Hong Kong expats search out “haunted” buildings to score cheap apartments

Many Chinese believe death creates bad feng shui

The ghost of homeowners past flying over the Hong Kong skyline
The ghost of homeowners past flying over the Hong Kong skyline

In famously pricey Hong Kong, apartments can be even more expensive than in Manhattan. But there is one easy — albeit eerie — way to score a bargain: move into an apartment where someone died.

Many Chinese residents of Hong Kong believe that a death in an apartment creates bad Feng Shui, and are typically reluctant to rent or buy it afterwards. Those who don’t believe in feng shui, including most expats, can benefit from that drop in demand and land a unit on the (relatively) cheap.

Spacious.hk, a listing site, tracks deaths in news and police reports and identifies the units in which they occurred. It then allows its users to filter their apartment search by tragedy, under a category called “haunted.” The company told Vice’s Motherboard that the feature is used more than 5,000 times a month.

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The death discount can be steep. For example, after two prostitutes were murdered in a one-bedroom apartment at the J Residences building, its asking rent got slashed by around half, from $3,740.

“It’s all a part of feng shui—there are no hard and fast rules, it’s about how you interpret the magic,” Spacious’ founder Asif Ghafoor told Motherboard.

Bloomberg reported in July that Hong Kong’s real estate market is at its weakest point in 25 years[Vice]Konrad Putzier