👻 Are haunted houses cheaper? 👻
Nearly 2 in 3 home buyers (63%) would only offer below market value for a haunted home, with 1 in 3 (31%) offering at least $50,000 less and 1 in 9 (11%) offering at least $100,000 less.
Haunted House Owners | Signs of a Haunted House | Cleansing a Haunted House | Haunted House Regrets | Disclosing a Haunted House | Buying a Haunted House | Haunted House Price | Home-Buying Fears | Scariest Aspects of Homeownership | Properties More Terrifying Than a Haunted House | Avoiding Haunted Real Estate
UFOs sightings. Alien invasions. The zombie apocalypse. Paranormal beings are top of mind for many Americans in 2023.
With these topics dominating the cultural conversation — and the highest levels of government — belief in the supernatural is growing. Three-fourths of Americans (75%) think otherworldly beings exist — a 9% increase from 2022, when 69% said the same.
As Americans increasingly consume paranormal media on their screens at home, it’s no surprise some are convinced they reside with ghosts.
About 29% of Americans believe they’ve lived in a real haunted house — up from 24% in 2022, according to a new study from Real Estate Witch, Zillowtastrophes, and Estate Media, the first personality-driven media company for the real estate business with a diverse network of more than 20 renowned agents, professionals, and creators.
Few Americans are dying to live in a haunted house, though. Among homeowners who have lived in a bewitched home, 36% regret it, and 60% wouldn’t recommend it to others.
But in this monster of a real estate market, 52% of Americans would risk purchasing a haunted house, especially for a lower price. With high home prices and rising interest rates, ghosts are the least of home buyers’ worries.
Find out what’s scarier than a haunted house.
🎃 Haunted House Statistics
- About 29% of Americans believe they’ve lived in a real haunted house — up slightly from 24% who said the same in 2022.
- Of those who have lived in a haunted house, 27% knew the house was haunted before they moved in and still chose to live there.
- A staggering 95% of Americans say it’s important to feel safe in their home, but 57% of those who have lived in a haunted house say it scared them, and 43% say their home caused them stress.
- More than 1 in 3 haunted homeowners (36%) regret living in a haunted house, and 55% would not buy another home they knew was haunted.
- More than 2 in 3 Americans (68%) say the government should require sellers to disclose a haunted home, but only 31% of sellers would willingly tell the buyer if their home was bewitched.
- In 2023, 11% of sellers wouldn’t disclose a haunted house even if it was required by law, compared to 8% in 2022.
- More than half of Americans (52%) would consider purchasing a haunted house in 2023 — down from 58% in 2022.
- Although a majority of buyers would purchase a haunted house, 72% would feel uncomfortable doing so.
- 71% of Americans could be convinced to buy a haunted house to save money.
- Nearly 2 in 3 home buyers (62%) would only offer below market value for a haunted home, with 1 in 3 (31%) offering at least $50,000 less and 1 in 9 (11%) offering at least $100,000 less.
- Americans say the most terrifying aspects of homeownership are all financial in nature: unexpected costs (50%), high interest rates (46%), and an inability to pay their mortgage (42%).
- Ghosts are scary, but 93% of Americans are more afraid of home repair problems, such as mold (60%), termites (57%), and a leaky roof (54%).
- Nearly half of Americans (48%) would rather live with ghosts than purchase a home near a nuclear waste facility.
More Than 1 in 4 Homeowners Believe They’ve Lived in a Real Haunted House
Nearly 3 in 4 Americans (71%) believe some properties are inherently more likely to be bewitched. Although hospitals, graveyards, and theaters are prime haunts for ghosts, so are American homes.
The turrets and trims of Victorian-style homes are most closely associated with haunted houses, but paranormal beings can take up residence in a variety of dwellings. Thanks to popular social media accounts such as Zillowtastrophes, the horrifying interiors of seemingly ordinary homes are just a click away.
More than 1 in 4 respondents (29%) believe they’ve lived in a real haunted house. Of those, 27% knew the house was haunted and still chose to live there — a slight decline from the 31% who said the same in 2022.
Americans are more likely to believe they’ve lived in a haunted house if they already believe in the supernatural.
