Removal of evidence from Homolka and Bernardo's House of Horrors
57 Bayview Ave., St. Catharines, Ontario
"With murder houses, the severity of the stigma depends on a few factors, said Barry Lebow, a forensic real estate expert based in Toronto. A well-established neighbourhood with longtime residents will remember the murder and continue to associate it with the house, Lebow said. It also depends on how notorious the murder was, and whether the house was prominent in media coverage of the crime.
A study by two business professors at Wright State University in Ohio found that "stigmatized" or "psychologically affected" houses take 50 per cent longer to sell at an average price that's 2.4 per cent below comparable properties. A gruesome, high-profile murder can lower a selling price by as much as 15 to 35 per cent.
Despite the challenges of selling such a house, research shows esthetic changes can improve the chances .
"If there's been a murder and the house has been out there in the media, the first thing you should do is rearrange the facade of the house," Lebow said. Small changes, such as painting the garage a new colour or switching brass house numbers for plastic ones, can help distance a property from a crime.
Murder houses, however, can continue to attract public attention for years. The St. Catharines, Ont., house that had been rented by notorious murderer and rapist Paul Bernardo and his wife Karla Homolka was torn down in 1995. A new home - reportedly with a new number - was built on the site, Lebow said, but people still drive by to look."
The new home that sits where the house at 57 Bayview Drive once stood
Crime scenes a lasting reminder 'something horrible happened'
Julian Cummins, Edmonton Journal
December 11, 2011