Numbers mean different things in some cultures. The wrong one can lower a home’s value by up to $35,000.
What is it about the number 4?
Growing up, I quickly noticed that the house numbers on the street went from 11 to 15. There was no number 13. Ancient superstition. Airlines do not have a row 13. The only reference I had to number 4 was Bobby Orr on the Boston Bruins. He made that number famous.
How times have changed. Now the number 4, which sounds like the word “death” in Cantonese and Mandarin, is considered very unlucky not only in the Chinese culture, but also in Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese communities. And real estate agents will tell you that in some areas in the GTA, this can lower a home’s value by up to $35,000.
New condominium developers are no longer just skipping the 13th floor in a 30 story building; they also skip floor numbers 4, 14 and 24 as well.
In Hong Kong, some high rises go from floor 39 to floor 50, to skip any reference to a 4 in the floor description.
Richmond Hill council voted on May 15. 2013 to avoid using the number 4 in any new addresses, after residents complained.
Many owners are making applications to change their number from 4 to 2, when there is no number 2 already on the street. If there is a number 2, you can apply to change your number to for example, 2B, but only if you get the permission of the owner of house number 2. For example, in Toronto, coincidentally, for a little more than $400, you can apply to change your house number.
In Mississauga, the amount is $650 plus HST. You can find information on how to apply at the website: http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/helpfeedback/faq?paf_gear_id=12000021&itemId=100400221n&action=faqAnswer
On the other hand, the number 8 in Chinese is considered lucky as it sounds like prosperity. It also has a symmetrical shape which implies perfect balance. Even better if your house number is 88. Remember that the Chinese Olympics started on 08 08, 2008. It was no co-incidence.
I doubt that a seller has any obligation to disclose whether their house number may cause a problem later with the re-sale of the home. This is another reason why you need to speak to the neighbours and research any community before buying any home, to learn if there are any local customs or superstitions that you should be familiar with, so you do not get any unwanted surprises later.
We now live in a very multicultural country. Numbers matter to a growing group of potential buyers. Be aware of this before you decide to buy any home.
Sabrina Wong, Sales Representative, Century 21 Atria Realty Inc.