BERLIN — For sale: 18th-century castle with a medieval prison tower, moat and lake on 14 acres. The price: $445,000, less than the cost of a Manhattan studio. The catch? It’s in eastern Germany.

It’s not just the location that’s a deterrent. The dilapidated property with peeling paint and socialist-era chandeliers will cost as much as $7.4 million to renovate, estimates Carsten Graf, mayor of Mutzschen, the town sandwiched between Dresden and Leipzig where the property is located.

“It’s not realistic to expect a rich banker from Frankfurt to come all the way to Mutzschen and make this his home,” said Graf, who knows it will be a challenge to sell a castle nestled in Saxony, one of the country’s poorest states. “There aren’t as many wealthy investors in the region as there are in other parts of Germany.”

Castles, mansions and other historic estates in eastern Germany that survived two world wars and communism may in the end be done in by capitalism. Rural communities, often grappling with weak economies and shrinking populations, are left searching for a wealthy buyer to rescue the grandeur of their past wealth before it crumbles away.

The eastern part of the country has more than 1,000 castles and forts, said Wolfgang Illert, head of the German Landmarks Foundation, adding that he was unable to estimate the number in disrepair. Under the communists, the buildings were used as supermarkets, schools or hospitals.