Buyers have suspicious minds

by Grainne Burns25 Mar 2014

Home sellers that have favourable house numbers can receive a higher sales figure, according to a forthcoming study on how superstition dictates buying habits.

New research from the Economic Inquiry found that there were high costs –positive and negative – associated with traditional superstitions, especially in areas with a high concentration of Chinese residents.

Houses with address numbers ending in ‘4’ were sold at a 2.2 per cent discount, says the study, while those numbers ending in ‘8’ were sold at a 2.5 per cent premium. The number four is associated with death in Chinese culture, and eight with prosperity.

“Given a mean nominal house price of about CAD$400,000 over the sample period, we have found that in neighborhoods where the percentage of ethnic Chinese residents exceeds the average of 18%, houses with address numbers ending with the ‘death’-ridden ‘4’ are sold at a $8,000 discount and those ending with the ‘wealth’-laden ‘8’ are sold with a $10,000 premium in comparison to houses with address numbers ending with any other digit,” says lead author Nicole Fortin, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver School of Economics.

This research is based on analysis of nearly 117,000 home sales between 2000 and 2005 in the city of Vancouver.

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