Millennials are the most likely to believe in the paranormal. Consequently, they are also the most likely to say they’ve roomed with ghosts. About 1 in 3 millennials (35%) claim they’ve lived in a haunted house, making them 2x more likely than boomers (15%) to say so.
Haunted houses may scare off some buyers, but they can be surprisingly desirable to those who are more terrified of today’s high home prices.
A lower price convinced 40% of those who have lived in a haunted house to knowingly buy one, but that percentage is down from 69% in 2022. It’s possible that after two straight quarters of declining home sale prices, optimistic buyers are prioritizing homes that don’t come with unwanted roommates.
Americans also overlooked a few ghouls in exchange for:
- More square footage (38%)
- A larger yard or more land (38%)
- A better school district (34%)
A better school district is the only factor that would make home buyers more likely to purchase a haunted house this year (34%) than in the previous year (28%). That’s because savvy home buyers know that houses in a good school district retain their resale value in case of a market crash.
3 in 4 Haunted House Owners Didn’t Know Their Home Was Haunted Before Moving in
A staggering 91% of Americans say it’s important to know a home’s history, but 67% have never researched if a home they’ve bought is haunted.
It’s no surprise, then, that 73% of haunted homeowners learned their house was haunted after moving in.
Respondents say they discovered their home was haunted because of:
- Strange noises (53%)
- Feelings of being touched or watched (47%)
- Strange shadows around the home (41%)
- Eerie or haunted feelings in certain rooms (41%)
Although many Americans have felt the evidence of a haunting, 1 in 3 homeowners (36%) claim to have actually seen a ghost in their home.
Another third say an outside source — such as a medium (17%) or the previous owner (17%) — confirmed their house is haunted.
Many Americans are convinced ghosts are to blame for the spooky phenomena in their homes, but there could be many rational explanations.
Flickering lights could convey a message from the spirit world — or they could point to a loose electrical connection. Likewise, mysterious groaning in the walls could be the result of old pipes, rather than a tormented soul.
1 in 3 Homeowners Would Move Immediately If They Discovered Their Home Was Haunted
Some homeowners can’t run fast enough from a haunted house. But only 31% of Americans would move immediately if they learned their home was haunted.
A majority of Americans are reluctant to move, especially if they’ve locked in a low interest rate. Rather than contend with a difficult housing market, those brave souls are putting their ghostbusting skills to the test.
After discovering their home is haunted but before relocating:
- 39% would cleanse the home.
- 18% would conduct an exorcism.
- 18% would try to contact the ghosts.
- 17% would salt the entryways.
- 16% would make the home more comfortable for the ghosts.
- 14% would remodel the home.
Homeowners who have previously lived with ghosts would make more attempts to remediate the situation before moving. But they also know evicting pesky poltergeists isn’t always easy.
Sometimes, the simplest option is to coexist. Homeowners who have lived with spirits (22%) are nearly 1.6x more likely than other Americans (14%) to say they’d make their home more comfortable for the ghosts.
Even after attempts to remedy the situation, some phenomena are just too creepy for homeowners to endure. Americans would move immediately if:
- A serious crime was committed in the home (39%)
- They experienced feelings of being touched or watched (38%)
- Objects moved or levitated on their own (37%)
- They heard strange noise (29%)
- Children suddenly behaved strangely in their home (27%)
Half of Haunted Homeowners Would Not Buy Another Haunted House
Haunted homes tend to attract fewer buyers and sell for a lower price, making it easier for Americans to achieve their dreams of homeownership. Yet 58% of homeowners who have lived with ghosts say there are no benefits to owning a bewitched property.
Not all supernatural beings are like Casper the Friendly Ghost, and homeowners worry vengeful spirits will create a hostile environment.
Although 95% of Americans say it’s important to feel safe in their home, 57% of those who have lived in a haunted house say it scared them and 45% dreaded returning to their home. Forty-three percent also felt more stressed because of their haunted house.
The interest bewitched properties generate from the living can also be downright scary. About 1 in 3 Americans (34%) who have lived in a haunted house say tourists have stopped to gawk at their home.
Overall, 36% of homeowners who have lived in a haunted house regret it, and 55% would not buy another home they knew was haunted.
