What’s scarier? Halloween, or spooky home prices?

It doesn’t take a witch with a crystal ball to know housing affordability is currently at among the lowest levels recorded. What was affordable on a teacher's salary in San Francisco is now unaffordable for engineers at Google and Apple. In recent surveys, prospective homebuyers confessed they were willing to sacrifice a healthy diet or even delay having children in order to have enough money to buy a home. And with rising mortgage rates, home-buying power will only get further depleted. 

With ever more purchase hurdles, first-time buyers hopefuls are pushing limits as to how far they are willing to go to become homeowners. Eating daily ramen noodles, delaying family formation and co-living with strangers from Airbnb are all so yesterday. The latest sacrifice? Living in a haunted house.

According to the latest Q3 2018 ValueInsured Modern Homebuyer Survey, 1 in 10 (10%) of all first-time homebuyers are willing to buy a home that could be haunted if it is more affordable than a comparable home:

  • Among homebuyers who wish to buy “in the near future” but are concerned they have not saved enough for a down payment, 15% are willing to buy a home that could be haunted if it is more affordable

  • Among all California homebuyers, 14% are willing to buy a haunted home in exchange for some relief for their wallet

  • Among all New York homebuyers, 1 in 5 (20%) are willing to make this spooky sacrifice

Interestingly, rural homebuyers are least willing  – 9% vs. 12% in the suburbs – to make this compromise. Possible explanations include home prices have not risen as aggressively in general in rural areas, and the idea of a spooky home could be more realistic to rural homebuyers.

Obviously, these are all hypotheticals. However, home prices have risen so much in recent years that some previously unheard-of, frightening in their own right, practices – buying sight-unseen, waiving inspections – have now become so common that they no longer raise any eyebrows. While we hope haunted-house buying never becomes a trend, there are frightening data already here now that should not be ignored: 77% of all Bay Area residents consider the current housing crisis "very serious", and over half of all millennials (58%) are considering leaving as a solution to the housing barriers they face.

In ValueInsured’s survey, nearly 1 in 3 first-time homebuyers (31%) would relocate in search of housing affordability. Without a healthy supply of next-generation homebuyers, home sales in the nation’s most unaffordable markets could stall – as they have, now for six consecutive months nationwide. What was deemed the best sellers’ market ever not long ago is now tipping toward sellers' direction; that’s good news for buyers, but could be a nightmare for sellers who bought high mere months ago.