Hong Kong's home prices are so scary, people will live with ghosts to get a discount

By Pearl Liu pearl.liu@scmp.com / SCMP | June 24, 2019 10:00 AM SGT
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Which is more frightening: a haunted house or one that takes a lifetime to save up for? For most people Hong Kong's sky-high property prices are a more terrifying prospect than the thought of living with ghosts, if a recent survey is anything to go by.
More than half of the respondents quizzed by Squarefoot, an online property portal in Hong Kong, said they would consider living in a home which hides a tragic past " if the price was right.
In Hong Kong, flats linked with grisly, untimely deaths " murders, suicides and the like " usually sell at huge discounts. Not only is the possibility of sharing a home with the spirits of the departed an unpalatable thought for many, it is also bad for Feng shui, the ancient Chinese belief that the external environment affects the fortunes of people inside.
On June 10, a three-bedroom flat in Taikoo Shing from which a man jumped to his death five years ago sold for a little over HK$18,000 (US$2,300) per square foot. That is almost a third less than a flat the same size that sold a couple of weeks earlier in the same building of the mass residential site, which is popular with families.
"If you asked these buyers whether they are afraid of ghosts, they probably are, more or less. But they are more afraid of sleeping on the street," said Alvin Cheung, associate director at Prudential Brokerage.
"Before people think it is unlucky to stay in a haunted home, they think how lucky they are to find a home " whether it's haunted or not is not the problem. Whether you have enough money to buy one is the key issue."

Of the 1,001 Hongkongers aged 18 to 65 surveyed by Squarefoot in early May, 54 per cent said they would be willing to buy a property where a murder, suicide or other untimely death had occurred, with price being the motivator.

On average, respondents felt that a 37 per cent discount would be appropriate for a haunted flat. A small handful were braver; some 3...