quiet neighbors

Homes near cemeteries sell for 13% more than ones near the living

October 31, 2013
October 31, 2013

Don’t be afraid to buy a home near a graveyard. It might actually be a better investment.

Redfin dug up the data and found that those within 50 feet of a cemetery sell for 13% more per square foot than others further away. The average price per square foot was $162 for grave-view residences versus $142 to $150 a square foot for those more than 100 yards away, the national real estate firm reported.

“The gravestones are a part of history. They’re pockmarked and windblown and eroded,” says Blakely Minton, a Redfin agent in Philadelphia. She notes that clients, for example, love to live near the historic Old Pine Church Cemetery.

The findings reverse what you might think to be true. Great school districts and modern kitchens command premium prices, but nearby burial grounds might be harder to accept. Many people fear death or dying, or don’t want a daily reminder of their loss. Some just find graveyards spooky.

When Minton shows a home near a cemetery, she knows what to say: “They’re very quiet neighbors.”

Even a haunted house isn’t horrific to sell. Six in 10 people in a Realtor.com survey this fall said they might consider buying one—but most would want a significantly slashed price, especially if there’s supposed to be a ghost living there.  (The problem is common enough that the National Association of Realtors has prepared a so-called Field Guide for agents on how to deal with  “stigmatized properties.’)

Redfin’s research on homes near cemeteries was based on more than 96,000 US homes, condos and townhouses sold from January 2012  to September 2013 in 90 metropolitan areas. Redfin researchers found 5,433 cemetery boundaries with a home within 1,000 yards to include in its data set.

Homes with a view of tombstones do have one downside: They take longer to sell. They’re on the market 48 days on average versus 39 to 41 days for homes more than 500 yards away from a graveyard, Redfin reports. So while the price is higher, sellers need a pint of patience to scare up a buyer. Minton notes another selling point: “You’re pretty popular on Halloween.”

Follow Vickie Elmer on Twitter @WorkingKind. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

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