AN ESTATE agent in one of the world’s most expensive cities is helping home hunters bag a bargain by pinpointing properties with a tragic history.
Hong Kong is the world’s fourth most densely populated city and its seven million residents face an average monthly bill of £3,800 for a three-bedroom apartment.
So a firm of estate agents is helping customers save more than 50% by highlighting properties that are cheap because they were the scene of murders, suicides or horrible accidents.
The even used cartoon ghosts to pinpoint the locations on their otherwise crowded internet map of the bustling city.
One flat, which should have cost £3,800 per month to rent, was listed on the ‘Spacious’ website after two Indonesian women were found dead inside.
It appeared online at the reduced price of £1,250 per month due to its morbid history – and was snapped up within two weeks.
Similarly, those wanting to live in the wealthy Mid-Levels district can expect to pay half the expected rent – £1,300 per month instead of £2,300 – if their apartment appears in a “haunted” area.
On the surface, the website appears like any normal estate agents.
But once the ‘haunted’ button is selected, hundreds of small ghosts appear on a map of the former British colony.
Holding a cursor over an individual ghost reveals the dark history the specific building has endured.
One ghost in the Kowloon district reveals that a “female victim murdered her ex husband with multiple knives and jumped off the building”.
Another shows that “an old woman jumped off building due to health problems”.
Yet another reads that a “23-year-old Indonesian domestic helper found dead” and in another instance an “Indonesian male was chained with a dog collar and murdered by his girlfriend”.
In another incident, a 2-year-old girl choked on her breakfast and died, and at another flat a man committed suicide the day before his birthday.
While the cartoon ghosts pinpoint tragic incidents, they also represent an opportunity for a bargain property for those who scoff at the idea of malignant spirits.
Asif Ghafoor, Spacious founder and CEO, said: “Properties that have some kind of history of an ‘incident’ in them can go for up to 50% less than a normal one.
“The haunted house feature is just something we have to do because it’s integral to the market. It’s a real factor that affects house prices and rentals.”
The company gathers the depressing data independently by monitoring media reports, and the ‘haunted’ feature is mainly used by expats looking for a discount.
“For expats and others who don’t believe in ghost stories, it’s an unbelievable opportunity,” Ghafoor added.
“I guess many Chinese people look at the haunted feature of the website as well, because they want to know what not to buy.”