Animal Spirits, Primitive Superstitions – “Address numbers could hold key to fortune”

From CBC news article (online and video), 9 Mar 2011 [hat-tip Nemesis] –

“Leah Hendry now with how changing your house number, could help you get lucky. An increasing number of Vancouver homeowners are changing the numbers in their property addresses — to attract either good luck or Chinese homebuyers. For $676 you can apply to change your address.”

“The number four may seem innocuous, but for some cultures the word sounds similar to the word for death. “In Chinese, it is pronounced as sssss, and the Chinese [word for] death is zssss,” said Vancouver realtor Alec Zhang. “That is why people do not like the four.” A number ending in four is especially avoided, he said.”

Linda Wener had her home on the market for five weeks before it sold for well below her asking price. Her house number was 3364. “I just never even thought of it,” said Wener. “Somebody said it was ‘bad.’ I said, ‘It’s what it is.'”

The number could have been a factor in how the sale went. “If you keep this number, it may reduce your house value by two, three, even five per cent. If you can change the number to 3468 or 3466, that would be a perfect number for Chinese buyers. “

Vancouver realtor Wayne Hamill says spending $676 to change his house number was a good investment. “8s tend to get a little more attention than houses that don’t, they get a lot more attention than houses with 4s in them”

“We’ve had 8 (address change requests) just in the first week of March.” [That’s gotta be a good sign! -ed.]

Comment: We’ll call this what it is: Primitive superstition; magical thinking; false belief.
Just the kind of lunacy one would expect to make the news and alter behaviour when the herd is running crazy. Animal spirits are pulsing.
Next up: Exorcise your basement. -vreaa

29 responses to “Animal Spirits, Primitive Superstitions – “Address numbers could hold key to fortune”

  1. Just when I think things could not get more comical!

  2. He, wonder what would happen if we put 4 somewhere in the name of BC or Vancouver?

    Reminds me of a friend of mine from way back when. He got harassed by Jeovah’s witnesses and decided to to “strike back”. He told me he did some research and then put out some gummi bears (made out of gelatine, apparently a big no-no for them). He offered them, they ate some, then he pointed out what they just did and apparently that was the last he saw of them.

    Now, I somehow doubt that many of the “Rich Mainland Chinese” are really that superstitious, but why not try and see what happens?

  3. “Next up: Exorcise your basement.” -vreaa

    Ars Gratia Artis, VREAA…

    The ‘Horror’… the ‘Horror’…. 😉

  4. For those of you who haven’t previously heard the term ‘animal spirits’ mentioned in relation to markets, this from The Economist:

    Animal spirits
    “The colourful name that Keynes gave to one of the essential ingredients of economic prosperity: confidence. According to Keynes, animal spirits are a particular sort of confidence, “naive optimism”. He meant this in the sense that, for entrepreneurs in particular, “the thought of ultimate loss which often overtakes pioneers, as experience undoubtedly tells us and them, is put aside as a healthy man puts aside the expectation of death”. Where these animal spirits come from is something of a mystery. Certainly, attempts by politicians and others to talk up confidence by making optimistic noises about economic prospects have rarely done much good.”

  5. Animal spirits as, “naive optimism” – indubitably.

    Thematically related, if geo-spatially and temporally displaced – or, “Meanwhile, back at the RanchoMuammar”…

    StratFor USN Disposition Update

    BlackHumour – CVN65 Style

  6. Is there ANYTHING more annoying than certain numbers in an address driving a house price up (especially in Vancouver).

    Answer; NO.

  7. another bear bitching and jealous!

  8. Wow, it seems like the rate of postings here has increased dramatically lately. Is this an indication of how close we are to the bubble bursting? Here’s hoping.

    • Yes, possibly reflective of the hectic froth in some sectors of the market.
      It seems that there has recently been a rapid increase in the (still small) number of folks who see that the market is insane and unsustainable.
      Having said that, the vast majority continue to chant the “RE only goes up” mantra (I witnessed it myself at a social gathering yesterday).

    • Good point jack, Im hoping that too.

  9. I suggest that the Vancouver Heritage Commission look into having the street addresses of all listed heritage buildings in the city be changed to include at least one number 4.

  10. A friend of mine just bought an apartment in South Granville in an 8 story building that doesn’t have a forth floor. It does have a forth floor, but it is numbered 5 as it is the elevator. Much like the old days when they didn’t have the 13th floor. I guess 4444 west 4th. Ave will be a bargain if it sells.!!!!!LOL

  11. Yeah right, adding the number of 8s will simply draw more buyers, not produce more competition. Another reason prices only go up.

    • Virtuous cycle; think of all the jobs we are creating – somebody has to make those 8s and fasten them to all our homes.

      Could be a scene from Brave New World or Brazil, where everyone’s address is #888 8th st.

  12. Just when you thought we’ve seen it all. This really is sad.

  13. granite countertop

    Does this sound like racist propaganda to anyone else?
    I know it’s not intended as such by CBC, or VREAA, or the people interviewed. It just sounds like it.

  14. This is silly pandering by people that think Asians are one monolithic culture.
    Changing your address might matter to a buyer in their 50s-60s that are still uber-superstitious, any Chinese person of younger generations isn’t even cognizant of any of this.

    • “Changing your address might matter to a buyer in their 50s-60s ”

      The funny thing about superstitions is that it doesn’t matter how many people actually believe it, it’s whether people believe others believe it. When prices drop to rental equivalency, you get a better deal for 444 44th St.

  15. This city has gone mentally ill from greed.

  16. ‘Patiently Waiting’ at VCI commented:

    Superstition and bubbles go hand in hand:

  17. This is not much different than not having floor 13 on many condo buildings. Why jump from 12 to 14 ?

  18. Here’s a superb example of lucky numbers in pricing.

    Price: $888,888.

    • Another of those ‘what the hell is the realtor thinking?’ scenarios. They are advertising to sell a house that will be newly built… why, oh why, post a picture of the sorry teardown that is standing on the lot now?

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