Real estate is not only an investment for the living. Some properties are reported to have, well, other kinds of residents. In the “spirit” of Halloween, we are venturing into some of the most haunted areas to define our top spookiest places in the U.S. Is the housing market in these cities just as scary?
We scoured the internet to find the cities with the most mentions of infamous haunts in the U.S. and developed the Homes.com Top 10 Spookiest Cities in America. We also took a look at these spooky places and examined their spooky spaces to find out if the housing market is just as scary. Take a chilling tour into the first half of the spookiest cities and decide for yourself.
10. San Diego, CA ranks in the #10 spot with familiar spooky spaces, including Hotel del Coronado and the most recognized Whaley House. In the 1960’s, this house was designated as an official “Haunted House” by the U.S. Commerce Department[i]. In addition to being known for its haunted real estate, we found that San Diego has also been known for haunting home prices. It was sometimes described as a “housing affordability crisis” due to a dramatic growth in real estate prices prior to 2006[ii]. So, how are the home prices in this city today? The current median listing price for a single family home on Homes.com is $539,000[iii], well below the reported median from Wikipedia in May 2007, which may demonstrate a stabilizing housing market.
9. Portland, OR makes the list with spooky locations like the Bagdad Theater and the Shanghai Tunnels. Reportedly, one of the city’s most famous haunted houses is the Pittock Mansion[iv]. It is rumored that visitors to the house have experienced paranormal events, including ghostly apparitions, unexplained noises and movements. What can long term visitors looking to buy a home in the Portland area expect? This city has been known to hold steady home values and, most recently, has seen increases by 3.2%, according to the Case-Shiller Index[v]. If you’re in the market to buy, the median listing price is currently $325,000 with a reasonable $142 median price per square foot, indicating there may be more “spooky space” for your money.
8. Chicago, IL, the third most populous city in the U.S., is up next. Chi-Town was featured in a recent “Ghost Adventures” episode on the Travel Channel, with two ghastly locations: the Excalibur and Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery. This city’s haunting past, including one of the country’s largest disasters in the 19th century, the Great Chicago Fire, and the capsizing of the Eastland steamer in 1915, could potentially fuel the ghost stories in the area. What’s fueling the real estate market for this city today? Chicago fairs well with renters and ranks #5 in our most searched cities from the Q2 State of the Rental Market report. And, if you’re in the market to buy, the median listing price for a single family home for sale is the lowest from this list at $160,000, making it the most affordable out of all the spooky cities.
7. San Jose, CA joins our list of top spooky places, with one frequently mentioned haunted location — the Winchester Mystery House. In addition to the Whaley House in San Diego, this home is the only other officially designated “Haunted House” in California. Once occupied by the widow of gun mogul William Wirt Winchester, this well-known mansion is thought to be “haunted by the ghosts of people who fell victim to Winchester rifles, and that only continuous construction would appease them[vi].” This continuous construction cost an estimated $5.5 million then and is equivalent to over $71 million today. As far as the costs for real estate in this city today, the asking price is somewhat similar to San Diego, currently reporting a median listing price of $599,999 and a median price per square feet of $356.
6. Gettysburg, PA, the location of the most historic battle in the Civil War, makes our list because, according to Wikipedia, it is “reputed to be one of the most haunted locations in Pennsylvania.” Many of the spooky spaces in this city primarily include battlefield areas, like Devil’s Den, Little Round Top, and Slaughter Pen. However, The Farnsworth House Inn, one of the few buildings that remain in the area, is reported to be haunted by the “ghosts of women, children, cats, and Confederate soldiers[vii].” It now serves as a famous attraction, where visitors can stay and experience nightly ghost presentations. What’s in store for long term visitors interested in buying a home? This city’s median asking price is $229,900 and median price per square feet is $119, indicating once again that there is more “spooky space” for your money.
It seems that many of these cities share a rich and supposedly haunting historical past. But how does the past affect the future and, more specifically, the future of the real estate market? Only time will tell. Until then, stay tuned for part two where we’ll examine the top 5 of the spookiest cities in America.
[i] Wikipedia, Whaley House (San Diego, California), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whaley_House_(San_Diego,_California)
[iii] Homes.com active listings as of Sep. 18, 2012
[iv] TopTenz.net, Top 10 Most Haunted Cities in the U.S.
[v] S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, Not Seasonally Adjusted as of July 2012
[vi] Wikipedia, Winchester Mystery House, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Mystery_House
[vii] Wikipedia, Reportedly haunted locations in Pennsylvania, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reportedly_haunted_locations_in_Pennsylvania