Haunted House Discounts in Hong Kong Scared Off by Housing Boom

Buying a haunted house often means a discounted price.

The only thing more terrifying than a haunted house? A housing boom. So says one Hong Kong man who told The Wall Street Journal that since real estate prices have spiked there, buying a good old-fashioned horror house sure isn't what it used to be.

You see, stigmatized properties -- such as where a previous tenant or owner died of unnatural causes -- tend to sell at deep discounts (because if you're gonna buy a haunted house, it better be 50 percent off!). And that was great for Ng Goon Lau, a real estate investor who would buy stigmatized properties for a song and flip them for a profit. But Hong Kong's recent housing boom has driven prices so far up that now the average "haunted house discount" is only 5 percent below market rate, the Journal noted. For Lau, that's pretty scary.

Tips on Buying Spooky Properties

"The market is crazy now," Lau said, adding that he was able to buy only one haunted house -- or hongza, as it's called in Cantonese -- in 2012 because the prices have shot up so high. But there may be a little consolation: He's able to rent a few of his properties at the market rate. "All my tenants are very happy," Lau said. "No one has complained that they've seen ghosts."

Whew! Well, then, feel free to troll some haunted house listings in Hong Kong. If you're like lawyer Aaron Bleasdale, living with ghosts should be a piece of cake. Bleasdale told the Journal about his experience renting a $1,700-a-month two-level penthouse in Hong Kong (that's 40 percent below market for the area). He put it simply: "It was a great location with a rooftop garden. I'd live with a ghost for that price."

So good news, Mr. Lau! You really can sell (or rent) anything. Now how about you head out our way and try your luck with Jeffrey Dahmer's childhood home, still on the market for $329,000. We hear it's lovely.

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