What could keep buyers away from some of the world’s most sought-after real estate? Ghosts, it turns out.
Hong Kong is one of the most competitive real estate markets in the world, but superstitions can ward off interest in properties even there, according to the Financial Times.
Utpal Bhattacharya, a professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, tracked the prices of units that were the scene of unnatural deaths.
Prices for those “haunted” units are typically about 20 percent lower than market value. Units on the same floor can fall as much as 10 percent and those on the same block as much as 7 percent.
The phenomenon is not unique to Hong Kong. Bhattacharya also found evidence that hauntings can bring down prices in other parts of the world too.
Some properties have earned such a damned reputation that they remain abandoned, even if on paper they should be among the most desirable properties in the city.
The Dragon Lodge mansion in Hong Kong’s uber-expensive Victoria Peak neighborhood has been left abandoned for years, despite its near-unparalleled views of the city. There are gruesome rumors that Japanese soldiers occupied the property during World War II and decapitated several nuns there. Others say the previous owners simply didn’t prosper there.
A representative for the company that owns the property said there is no such evidence and that the company plans to preserve the home instead of leasing or rebuilding it.
A local home restoration specialist said that some apartments and homes are left empty for much more banal reasons, but that abandonment fuels rumors anyway. They said that Chinese families sometimes leave empty apartments they inherit from their parents out of ancestral respect.
[FT] — Dennis Lynch