Haunting for a home: Buyers spooked by prices, not ghosts

In a startling revelation this Halloween season, a recent survey from property giant Zillow suggests that a significant majority of would-be homeowners are open to sharing their living space with spectral inhabitants.

Over two-thirds (67 per cent) of survey participants said they could consider buying a haunted house if it met specific criteria such as location, affordability or other appealing features.

This underscores the extreme lengths people are willing to go to secure property in today’s fierce housing market.

The survey shed light on the specifics that could tip the scales in favour of a haunted property.

A solid 40 per cent of participants revealed they would be open to buying a haunted house if it boasted assets like a spacious backyard, a swimming pool, or a two-car garage.

Meanwhile, nearly one-third (32 per cent) would commit to the purchase if the property was situated in their desired location.

This surge in compromise comes at a time when property inventory in the US is critically low.

According to Zillow’s latest data, although inventory levels are gradually improving, they remain 10 per cent lower than last year and a staggering 40 per cent lower than 2019.

With mortgage rates reaching a 22-year high this month, the decision to buy has become increasingly nerve-wracking for many.

The study further revealed that 35 per cent of prospective buyers would be convinced to buy a haunted property if it were priced more affordably than other homes on the market.

Manny Garcia, a senior population scientist at Zillow said many buyer had more to worry about than potential paranormal houseguests.

“The combination of high prices, limited inventory and rising interest rates is creating a witches’ brew of trouble for would-be homeowners,” he said.

“Despite these chilling conditions, life events like job changes, coupling up and having children still drive households to buy.

“These shoppers have to square their budgets with important home characteristics like bedrooms, bathrooms and floor plans.

“When balancing so many priorities in an inventory-starved market, avoiding ghosts and ghouls doesn’t always make the cut.”

To finance their dream homes, many buyers are resorting to familial assistance.

A staggering 43 per cent of recent buyers leaned on gifts or loans from family or friends to cover their down payment.

Zillow also reports a trend in buyers participating in down payment assistance programs and paying more money upfront to reduce monthly mortgage costs.

The survey also showed a silver lining for homeowners with ghostly tenants; nearly 30 per cent of would-be buyers said a haunted status would make a property more appealing.

In contrast, 20 per cent felt that paranormal activity would not affect their decision.

Intriguingly, the report found that sellers in most states are not required to disclose any paranormal activity, leaving new homeowners to discover any ethereal cohabitants for themselves.

Whether it’s due to necessity or a love for the supernatural, it seems that many homebuyers are willing to overlook a few resident ghosts in the quest for their dream property.

So if you hear mysterious footsteps in the night, it might just be the sound of the housing market shifting yet again.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.

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