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Hongza Houses Are a Bargain in Taiwan

April 8, 2010

(unrelated) Photo by charp on flickr

Apparently, the Chinese can really let their superstitions get in the way of their real estate prices. According to a German reporter living in Taipei, hongza–the Cantonese word for houses that have been the unfortunate site of unnatural and often violent causes of death such as homocide–are avoided like the plague by house buyers. Understandably, it’s not the most pleasant option. But for the unspooked (and property investors), it can mean a hell of a bargain: up to 40% off the average sale price!

As a result, Hong Kong’s real estate market has developed a rather ghoulish classification system for these “unlucky houses” ranked by skulls. Yes, you read right, although some do doubt.

http://taiwanreports.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/skulls.jpg

4 skulls = a crime-related death reported by the media

3 skulls = crime-related death, unreported by the media

2 skulls = suicide, unreported by the media

1 skull = fatal household accident

The more skulls, the better the discount. Real estate agents have urged property buyers to take precautionary measures–talk to the neighbors, inquire with the nearest police station and check websites like www.unluckyhouse.com before sealing the deal.

It’s all very bizarre.

(Trivia: Chinese are as superstitious with the 4th floor as we in the West are with the 13th. Their word for “four” sounds like their word for “death”.)

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