Hong Kong’s “King Of Haunted Flats” Strikes Gold As Property Prices Rise

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HONG KONG: Ng Goon-Lau pointed at a window internal a darkish, tiny bedroom. The window becomes small and without difficulty sealed, Ng defined an excellent vicinity for carbon monoxide poisoning.
A man as soon as burned charcoal to kill himself there. Another tenant, a policewoman, also hanged herself within the same condominium.

“That’s why it was so cheap,” stated Ng, the silver-haired sixty six-year-antique landlords, who offered the tiny 325-rectangular-foot unit after the double suicides for simply over HK$1 million ($127,400) in 2010, 30 percent much less than the then marketplace charge.

Eight years later, the apartment is probably worth around HK$four.4 million, Ng estimates.

Dubbed the “King of Haunted Flats” by way of nearby media, Ng has made a name for himself for speculating on such “hongza”, or haunted residences – defined right here because the places where tragedies, along with suicides and murders, occurred. He has been able to buy a number of the houses at as much as a 40 percentage cut price.

But Hong Kong’s document-breaking property fee surge over the past few years is pushing many to rethink such inauspicious apartments as deals too proper to skip up, regardless of the horrific records.

The as soon as a heavy discount on a haunted condominium’s price has narrowed from approximately 30 percent in 2013, to about 10 percent this year, stated Ng, including the cut-price brought to the fastest price inside the past year.

Hong Kong haunted house Reuters
Landlord Ng Goon-Lau, sixty-six, poses inner his property wherein two suicides have taken a region, in Hong Kong (Reuters)

“The market is crazy now, there may be so much demand,” the former shark’s fin salesman informed Reuters. “Buying an unlucky flat is now a totally realistic way to very own a residence, so opposition is fierce.”

Unaffordable expensesImage result for Hong Kong's "King Of Haunted Flats" Strikes Gold As Property Prices Rise

The financial hub’s housing fees have been on a document-breaking run for 18 consecutive months, with the metropolis now one of the world’s most pricey real estate markets.

A skilled service worker would need to paintings two decades to buy a 650-square-foot flat close to the town center, in line with a UBS report in September, which also ranks Hong Kong’s housing market as the least less expensive in a list of 20 global towns.

Only approximately 20 percent of Hong Kong’s 1.Eighty five million taxpayers could have the funds for to buy a medium-priced condo costing HK$eight million, belongings consultancy Knight Frank said this month.

Property analysts count on expenses to rise even in addition this 12 months, with 5 analysts predicting basic profits of among eight percent and 17 percent.

Even Ng, who has sold around two dozen haunted residences because the Nineties and flipped maximum of them for earnings, is spooked with the aid of the market surge.

A double whammy of excessive charges and a heavy tax on non-first time shoppers way he hasn’t sold a haunted flat for six years.

The beginner unicyclist is not seeking to sell both, describing his existing portfolio as “pearls and treasures”.

Even for public housing, where the common ready time is 5 years given restrained supply and a strong call for in one of the maximum densely populated towns inside the international, many are flocking to a separate “express” queue for much less appropriate residences. These include, according to the Housing Authority’s internet site, the ones “worried in ugly incidents.”

Last September, the authorities received extra than 80,000 programs for 576 such flats.

“Psychological hurdle”

The issue of a haunted flat melds the Hong Kong obsession with property with a Chinese populace that tends to be superstitious and pursues ancient traditions, illustrated with the aid of using feng shui by way of many property developers to ensure that a building makes use of surrounding herbal forces, along with mountains, wind, and water, in a harmonious manner.

Hong Kong haunted residence Reuters
A residential constructing is visible through the window of belonging, owned via landlord Ng Goon-Lau, wherein two suicides have taken location, in Hong Kong (Reuters)

Not simplest does a haunted flat drag down the fee of all of the residences on the same floor, it could additionally bring down the fee of apartments above and underneath it, consistent with belongings marketers.

It is normally believed right here that the trapped souls of murder victims are particularly haunting, as they linger in humankind, mourning their premature, vicious deaths and craving to complete what they did now not have time to do whilst they had been alive.

A flat a few doors down from the posh apartment wherein former British banker Rurik Jutting murdered ladies in 2014 was offered last 12 months. The rate dropped six percent from its valuable transaction in 2011, even though Hong Kong’s housing market rose more than 80 percent at some stage in the same duration.

The consumer could not be reached for the remark. Jutting’s former landlord declined to be interviewed.

“We stay in a conventional Chinese society,” said a property agent who did now not need to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject. “For some people, it is a mental hurdle, and they might not feel secure living in an unfortunate flat.”Image result for Hong Kong's "King Of Haunted Flats" Strikes Gold As Property Prices Rise

Banks also are less inclined to offer mortgages for a haunted home due to worries it can be difficult to resell in the event of a mortgage default, according to the handling director of Centaline Mortgage Broker Limited, Ivy Wong.

But while a few banks unilaterally rejected “hongza” loan programs a decade in the past, in latest years this coverage has been secured.

“When greater domestic shoppers are willing to accept those residences, it offers the banks greater self-belief,” Wong stated.

HSBC supplied a loan for a purchaser remaining yr when she sold one among Hong Kong’s maximum infamous houses – a Tsuen Wan condominium wherein a man killed his six families when he tried suicide with the aid of gasoline in 1996, in line with Land Registry facts.

There are unofficial websites committed to preserving unique data of the hundreds of haunted homes within the metropolis.

Similar websites monitoring haunted homes exist in Taiwan and Japan, and a Canada-based totally website lists haunted and murder homes in North America.

Hong Kong property marketers aren’t legally obliged to reveal if a flat is “haunted” however they’re bound by way of a code of ethics underneath the metropolis’s Estate Agents Authority, which has the strength to the problem and revoke licenses.

The authority advised Reuters it had obtained 28 lawsuits regarding haunted residences from 2014 to May this 12 months.

But buying such homes without a doubt isn’t a hassle for some, especially if it method less costly housing.

“I became now not afraid at all,” stated Jenny Yuen, who once rented considered one of Ng’s haunted residences whilst she first moved to Hong Kong from the mainland.

COMMENT
“Everybody dies. It’s a totally herbal issue.”

Geneva A. Crawford

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