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What's Scarier Than a Haunted House? Homeowners Reveal the Frightening Facts

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.

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.