Expat property: Haunted bargains in Hong Kong


Hong Kong

Expatriates in Hong Kong can jump on to the country’s notoriously pricey property ladder, if they eschew superstition and buy ‘haunted’ homes that are avoided by the locals.

Property in Hong Kong is amongst the most expensive in the world, and sought after properties close to the bustling business centre command fees as high as the skyscraper apartments themselves.

However, there is a way of getting somewhat of a discount, if you’re willing to live in a property with a chequered past.

People in Hong Kong, and indeed in many parts of Asia, have very different attitudes and sensibilities to Westerners, and superstition often plays a big part in their beliefs. If a property comes onto the market due to unfavourable circumstances, for instance if the previous owner was murdered or committed suicide, then the property is legally declared as ‘hongza’ (haunted) and most natives won’t want to live there for fear of inheriting the misfortune of the former owner.

In this event homes can sometimes have up to 40 percent slashed off the price, creating a fantastic bargain for someone who is not fazed by the prospect of a supernatural lodger.

Eric Wong, of property website squarefoot.com.hk, said: “Hong Kong people are sensitive to ghosts and bad luck. They believe in feng shui. If something bad happened in a home, people won’t take it. But Hong Kong is small and very expensive so if a good discount comes, there are others ready to make the investment.”

One British expat living in Hong Kong also offered some thoughts on hongza homes: “My parents lived in Hong Kong for most of their lives and are probably superstitious enough not to buy a hongza house. I guess I’d be a little wary on buying a place with a morbid past but if it came with a hefty discount I’d soon forget about the history,” said Jamie Wong.