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Superstition in the Housing Market


  • Fortin, Nicole M.

    () (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)

  • Hill, Andrew J.

    () (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)

  • Huang, Jeff

    (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)


We provide the first solid evidence that Chinese superstitious beliefs can have significant effects on house prices in a North American market with a large immigrant population. Using real estate data on close to 117,000 house sales, we find that houses with address number ending in four are sold at a 2.2% discount and those ending in eight are sold at a 2.5% premium in comparison to houses with other addresses. These price effects are found either in neighborhoods with a higher than average percentage of Chinese residents, consistent with cultural preferences, or in repeated transactions, consistent with speculative behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Fortin, Nicole M. & Hill, Andrew J. & Huang, Jeff, 2013. "Superstition in the Housing Market," IZA Discussion Papers 7484, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7484

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Fidrmuc & J. D. Tena, 2015. "Friday the 13th: The Empirics of Bad Luck," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 317-334, August.
    2. James E. Larsen, 2015. "Triskaidekaphobia and North American Residential Real Estate Prices," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 18(3), pages 317-329.
    3. Almond, Douglas & Chee, Christine Pal & Sviatschi, Maria Micaela & Zhong, Nan, 2015. "Auspicious birth dates among Chinese in California," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 153-159.
    4. Evgeny A. Antipov & Elena B. Pokryshevskaya, 2015. "Are buyers of apartments superstitious? Evidence from the Russian real estate market," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 10(6), pages 590-592, November.
    5. Brad R. Humphreys & Adam Nowak & Yang Zhou, 2016. "Cultural Superstitions and Residential Real Estate Prices: Transaction-level Evidence from the US Housing Market," Working Papers 16-27, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    6. Tong V. Wang & Rogier J. D. Potter van Loon & Martijn J. van den Assem & Dennie van Dolder, 2016. "Number preferences in lotteries," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 11(3), pages 243-259, May.
    7. Ke, Wen-Chyan & Chen, Hueiling & Lin, Hsiou-Wei W. & Liu, Yo-Chia, 2017. "The impact of numerical superstition on the final digit of stock price," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 145-157.
    8. Elena B. Pokryshevskaya & Evgeny A. Antipov, 2015. "A study of numerological superstitions in the apartments market," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(1), pages 83-88.

    More about this item


    housing markets efficiency; lucky Chinese numbers; superstition; immigration;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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