By Aidan Jones
HONG KONG — It may not be everyone's idea of a dream home, but for bargain hunters in Hong Kong's turbocharged property market apartments that belonged to the recently deceased are proving irresistible -- and the more gruesome the occupant's demise the better.
Popular belief in a city awash with superstition runs that the ghost of a person who dies in unnatural circumstances -- a suicide, murder or bad accident -- inhabits their home, passing misfortune onto the new occupants.
The threat carries weight in a city where feng shui consultants do brisk business; families placate the "hungry ghosts" of their ancestors with offerings and people even refrain from whistling in the street in fear of disturbing lurking spooks.
By law, buyers are entitled to details on so-called "haunted houses" -- or hongza in Cantonese -- and many rigorously check the backstory to their potential purchase.
But not everyone is afraid of ghosts, and in the cut and thrust of Hong Kong's runaway property market some investors are actively following the tragedies, aware that dark incidents push the price down.
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