What is in a number?

Cash register

The answer: a lot. Stephen Nicholls, the National Domain Editor wrote an interesting piece for the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday that describes an interesting social phenomena sweeping across Sydney that could also have a serious economic effect.

Previously the number 13 gave developers and potential purchasers the heebie jeebies and was avoided at all costs. Miraculously,  high rise developments would have a twelfth and a fourteenth floor but no thirteenth floor. Now, owing to an influx of Asian investment, the number to avoid is the number four due to the fact that it sounds like the word death in Mandarin. This has led to the new Greenland Centre development dropping any floor that has the number four in in. It appears that at Greenland Centre your elevator will move from floor 39 straight to floor 50.

Interestingly, this does not just affect Asian buyers.  I recently had a query from a client who asked what was necessary to change the number of his unit. He believed that the unit number (unit four) had brought back luck and that if the number was changed his dealings with the property and the owners corporation would be more successful. As real property is referred to by its folio identifier at the Land Titles Office rather than by the address even if the unit number was changed to unit five, the folio identifier would remain as lot 4 in Strata Plan no. X. This means that unless he went through the process of subdividing his lot to create two new lots (being lots 5 and 6) with one of these lots being a ‘token’ lot with the minimum square metres acceptable by his local council, the lot number and the folio identifier would remain the same. This is an example of how seriously what I am calling the new taboo is being taken.

The economic effect of the avoidance of the number four may well mean that all units and floors with number in it may mysteriously start go the way of the thirteenth floor and disappear from strata schemes. At worst, it may affect the market value of current properties by reducing prices if enough buyers avoid properties associated with the number four or, it may make those properties harder to market increasing selling time. The housing market is a strange beast at the best of times and the new taboo just the latest anomaly.

The link to Stephen Nicholls article is http://smh.domain.com.au/real-estate-news/the-missing-floors-in-sydneys-tallest-tower-20140620-zsazc.html



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s