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The very real cost of real estate superstitions.

Friday, November 13, 2020   /   by Vanessa Saunders

The very real cost of real estate superstitions.


By Vanessa Saunders, MBA, MIMC , Broker Owner, Global Property Systems Real Estate.

Think superstitions are just silly? Would you buy a house if the street address was 666? Would you close on a property on Friday the 13th (as anyone closing today will be doing?) Which is better—an address with 4’s or 8’s? While many people don’t consider themselves superstitious, 10% of Americans suffer from “triskaidekaphobia,” or fear of the number 13. In real estate, such superstitions actually have a cost in real money.

The Phobia Institute of North Carolina claims that the US economy loses between $800 and $900 million every Friday the 13th. A recent study revealed that homes with the numbers 666 in the list price sell for 3.2% less than their market peers, although oddly, homes with a street address of 13 sell for 2% higher. The number seven bumps a home price 1.8% and “316,” as in John 3:16, boosts it 1.2% above the competition.

It seems silly, but to paraphrase the late Senator Evert Dirksen, “A percent here, a percent there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

A couple in Minnesota petitioned to change their 666 address after several years of wary neighbors and trouble getting service personnel to come to their home. They paid a $100 fee for the right to tell friends and FedX drivers that they live at number 668.

Westerners are not alone in their superstitious beliefs. A study done at the University of British Columbia found that in communities with a significant Chinese descent population, houses with addresses ending in 4 sold at a 2.2% discount and houses ending in 8 sold at a 2.5% premium. In Chinese culture, 4 is considered a very unlucky number as the word in Mandarin sounds very similar to the word for death. Conversely, the word for the number 8 sounds like the word for prosperity and is considered auspicious.

This preference plays out in commercial real estate as well. In 2016, a Chinese developer bought a prominent office building in Sydney’s CBD for the notable price of $88,888,888. More and more developers are also catering to Chinese clientele world-wide by omitting floor numbers that contain the number four (4, 14, 24, etc.) and removing unit numbers with four. This is not exclusively a Chinese practice, as it is echoed in the American and European custom of skipping floor 13 in high-rise buildings.

So for all those Realtors, buyers and sellers out there who are closing on a real estate deal today, we wish you all the best in your new home.

And good luck.

If you have questions about buying or selling a home, or for more information, CONTACT US.


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Global Property Systems
Vanessa Saunders MBA MIMC CIPS - NYS RE Principal Broker
56 Lafayette Avenue Suite 320
White Plains, NY 10603
914-290-5258


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