Haunted houses no longer taboo for desperate Hong Kong homebuyers

HONG KONG (Bloomberg): Hong Kong property prices have risen so high some desperate house hunters are now prepared to do the once unthinkable and buy a "haunted" home.

Over half the respondents in a REA Group survey published on Thursday (June 20) said they would consider purchasing a haunted apartment.

Around 65 per cent said price would be the motivating factor.

"Property prices are still way too high for most people living in Hong Kong, so many have started to explore other alternatives," said Kenneth Kent, REA's Hong Kong country manager.

In Hong Kong, units in which people have died due to reasons other than natural causes are considered haunted.

Apartments where suicides, murders and accidental deaths have occurred are typically sold at a 10 per cent to 20 per cent discount, according to Mr Perry Fong, a director at Centaline Property Agency.

"This is generally a taboo in the market, since it is dominated by locals," said Fong. "Foreigners are less concerned, and may buy them for the lower prices."

Even though Hong Kong is one of the most westernised cities in Asia, buying a haunted home is unthinkable to most local residents.

The houses are regarded as having bad feng shui, which is a major concern for buyers.

Hong Kong's property prices recently climbed to a record before declining against the backdrop of increased United States-China trade tension.

Market sentiment has turned more bullish in recent days, with the Federal Reserve opening the door to a rate cut and news of more promising trade talks. - Bloomberg

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