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In everyday language, we use the term white elephant to refer to something that is pricey and takes up considerable space that is left in the corner of a room unused.
It is as if the buyer bought it just to have it instead of needing to use it.
Such as a $500 futuristic-looking vacuum cleaner for someone who hardly vacuums.
In real estate, a white elephant usually refers to a property that is purchased at a high price, expensive to maintain, but it’s value does not justify the purchase price and maintenance expenses.
A buyer of such a house, which is not necessarily a luxury property, probably bought it off emotions and to use it as a trophy possession.
He does not live in the premises as a residence, and is not comfortable to rent it our or have too low a rental value to make up for the costs of maintenance.
One such example is historical buildings. They can have a gorgeous classic look, but few tenants or landlords would want to live in them as they can be sorely lacking in necessities.