A British company is offering a property investment to die for.
Cemetery Invest is selling burial plots off plan as a way to fund construction of cemeteries, in similar fashion to the way developers pre-sold holiday home projects. Investors pay about £925 (Dh5,550) per plot, which will then, in theory, be resold at a higher price when the cemetery is built.
The scheme is based on a relatively simple concept. The supply of land for cemeteries is shrinking while the demand for burial space is constantly increasing. In London and other big cities, cemeteries are filling up and it's difficult and expensive to find land for new facilities. The result: prices for burial plots are going up, in some areas as much as 20 to 30 per cent in the past few years.
Cemetery Invest has sold about 4,000 plots to investors in Springhill Cemetery, a facility under development in the West Midlands town of Lichfield, according to Alexander Ogden, the managing director of Creative Investor, the firm putting together the scheme.
The typical investor bought 15 grave sites in the project, which will eventually include 24,000 sites, he said. The cemetery developer will manage the property and has promised to resell the 4,000 plots purchased by investors before selling the other sites, unless an investor wants to retain plots for personal use.
The company is developing a similar financing plan for three other cemeteries in the UK, Mr Ogden said. But there are a variety of risks. There is competition - more than 70 per cent of the deceased in the UK are cremated, an option that might become even more popular as burial expenses rise.
There is also a move to allow cemeteries to reuse graves, a practice known as "double decking", which allows cemeteries to bury people on top of older remains.
Mr Ogden may be biased, but he is sceptical the new policy will provide competition to his scheme.
"I've never met anybody who wants to be buried in a second-hand grave," he said.
The Quote: Any man who has $10,000 left when he dies is a failure. Errol Flynn, the Hollywood actor, who starred in swashbuckling films such as Captain Blood and Robin Hood