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Things that go bump in the night causing Brits a fright

Ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night are usually seen in films and TV programmes but for some homeowners, they are a very real concern with three in 10 Brits (31%) saying they thought their home was haunted.

Posted on 30 Oct 2014

  • More than one in six (17%) of those who claim to have lived in a haunted property say they moved house as a result 
  • Most common ‘haunted happenings’ for people who thought their home was haunted include hearing strange noises (53%), items disappearing without explanation (28%) and a door opening and closing of their own accord (16%) – while nearly one in five (17%) believe that they have actually seen a ghost 
  • More than a quarter (28%) would be put off buying a house if they believed it was haunted.
  • Superstitious Brits would be put off buying a house if it was built on an ancient burial ground (31%), was located next to a cemetery (25%), or if was house number 13 (11%)

The majority of us have a story about a nightmare neighbour – whether they’ve kept us awake with parties until the early hours or stolen a parking space. But, as Halloween looms, new research by Confused.com shows that supernatural housemates are also causing people nightmares. 

New research from the leading price-comparison site reveals that nearly a third of Brits (31%) have lived in a house they believed to be haunted, with more than one in six (17%) of these claiming to have actually seen a ghost in their home. And whilst some Brits haven’t seen a spirit, over half who thought their home was haunted (53%) say it was haunted by a noisy ghost making strange noises. 

With Halloween fast approaching, people might be tricked into thinking the heating clunking in the night might well be an unwanted poltergeist. Three in 10 (30%) people who thought their home was haunted say they saw shadows moving around their house and more than a quarter (28%) say items would disappear without explanation. 

While sceptics may question whether a house really can be ‘haunted’, many people take the idea of sharing their home with unwanted spirits far more seriously. In fact, more than a quarter (28%) of Brits would be put off buying a house if they believed it was haunted. 

Nearly two in five (39%) say they would be put off buying a property if they knew something bad had happened there, such as a crime or murder, and nearly a third (31%) said they would be put off buying a property if it was built on an ancient burial ground. 

 Top Ghostly Goings-on

  • Strange noises – such as footsteps, creaking, pipes banging – 53%
  • Shadows were seen moving around a house – 30%
  • Items have disappeared or moved without explanation – 28%
  • The room would suddenly become chilly – 27%
  • I saw a ghost – 17%

Many Brits who believe their home has been haunted may question why they have been targeted by the spirit world; and the answer might come from anywhere including the history of the house. Was the house built on an ancient burial ground? Was it the scene of a horrific crime? Or did previous tenants move in and out of the home quickly? 

Nearly a quarter (24%) of those who thought their home was haunted took to the books and researched the history of their house and the local area. More than one in 10 of those haunted Brits tried to contact the ghosts/spirits (11%) that made things go bump in the night.

And whilst the history of the property is important, many homeowners have been put off by the current surroundings of the property. Nearly a third of Brits (31%) say they would be put off buying a property if it turned out the property was built on an ancient burial ground and a quarter of Brits (25%) say they would be put off buying a home if it was located next to a cemetery.

Whilst banging pipes and disappearing items might keep homeowners up at night, it might be for the wrong reasons. Banging pipes and creaking floorboards could be more than just paranormal activity; could your pipes be suffering with water damage?  

Despite the paranormal world causing problems for some Brits, it’s these real world encounters that are causing Brits the real problem. The most common cause for people moving home is nightmare neighbours; more than one in 10 (12%) saying they have moved because of this. 

More than two-thirds of Brits (69%) say they consider a power station undesirable to live next door to whilst a similar number (67%) say a disused block of flats is something they don’t want next door. More than half (56%) say an empty shop is undesirable.

Gareth Lane, head of Home Insurance at Confused.com, says:

“Ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night are usually seen in films and TV programmes but for some homeowners, they are a very real concern with three in 10 Brits (31%) saying they thought their home was haunted.

“Whilst the most common cause for people thinking their home was haunted was strange noises, more than a quarter (28%) say their belongings would disappear without explanation. 

“Home insurance is vital in protecting homeowners’ and those buying a policy need to make sure they are protecting their belongings from theft and damage as well as loss. Whilst your nightmare neighbours are more likely to be the ones causing you problems, protecting yourself from unexplained disappearances and damage is vital.”

Notes to Editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from One Poll and commissioned by Confused.com. Total sample size was 2,000 UK adults aged 18+. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st to 23rd October 2014.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).


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About Confused.com

Confused.com is one of the UK’s biggest and most popular price comparison services. 
Confused.com was the UK's first price comparison site for car insurance. Launched in 2002, it generates over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the last couple of years to include home insurance, holiday insurance, pet insurance, small van insurance, motorcycle insurance, breakdown cover and gas and electricity, as well as financial services products including credit cards, loans, and life insurance.

Confused.com is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides an, objective and unbiased comparison service. 
By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more. Confused.com’s service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators. 

Confused.com is owned by the Admiral Group plc. Admiral listed on the London Stock Exchange in September 2004. Confused.com is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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