Homeowners who have lived with ghosts are taking precautions to ensure they don’t repeat the experience. They (55%) are 2x more likely than other Americans (23%) to research whether a house they want to buy has a history of paranormal activity.
69% of Sellers Would Not Willingly Disclose Their Haunted Home
Buyers beware! Although most sellers are legally required to provide a document revealing any defects with the property, that doesn’t extend to paranormal activity.
Only four states — New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Minnesota — have specific laws regarding the disclosure of haunted homes. Of those, only New York and New Jersey require sellers to disclose if their house is occupied by ghosts.
However, there is broad support for more disclosure laws. About 68% of Americans say the government should require sellers to disclose if their home is haunted, but only 31% of sellers would willingly relay that information, regardless of the law.
As the market slows, sellers may be more likely to withhold information that could jeopardize their sale. A majority would only disclose a haunted house under certain circumstances, such as a direct question from the buyer (21%) or a mandatory disclosure law (32%).
Some Americans are so desperate to part with their haunted home they’d risk breaking the law. About 11% of sellers wouldn’t disclose their haunted house, even if it was required by law.
Sellers may hesitate to disclose a bewitched property because 71% of Americans who own a haunted house think it will be harder to sell. About 69% think their home will sell for less, and 64% think it will take longer to sell.
But failing to inform buyers of unwanted spirits could create a legal nightmare for sellers. Almost half of Americans (48%) would consider suing a seller who refused to disclose a home they knew was haunted.
More Than Half of Americans Would Consider Purchasing a Haunted House
About 60% of homeowners who have lived in a haunted house would not recommend it to others. But in a difficult market, some buyers may take the risk to achieve homeownership.
About 52% of Americans would dare to purchase a haunted house in 2023. Yet as the extreme seller’s market of the post-pandemic era fades, homes with literal skeletons in the closet generate less interest. The percentage of buyers who would purchase a haunted house dropped 10% from 2022, when 58% would do the same.
The slowing market means buyers can be more picky, and 35% would only live with ghosts under certain conditions. About half of Americans would only buy a haunted house if it was in a desirable neighborhood (48%) or if it was the sole home to meet their budget (50%).
Just 13% of respondents say roommates of the supernatural kind wouldn’t impact their decision to buy a particular home.
With 16% of Gen X saying ghosts wouldn’t impact their decision, the generation is the least likely to care if a home is haunted. Rumors of a haunting wouldn’t spook Gen X because they’re the least likely to believe in the supernatural. As a result, 60% would risk buying a haunted home — the highest percentage among all generations.
After Gen X, millennials are the most likely to buy a haunted house, with more than half (54%) saying they’d cohabitate with ghosts.
Although a majority of millennials believe in the supernatural, that’s not the primary reason they’d shack up with spirits. Bewitched properties often come with a lower price tag that fits millennials’ limited budget.
A majority of Americans would purchase a spook house, but 72% would feel uncomfortable doing so.
Buying a bewitched property makes Americans so uneasy that 32% wouldn’t tell anyone their house was haunted, especially when 25% fear their friends and family would never visit them.
Nearly 2 in 3 Homeowners Would Offer Below Market Value for a Haunted House
Since 2022, the median home sale price has declined 7% — falling to $416,100. Although the price drop has provided some relief, home values remain near an all-time high.
Home buyers on the hunt for an affordable property may be willing to tolerate a few ghosts, especially when 66% expect haunted house sellers to reduce their price.
Among those who could be convinced to buy a haunted house, 71% would do so to save money. That’s up from 69% in 2022 as skyrocketing interest rates prompt buyers to look for cost-cutting measures.
With limited budgets because of the rate hikes, Americans are less likely to pay top dollar for a stigmatized property. In 2023, 62% of home buyers would offer less than market value for a haunted home that met all their other criteria, compared to 59% in 2022.
Nearly 1 in 3 Americans (31%) would offer at least $50,000 below market value, while 1 in 9 (11%) would offer at least $100,000 below market value.
Almost a quarter of Americans (23%) would still pay above market value to live with ghosts, but they tend to be younger buyers who don’t want to be haunted by failed dreams of homeownership.
Millennials are swamped with debt, but they are 3x more likely than boomers to pay above asking price for a bewitched property, while Gen Z is 4x more likely.
