Who ya gonna call? ... NAB chief Cameron Clyne hasn't said boo. Illustration: John Shakespeare
One of the National Australia Bank's British subsidiaries has revealed that demand at the haunted house end of the residential market has been hit particularly hard during the financial crisis.
A study conducted by the Yorkshire Bank found that 51 per cent of homebuyers would back out of the purchase of a house if they found it had a ''paranormal presence'', according to a report in the Yorkshire Evening Post.
The bank has urged Yorkshiremen not to be spooked. ''In reality, 99 per cent of noises and seemingly strange occurrences have perfectly reasonable explanations - like loose floorboards, birds nesting in the loft or a dodgy boiler,'' reasoned the Yorkshire Bank's head of retail banking, Steve Fletcher. He was unable to account for the other 1 per cent.
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The survey found that one in 10 Yorkshire homeowners believed their houses were haunted.
''Research also found that women would be less content sharing their home with a ghoul compared to men,'' the Post reported.
Some 47 per cent of females surveyed said they would not be happy to stay put if they heard bumps in the night, while only a third of men would be bothered, the newspaper reported.
The issue with haunted houses follows concerns raised in June about the impact of Japanese knotweed on Britain's housing sector.
''Clearly, there is a difference between someone with a small garden overrun by knotweed and someone with a three-acre garden who has a bit at the bottom,'' the Yorkshire Bank told the Post about its more relaxed attitude towards the weed.
The chief executive of NAB, Cameron Clyne, is yet to make a statement on whether paranormal activity could affect house prices or interest rates in Australia.