Lucky number eight

In Vancouver, the right digits in your address can have a big impact on the value of your home

by Colby Cosh

Lucky number eight

ISTOCK

The name for the number four sounds like “death” in Mandarin, Cantonese and other Chinese dialects. It’s considered so unlucky in Chinese culture that in October, Beijing’s vehicle licensing authority removed it completely from automobile licence plates. Meanwhile, eight sounds like “fortune” and is highly prized; in Guangdong province, licence plate A8888Q recently sold for almost $200,000. These beliefs may seem like interesting quirks, but if you’re holding real estate in a Canadian neighbourhood that has experienced a Chinese influx in recent decades, they are no laughing matter: your address could cost you or earn you extra thousands of dollars.

A new paper from the University of British Columbia’s economics department, “Superstition in the Housing Market,” offers what is probably the best-ever estimate of the relevant amounts.

Taiwanese undergraduate student Jeff Huang approached professor Nicole Fortin with a request to do a Chinese-themed project; the idea snowballed as the team, with Ph.D. student Andrew Hill on board, realized that they were smack dab in the middle of the world’s greatest experiment in Sino-European cultural coexistence. Their study looks at five years’ worth of single-family dwelling sales—nearly 117,000 transactions—in Greater Vancouver, isolating the interaction between local ethnic Chinese concentration and the value of homes with addresses ending in deadly “4” or happy “8.”

They hit pay dirt. On average, in neighbourhoods with a Chinese population of over 18 per cent, addresses ending in “4” sold at a 2.1 per cent discount; ones ending in “8” received a 2.5 per cent bonus. Given the $400,000 average price of the Lower Mainland homes in the study, the value of that “8” works out to $10,000. The effects are somewhat stronger in neighbourhoods that are more Chinese, and disappear in areas with few Chinese residents. “It’s perhaps not the most serious research in the world,” admits Fortin, who is her department’s Canadian Institute for Advanced Research fellow, “but it’s a good, solid measurement of an interesting phenomenon.”




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Lucky number eight

  1. "In Vancouver, the right digits in your address …. "

    Not only in Vancouver. Sold my home earlier this year in Guelph to family from Shanghai and they offered list price and no conditions even tho home had been on market for at least six weeks at that point but family was desperate to buy home with number 88 as address.

    Orientals have to be the most superstitious people there are.

  2. "In Vancouver, the right digits in your address …. "

    Not only in Vancouver. Sold my home earlier this year in Guelph to family from Shanghai and they offered list price and no conditions even tho home had been on market for at least six weeks at that point but family was desperate to buy home with number 88 as address.

    Orientals have to be the most superstitious people there are.

    • Occidentals are superstitious too – how many high rise buildings have a 13th floor, and how many street addresses have the number 13 in them?

      Some buildings in Toronto have no floors with a 4 in their number and no 13th floor. This means that the 15th floor is directly above the 12th floor.

      • …and there's one other one: many buildings that used to be numbered 666 have been renumbered. I have seen at least one street where the houses are numbered 664, 664a, 668.

      • bravo to you for pointing out that we have our own superstitions – namely the number 13! It is very rare to find apt 13 on the 13 floor in most buildings in Canada

        • Though mostly because nobody builds that high anymore.

  3. Occidentals are superstitious too – how many high rise buildings have a 13th floor, and how many street addresses have the number 13 in them?

    Some buildings in Toronto have no floors with a 4 in their number and no 13th floor. This means that the 15th floor is directly above the 12th floor.

  4. …and there's one other one: many buildings that used to be numbered 666 have been renumbered. I have seen at least one street where the houses are numbered 664, 664a, 668.

  5. What has been mentioned here I have known about, except in the main story about removing car licencing numbers with 666 in Beijing and the comment about changing some house addresses from 666 to something else.
    I always said to myself, that really no matter how many times you don't 'visually' number a floor as # 13, the structure will always have a 13th floor. I am not supersticious, however, because of the way that society is, I would not have 666 on my car licence number, because some people would associate my car or myself as the devil or other evil; you don't want to become a target for someone with 'ill intentions'.

