The market is booming, but do murder houses also make a killing?

Written by in Buying on September 25, 2015

In a market where 7 of 10 houses sell at auction, we are undoubtedly experiencing a “seller’s market”. But what if the seller was a murderer? We investigate the hottest homes of Australia’s – ahem- cold blooded crimes and understand whether this may have affected selling performance.



17 Goodsir st, Rozelle, NSW

In 2009, a quaint home in Sydney’s highly sought after, Rozelle, became the crime scene for Giuseppe Di Cianni to murder his former business associates, the Frisoli brothers. While coverage may have tarnished Di Cianni’s name, who was given a heavy 30 year jail sentence, property seekers appear to have overlooked the home’s dark past which sold at auction in 2014 for $2,265,000- a tidy $200, 000 over reserve. 



147 Easey st, Collingwood

Hand-written notes were left at the petite Collingwood home of Susan Bartlett but her and friend, Suzanne Armstrong’s lives were not, as discovered by officials as they lay in puddles of blood. Almost thirty years on the case still remained unsolved, as the house sold for $571, 000. Although similar homes in the area sold during this time for sums in excess of $600, 000, it was still a successful outcome given the $460, 000 estimate given prior.



1-5 Commercial Rd, Melbourne, VIC

The Hotel Saville, was purchased last year by Channel Nine’s The Block, and is now undergoing serious demolition for the popular television show. While currently a site for construction and camera crews, rewind to 2002 and it was the site for “bloodsucking” male prostitute, Shane Chartres-Abbott, to allegedly raped and mutilate a 30-year old woman later found unconscious in the shower of her room. Chartres-Abbott who had earlier told her he was a 200-year-old vampire who drank blood to stay young, was shot dead after the attack. While the properties go up for auction come last episode of the show, The Block has a history of generating significant revenue for its renovated properties- last season, its winners Dee and Darren Jolly’s South Yarra property sold for almost $835,000 over reserve.


Is it an agent’s role to disclose?

According to REIV CEO, Enzo Raimondo, Victorian agents need to be “fair and honest” (Estate Agents Act, 1980) in their dealings with buyers. This involves when asked specifically by buyers for this type of information to provide the details that they are aware of.


Does stigma affect sales?

The Block’s Buyer’s Advocate, Greville Pabst, states that “research shows a property’s tragic history does not typically have a lasting impact on its value… While a short-term dip in value is sometimes evident within the first 12-18 months following a serious incident, typical performance generally resumes by 24 months later”.

In instances of particular infamy, while the tragedy may not be forgotten, many buyers (not including the extremely superstitious variety) are not deterred by a sordid past, particularly when in relation to valuable real estate. In the case of properties like The Block’s Commercial Rd building, history is unlikely to have a significant impact on its appeal to local buyers, particularly considering the extensive level of renovation, which leaves little more than the bones of the original structure.


Types of stigmatised properties

There are different tiers of stigmatised properties or “material facts”, so if you’re in the market and come across one, here’s what it means:

  • Criminal stigma. The property might have once been the scene of an illegal drug lab, brothel or other major criminal presence or event, such as a sexual assault.
  • Murder or suicide stigma. As the name implies, the property might have been the site of a murder or suicide which may be locally or even nationally known.
  • Debt stigma. This could be a property where previous occupants owed money and were pursued by debt collectors, whether legally or illegally. These debt collectors may then continue their harassment of the next occupants mistakenly believing that their target still lives there.
  • Environmental stigma. This could include any health and safety issues related to the property, such as being in close proximity to toxic or chemical waste.
  • Phenomena stigma. This might be a property with well known claims of hauntings, ghosts or other paranormal activity.
  • Other stigmas. These could include proximity to violent or unsound neighbours or a property which has a stigma only to a select group of people


Have you or would you buy a murder house?