To its fans, it’s one of the greatest horror movies ever made – teenagers living on Elm Street in the imaginary town of Springwood, Ohio, are murdered in their dreams (and thus in real life) by Freddy Krueger, a burnt killer with a bladed, gloved hand.
But for many, thousands of miles across the Atlantic, the nightmare doesn’t end when the credits roll. New research reveals that decades after the 1984 film was released, homes on roads named Elm Street across the UK still sell for up to 70% less than the local average due to what experts call “a superstitious market”.
The analysis by Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) looked at residential property sales from the last decade. It found that on average, homes across the UK on Elm Streets fetch 42% lower than the average for their postcode area.
The biggest proportional difference was seen in County Durham, England, where homes fetched £74,204 less than nearby properties. While the average sale price of the postal district was £105,514, homes on Elm Street were selling for £31,310.
The homes in Elm Street in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, suffered the biggest actual price difference, selling for £158,372 less.
Other areas starkly affected were Blackburn in Lancashire (67% difference in prices), Wakefield in West Yorkshire (62%), and Troedyrhiw in Merthyr Tydfil (60%). Homes on Elm Streets in Burnley in Lancashire, Bury in Greater Manchester, Tyldesley in Wigan and Eccles in Greater Manchester all saw homes fetching for 61% less than the local average.
In only one Elm Street in the UK – in Ferndale, south Wales – did homes sell for an average price that was higher than typical for the area.
With Halloween approaching, a survey conducted by Opinium for YBS also showed that most Britons would be willing to snap up a bargain even if a house was said to be haunted. Nearly six in 10 (59%) UK adults said they would be willing to buy a supposedly haunted house if it meant it was cheaper to buy, pointing to either an exceptional fearlessness among British house-hunters or to the housing market squeezing out a significant part of the population including the young.
“It seems that some house prices may be being affected by a superstitious market,” said Ben Merritt, a senior mortgage manager at YBS. “We know that all kinds of reasons can affect prices and it seems that Freddy Krueger’s film franchise can now be added to that list.”
Merrit added that the research also showed that: “Seven out of 10 adults in the UK wouldn’t be put off living on Elm Street, so for those in the market, their dream home could be just up this street.
“It is worth bearing in mind, though, that if you have picked up a home for significantly less than the area’s average due to a spooky name, not to be horrified when it comes to selling if this continues to influence the property’s price.”
Conversely, the selling price of real-world homes featured in famous horror films, including The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror, are comparatively high, indicating that their value is bolstered by film buffs looking to own a piece of Hollywood history.
The original house used to film A Nightmare on Elm Street was recently listed in the US market for $3.25m. The three-bedroom home at 1428 N Genesee Avenue in Los Angeles went up for sale on Wednesday, with offers reportedly being accepted until midnight on Halloween.
“The whole neighbourhood gets the tour-bus treatment. People always get tickled when they see it,” Heather T Roy of Douglas Elliman, which holds the listing with Learka Bosnak, told the LA Times.
In 2015, the owners of a Rhode Island farmhouse that inspired the 2013 horror movie The Conjuring sued Warner Bros, claiming they were inundated by movie fans trespassing on their property.
“We had harassing phone calls in the middle of the night,” the owner said. “They’ve had discussions of people destroying the house because ‘It’s so full of evil’.”
Seven more sinister addresses
Other streets and locations that became infamous through their inclusion in horror films
The house in Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist, while not really built on a cemetery, is located in a suburban cul-de-sac in Simi Valley, California. Some believe the film franchise is cursed after several strange deaths among cast members.
Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, infamously slashed his customers’ throats and used their remains for his London meat pie business.
Ocean Avenue, Amityville
The Long Island town was the scene of a brutal crime in 1974, when Ronald DeFeo Jr shot and murdered his family inside their house, claiming to be possessed by a demonic spirit. While the movie franchise wasn’t filmed at the actual house, the DeFeo home still stands at 108 Ocean Avenue, Amityville.
The 2008 horror movie about a monster incursion is set in New York, but there is a real-life street with the same name in LA. In the 2016 spin-off, 10 Cloverfield Lane, a woman is held in an underground bunker by a man who insists that a hostile event has left the surface of the Earth uninhabitable.
The Stanley hotel, Colorado
A stay at Colorado’s Stanley hotel inspired Stephen King’s Overlook hotel in The Shining. Though no scenes from the movie were actually shot there, the hotel was used for portions of the 1997 mini-series adaptation. It hosts writer’s retreats and ghost hunts, and The Shining plays on a continual loop in the guest rooms.
While Camp Crystal Lake in Friday the 13th is a fictional location, the original film was shot at a real campground called Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, which is still in operation. Located at 11 Sand Pond Road in Blairstown, New Jersey, it occasionally opens up for fan tours, usually on Friday the 13th.
Grand Central Cafe, Texas
Though the house from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was moved from its original location in 1998, it still resides in Texas and has been converted into a restaurant. Originally named the Junction House Restaurant, and renamed Grand Central Cafe, it’s located at 1010 King Court, in Kingsland, Texas.