But one abandoned mill town in North
Carolina has something special to set it apart from
the crowded mass real estate market: it was the location for The Hunger Games.
The science fiction movie, directed by Gary Ross and adapted
from Suzanne Collins' novel, was released in cinemas two weeks ago. The
dystopian thriller sees a group of young teenagers placed in a reality TV arena
where they are forced to kill each other, leaving only one winner alive. And
now for $1.4m, investors can join the fray.
which spans 72 acres, was chosen by The Hunger Games' producers for scenes set in District 12,
the impoverished home of the movie's lead heroine. The local store (pictured) plays a key role as
the bakery where the central star-crossed couple meets.
It's easy to see why
the location was a good match for the poverty-stricken zone: the mill was
closed in the 1960s, when the town's sheriff was shot, and burned down a decade
later. The village's last resident left almost 30 years ago.
But over 20 buildings remain today and could have a lot of
Within three days of The Hunger Games' release, the film broke
US box office records, outperforming the Twilight films to take over $150m
from eager fans. After the impact the vampire
franchise had upon one Brazilian coastal property, home to a particularly steamy sex scene, investors in Henry
River Mill Village
will hope from a similar surge in interest.
Indeed, there is already a steady influx of people to the
"I'm getting too many visitors," Wade Shepherd,
the 83 year old owner of the town, told the Associated
Press after putting the town on the market. "Day and night, they're driving through, taking pictures,
getting out and walking. I'm just bombarded with people."
"The state Division of Tourism has designed a four-day
self-guided tour for fans," adds the AP. "The first day includes stops at the Henry
River Mill Village
plus places where the stars hung out in [nearby] Asheville."
Those looking to capitalise on the tourist appeal, though, may face
competition from film executives: a sequel, called Catching Fire, has already
been announced and the studio, Lionsgate, will be keen to return to Henry
River Mill Village.
But recent figures from the National Association of Realtors
show that appetite from investors could be just as strong. With US
house prices at an all-time low and rental demand strong, buyers have pounced
upon buy-to-let opportunities, according to the 2012 NAR Investment and
Vacation Home Survey.
As a result, investment purchases rocketed by a remarkable 64.5
per cent in 2011, now accounting for almost one-third of all existing home
transactions in America.
"Investors are already absorbing much of the nation's
housing inventory," commented NAR Vice President Moe Veissi. "Realtors are
concerned that a bulk sale or rental program in areas where such a program is
unnecessary could delay or impede local market recoveries."
Back in Henry River Milly Village, Wade Shepherd will be hoping that investors stay hungry for
a little longer. The question is whether they are prepared to kill each other to buy it.
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