,” says Fafian. Groups of people, often with financial resources, such as entrepreneurs or families from other countries, are showing increasing interest in these abandoned centers. Sometimes they buy a village for tourism purposes or to set up a business. Often the goal is to live there yourself and build a new life. Interest in this type of real estate has increased approximately fourfold in a decade, and real estate transactions saw a growth of almost 7 percent.

Also read: Six abandoned villages in Spain for sale for less than 100,000 euros

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