Spillovers in Asset Prices: The Curious Case of Haunted Houses

HKUST IEMS Working Papers No. 2019-63

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Utpal Bhattacharya, Daisy Huang, Kasper Meisner Nielsen

Exploiting the unique institutional setting of Hong Kong’s real estate market, we uncover a curious ripple effect of haunted houses on the prices of nearby houses. Prices drop on average 20% for units that become haunted, 5% for units on the same floor, 3% for units in the same block, and 1% for units in the same estate. Our study makes two contributions. First, our results provide an estimate of a large negative spillover on asset prices caused by an idiosyncratic shock to the perceived quality of an asset. Second, since we observe that this ripple effect exists even if the haunted house is not sold, we can isolate the quality channel from the price pressure channel. We find that the quality channel contributes significantly to spillovers in asset prices.

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