The house hunt can be downright scary, even when it’s not Halloween, and finding a neighborhood with the right mix of safety and amenities can be difficult. But buyers willing to make a life in neighborhoods near lifeless attractions like cemeteries, funeral homes and mortuaries may be able to find some terrifyingly good deals.
Depending on your attitude toward the afterlife, these deathly institutions may make you want to run for the hills. But if you’re not scared off by the potential for hosting ghostly houseguests, here are the areas where you’ll find the most homes near an undertaking establishment – and where the price won’t be the death of you.
In some East Coast markets, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a home that isn’t around the corner from a cemetery, funeral home or mortuary. Three metros in Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Allentown, and Pittsburgh – are among the places with the most homes near these eerie establishments. In and around Philadelphia, more than half of all homes are within a half-mile of a cemetery, funeral home, or mortuary; roughly one-in-five are within a quarter mile.
While you might think that homes near a cemetery, funeral home, or mortuary are less desirable, in some metros, these spooky spots are actually pretty good at scaring up home values. Residents in areas with centuries of history, like New Orleans or Philadelphia, appear to be more comfortable living in close quarters with the dead – or are at least comfortable in the fact that they may have no choice. In these areas, houses within a quarter mile of undertaking establishments have higher home values than those farther away, even after controlling for home attributes like number of bedrooms and square footage. New Orleans’ Garden District features some of the city’s most iconic mansions, as well as the historic, 19th century Lafayette Cemetery. Philadelphia’s Old City is the site of many historic homes and sites, including Christ Church Burial Ground, the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin and other Revolutionary War heroes. In these areas, home values reap the benefits of being within screaming distance of these celebrated landmarks.
Still, in many markets, bargain-hunters can often find scary-good deals near cemeteries, funeral homes and/or mortuaries – assuming they don’t mind having very quiet neighbors. Homes in Allentown, Penn., within a quarter-mile of these establishments are worth 13.6 percent less than homes farther away, the biggest discount among all metros analyzed. Metros with the highest distance-from-death discounts are largely concentrated in the Rust Belt, where homes in general are more affordable.
As we all know, when home shopping, the house is only half of it – what’s in the neighborhood matters just as much as what’s in the home. So the next time you’re looking for a new home, don’t forget to consider the spookier amenities in the neighborhood.
You might just find the price is to die for.
We used GeoNames location data on cemeteries and Yelp business data on funeral homes and mortuaries to determine how close a property is to one of these landmarks. To calculate the premium/discount on a home being near one of these landmarks, we ran a simple linear regression with home value regressed on an indicator on whether that home is within a quarter mile of a cemetery, funeral home, or mortuary, controlling for number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, square footage, and zip code. Median listing price and affordability is as of Q3 2018. Affordability and the discount on home values near cemeteries, funeral homes, and mortuaries are positively correlated with a coefficient of 0.34.