Besides a price reduction, Americans could be persuaded to buy a spook house if:
- It was located in a safe neighborhood (47%)
- The ghosts were friendly (41%)
- It had a large yard (36%)
- It had been recently renovated (36%)
- The seller was willing to negotiate (36%)
Unexpected Costs, High Interest Rates Scare Home Buyers
Purchasing a home is one of the most expensive transactions most Americans will make in their lifetime. For many, the prospect seems daunting. In fact, 44% of Americans say the thought of buying a home scares them.
The most terrifying aspects of homeownership are all financial in nature:
- Unexpected costs (50%)
- High interest rates (46%)
- Inability to pay mortgage (42%)
Unexpected costs are the most common fear for the second year in a row.
For unprepared buyers, additional costs can be more shocking than a ghostly encounter. Beyond the mortgage, the average U.S. homeowner spends $17,459 annually on hidden expenses, such as repairs, maintenance, utilities, and property taxes.
Although it’s possible for homeowners to budget for some additional costs, others are unpredictable — adding to the constant fear, worry, and financial stress.
High interest rates are also scaring off home buyers. In the past year, rates have climbed from about 5.6% to 7.2% — adding hundreds of thousands to the total loan amount. If home buyers put down 20% on a median-priced home, they’d pay about $119,000 more in 2023 than they would have in 2022.
It’s no wonder Americans are 6% more concerned about paying their mortgage in 2023, especially as inflation keeps the price of everyday necessities high.
Just 1 in 7 Americans (15%) worry they’ll discover their home is haunted. However, 81% of homeowners who have lived in a haunted house say they’re more common than people think.
Americans who have lived with ghosts are loath to repeat the experience. They (24%) are 2x more likely than other Americans (12%) to worry about discovering a spirit in their home.
Ghosts Are Frightening, but 93% of Americans Are More Afraid of Home Repairs
Belief in the supernatural is increasing, but just 7% of Americans say ghosts are the scariest aspect of homeownership. Instead, a majority of respondents fear spirits less than home repair problems, such as:
- Mold (60%)
- Termites (57%)
- A leaky roof (54%)
- Water damage (54%)
- Foundation issues (53%)
Americans are rightly concerned about these problems because they are some of the most detrimental and expensive to fix, but the wrong design choices can also horrify buyers. Take one look at the properties on Zillowtastrophes for visual proof.
Wallpaper is back in vogue, but don’t go overboard. About 1 in 9 Americans (11%) think homes with a lot of wallpaper are more concerning than a haunted house, while 1 in 10 (10%) think homes with wall-to-wall carpeting are more concerning.
As a host for all kinds of pollutants, allergens, and bacteria, carpet has lost much of its appeal to hardwood floors in recent years. Plus, home buyers never know what could be lurking underneath.
Americans are most concerned with tangible problems they can see with the naked eye, but imperceptible issues can be just as sinister as spirits.
Lead paint and radon are noxious chemicals that can cause cancer, but 52% of Americans and 69% of Americans, respectively, do not consider these invisible health risks more concerning than a haunted house.
Close Proximity to a Nuclear Waste Facility Is Worse Than a Haunted House
Americans may not be too worried about lead paint and radon, but they have a healthy fear of radioactive materials that can survive for thousands of years.
About half of Americans (48%) would rather reside with immortal spirits than purchase a home near a nuclear waste facility.
Boomers and millennials agree that homes near nuclear waste facilities are the most undesirable properties. Meanwhile, true crime-obsessed zoomers are most likely to fear homes where a serious murder was committed.
Shockingly, 64% of Gen Z don’t think a home near a nuclear waste facility is a dealbreaker. In addition, 62% of zoomers and millennials each agree that a former meth lab is not a dealbreaker when buying a home, despite harmful residue that can cause health problems.
Haunted houses are also more preferable than:
- Homes on top of a burial ground (46%)
- Former meth labs (42%)
- Homes with a history of cult activity (39%)
- Homes located next to a nightclub (39%)
- Homes where a serious crime was committed (37%)
More than 1 in 4 Americans (29%) wouldn’t purchase a house that’s rumored to be haunted, even if everything else about the home fit their needs.
