Your number's up

Numbers are everything in the real estate world. They’re found in prices, growth rates, and interest rates. But one seemingly arbitrary set of numbers can actually have a serious impact on a house. 

Most people usually don’t give much thought to it, but the address on the front of a house can significantly affect its value. This is especially evident in certain cultures, where some numbers are viewed as lucky or unlucky.

“A lot of people might think it’s a superstition, and yet there are many real estate agents out there in the field who tell me that it’s not a superstition,” says real estate lawyer Mark Weisleder.

There are many buyers who will avoid certain properties outright because of the address outside. In Asian cultures, the word for the number four is similar to the word for death, while 13 has always been considered an unlucky number.

“They do not want the numbers four or 13 in their house number,” Weisleder explains. “This is why developers are eliminating these floors in new condominium buildings. It’s not a coincidence.”

The unlucky stigmas from some numbers can also have an impact on the price of a property, sometimes by as much as $35,000.

“It does affect the value of a home,” says Weisleder. “People will still buy it, but it does have an impact.”

Recently, the town of Richmond Hill, Ont. voted to avoid using the number four in new housing developments. Weisleder says this was the result of numerous complaints from immigrant residents.

“The numbers matter perhaps even more [to them],” Weisleder says. “That’s why so many people were coming to complain or change their numbers. I think that’s a factor of the makeup of Richmond Hill.”

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