  6. What has been mentioned here I have known about, except in the main story about removing car licencing numbers with 666 in Beijing and the comment about changing some house addresses from 666 to something else.
    I always said to myself, that really no matter how many times you don't 'visually' number a floor as # 13, the structure will always have a 13th floor. I am not supersticious, however, because of the way that society is, I would not have 666 on my car licence number, because some people would associate my car or myself as the devil or other evil; you don't want to become a target for someone with 'ill intentions'.

  7. This is getting stupid about number that are 34 or 88. People get number from Social Insurance, Health Card, Driver Licenses, Credit Card and Passport Serial Numbers all the time. Does it really mean deadly curse on them? The answer is no. Above all, it still laughable about a number of 666 (don't know where you get that from) that being devil. Please everyone just ignores the the so called superstitious numbers. Someone out there is pulling a huge pranks on these things.

    Good day everyone.

  8. This is getting stupid about number that are 34 or 88. People get number from Social Insurance, Health Card, Driver Licenses, Credit Card and Passport Serial Numbers all the time. Does it really mean deadly curse on them? The answer is no. Above all, it still laughable about a number of 666 (don't know where you get that from) that being devil. Please everyone just ignores the the so called superstitious numbers. Someone out there is pulling a huge pranks on these things.

    Good day everyone.

    • 666 comes from the Bible, and refers to the "mark of the beast". This is from the NIV:

      Revelation 13:18, "This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666."

  9. 666 comes from the Bible, and refers to the "mark of the beast". This is from the NIV:

    Revelation 13:18, "This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666."

  10. canada should require all immigrants to migrate to sparsely populated areas of the country and work to establish there own way, instead of coming to toronto,montreal and vancover and putting tremendous pressure on tax payers for health cost langues training in schools welfare etc. if you can't pay your way ,stay home. we don't whant you!!

  11. canada should require all immigrants to migrate to sparsely populated areas of the country and work to establish there own way, instead of coming to toronto,montreal and vancover and putting tremendous pressure on tax payers for health cost langues training in schools welfare etc. if you can't pay your way ,stay home. we don't whant you!!

    • if that were the case, hardly any Italians, Irish, Ukranian…European peoples would not be here. So they had the right and these "new" immigrants shouldn't? You see what you want to see. Obviously you don't see all the hard working immigrants to take all the insults, discrimination, and down right terrible treatment, AND YET still manage to own their own business and employ other "Canadians".

  12. We had a in-fill development in our neighbourhood in Toronto. One of the lots that was the largest on the new street was one of the last to sale because the number on the house was to be 44. Never thought I would consider my house number when buying a house.

  13. We had a in-fill development in our neighbourhood in Toronto. One of the lots that was the largest on the new street was one of the last to sale because the number on the house was to be 44. Never thought I would consider my house number when buying a house.

  14. if that were the case, hardly any Italians, Irish, Ukranian…European peoples would not be here. So they had the right and these "new" immigrants shouldn't? You see what you want to see. Obviously you don't see all the hard working immigrants to take all the insults, discrimination, and down right terrible treatment, AND YET still manage to own their own business and employ other "Canadians".

  15. bravo to you for pointing out that we have our own superstitions – namely the number 13! It is very rare to find apt 13 on the 13 floor in most buildings in Canada

  16. Wow…cards on the table we humans are getting way to superstitious…it is almost funny and not…… If one is taught to be superstitious and thinks its real….he/she will make it real. The Q/A is, is it real and/or just in our own head because we belive it is so…..if you were taught differant…you would not live in fear….its all in our heads…no?

  17. Wow…cards on the table we humans are getting way to superstitious…it is almost funny and not…… If one is taught to be superstitious and thinks its real….he/she will make it real. The Q/A is, is it real and/or just in our own head because we belive it is so…..if you were taught differant…you would not live in fear….its all in our heads…no?

  18. A Chinese real estate agent in Edmonton tells me that she routinely deals with customers who refuse to even look at a house that has a 4 in its address. Entire streets are no-go-zones to some of her immigrant clientele.

  19. A Chinese real estate agent in Edmonton tells me that she routinely deals with customers who refuse to even look at a house that has a 4 in its address. Entire streets are no-go-zones to some of her immigrant clientele.

  20. Though mostly because nobody builds that high anymore.

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