Americans consider the following to be less of a dealbreaker than a haunted house:
- Homes located within a mile of a busy highway (22%)
- Homes where a pornographic film/video was shot in the home (22%)
- Homes near the location of a serious crime (20%)
About Half of Americans Avoid Haunted Real Estate
Although nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) enjoy scary movies and books, many homeowners have no desire to live out those horrifying plotlines in real life.
Nearly half of Americans (48%) say nothing could convince them to purchase a haunted house. Of those, 70% wouldn’t buy one because they don’t want to be scared in their own home.
They also have concerns about their mental and physical health, with 65% saying they’d have too much anxiety and 39% saying they’d worry about being physically harmed.
Another 1 in 4 Americans (25%) worry they’d scare off friends and family if they purchased a haunted house.
The fear holds some weight. About 21% of Americans would never visit anyone who lived in a haunted house, while 63% would never stay overnight. What’s more, 45% of Americans wouldn’t seriously date someone who lived in a haunted house.
Those who have never lived with ghosts are much more likely to be spooked by the prospect of visiting a haunted home. As a result, they (25%) are 2x more likely than haunted house owners (12%) to never visit.
Spook houses aren’t the only bewitched properties Americans want to avoid. Half of respondents (50%) wouldn’t stay in a haunted hotel or Airbnb.
If forced to choose, Americans agree they’d much rather visit a haunted property than live in one permanently. About 16% of respondents say they’d prefer to stay in a haunted hotel, versus 4% who say they’d prefer to own a haunted house.
Not surprisingly, homeowners who have learned to coexist with the supernatural are more inclined to brave a haunted hotel. They (29%) are 2.5x more likely to prefer staying in a haunted hotel than Americans who have never lived with ghosts (11%).
The proprietary data featured in this study comes from an online survey commissioned by Real Estate Witch. One thousand Americans were surveyed Sept. 7-8, 2023. Each respondent answered up to 18 questions related to supernatural phenomena and haunted homes.
About Real Estate Witch
You shouldn’t need a crystal ball or magical powers to understand real estate. Since 2016, Real Estate Witch has demystified real estate through in-depth guides, honest company reviews, and data-driven research. In 2020, Real Estate Witch was acquired by Clever Real Estate, a free agent-matching service that has helped consumers save more than $160 million on realtor fees. Real Estate Witch’s research has been featured in CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, Chicago Tribune, Black Enterprise, and more.
Zillowtastrophes showcases the most bizarre, hilarious, and head-scratching real estate listings on the market. Each new day brings weirder and more unique houses to enjoy on TikTok, Instagram, and in a weekly newsletter, run by account creator, Jess More.
About Estate Media
Founded by real estate, media, and investment leaders Josh Flagg, Griff O’Brien, and Andrew Shanfeld, Estate Media brings together established and emerging talent with a combined audience of more than 25 million followers to develop original IP and branded content across social and traditional platforms. Estate Media’s slate of original podcasts, weekly newsletters, digital series, and educational shows offers real estate enthusiasts a wide variety of content that entertains and informs.
More Research From Real Estate Witch
More Than Half of Buyers Would Purchase a Haunted Home in a Competitive Market: Learn how Americans’ paranormal beliefs and home-buying preferences have changed since 2022.
Shocking Real Estate Myths Americans Actually Believe: Ghost stories aren’t the only tall tales Americans believe. Here’s what they get wrong about home buying.
90% of Millennials Are in Debt: Find out how millennials’ frightening debt burden impacts their ability to buy homes.
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Could ghosts be hurting house sales?
About three-fourths of Americans (71%) who own a haunted house think it will be harder to sell. About 69% think their home will sell for less, and 64% think it will take longer to sell. Learn more.
Can you sell a haunted house?
There are no laws barring the sale of a haunted house, and only New York and New Jersey have statutes that require sellers to disclose paranormal activity. However, 68% of Americans say the government should require sellers to disclose if their home is haunted. Yet only 31% of sellers would willingly disclose that information, regardless of the law. Learn more.
Is a haunted house a stigmatized property?
Stigmatized properties are homes that have a negative psychological impact on buyers because of certain events, such as a murder or alleged haunting. About 52% of Americans would overlook the stigma of a haunted house, but 66% would expect the seller to reduce the price as a result. Learn more.