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Do Boston haunted houses sell for less?

The Boston real estate game is full of superstitions, as befits a business where so much of your success depends on invisible market forces and the whims of buyers and sellers.

As the spooky season rolls around this month, I wanted to Google the longstanding rumor that homes with sinister addresses, like the numbers 13, 666, or 44 (considered particularly unlucky in many east Asian cultures) sell for less .

It actually wouldn’t have been surprising to discover that it’s true–but it turns out the numbers didn’t back it up, at least in downtown Boston.

Now, what happens if the superstition is attached not to the address but to the house itself? Does selling a “haunted house” mean getting spooked on your sale?

Well of course, there are no “haunted houses” in the home-selling game; but there are what the National Association of Realtors calls “stigmatized properties,” “a property that has been psychologically impacted by an event which occurred, or was suspected to have occurred, on the property, such event being one that has no physical impact of any kind.”

If you’re scratching your head at those terms, I don’t blame you: What they mean is homes where, say, a particularly infamous crime happened, or where a widely reviled public figure (like a serial killer or cult leader) once lived, or yes, one that is perhaps widely believed to be haunted, cursed, or otherwise host to bad vibes.

But here’s the haunted truth

Approximately 58% of homebuyers say they’d be willing to purchase a haunted house — and nearly 25% think they already have.

According to a Real Estate Witch survey powered by the real estate transaction site Clever, nearly 70% of Americans believe in the paranormal, with about 60% of people claiming they’ve experienced a supernatural event themselves. As many as one in four Americans even say they’ve seen a ghost.

Millennials are the most likely to shack up in haunted homes, with 63% saying they would consider buying a haunted house and 30% saying possible paranormal activity wouldn’t deter their decision at all.

Additionally, the survey found that of people who believe their home is haunted, nearly one-third of those people knew the home was haunted prior to moving in.

Fewer people today believe their home is haunted than in 2021. However, 69% of buyers claim they would consider buying a home with ghostly roommates for a lower price.

On the flip side, two-thirds of sellers shared that they would only disclose hauntings under certain circumstances (for instance, if asked directly by clients). About 8% said they would refuse to disclose the information, even if it was required by law to do so.

While paranormal occurrences can be scary for homeowners, the survey also found that ghost activity is pretty far down on the list of buyers’ concerns. Issues like unexpected costs, bad neighbors, financial insecurity and house fires are far more likely to frighten buyers in this market.

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