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In Hong Kong, flats really are cheaper when they contain the number 4 (dataguru.hk)
36 points by slygent 36 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 51 comments

In the states it's quite common to number the floors of a building by avoiding the number 13. I think this is pure madness. 10, 11, 12, 14, 15...

All of that because of a fantasy book where people had supper and they happen to be 13 at the table.

Edit: Here's an example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/13_(number)#/media/File:Many_b...

It's very far from madness to avoid being a seller who ends up with lesser valued property irrespective of the origins of a myth.

The madness isn’t the reaction by property owners, it’s the customers making it an issue.

Which is odd, because regardless how you number a floor, some floor really is the 13th floor.

>All of that because of a fantasy book where people had supper and they happen to be 13 at the table.

Your link doesn't state that. It mentions the last supper as a potential but unlikely origin of 13 as an unlucky number.

The same on planes. There is never (I've never seen it anyway) row #13. It goes straight from row #12 to #14.

Qantas to the rescue of all that is rational.


And they have a great safety record. Maybe 13 is a lucky number after all?

it is actually one of the best seats XD

I was sitting on row 13 last week in 2 planes. Really depends on the company.

I assume the GP is referring to Cathay Pacific, for whom Hong Kong is home base; they do not have row 13.

Czech Airlines used to have a row 13.

Years ago they also had a pretty cool security demonstration in which they lighted up the emergency lighting.

> All of that because of a fantasy book where people had supper and they happen to be 13 at the table.

Well, this fantasy book led to much more crazy behaviors. Beside this, the same is true for many other fantasy things like money or ethics.

If the number N is considered unlucky to the point that it is skipped, then shouldn't people be worried that they are living someplace that should have the number N, even if it was labeled N+1?

In this case it seems the bad luck is attributed to how the number four is spoken. So if you avoid saying it you avoid the bad luck. Looks like this superstition works differently from how 13 works where the count itself is unlucky.

Something tells me that people who care about these superstitions don't think quite that far.

Another funny old news about superstition is that a public research institute located in Hong Kong Science Park used HK$180,000 (~USD $23,000) on fung shui consultation[1].

[1]: https://www.scmp.com/article/595459/value-money

You’d love the HSBC building in Hong Kong. HSBC own a large open space immediately in front of the building purely because its good feng shui to have an open view of the water [1]. It’s a completely open space in the most premium area of down town Hong Kong island, right next to the ferry terminal. It must be worth so much money.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HSBC_Building_(Hong_Kong)#Feng...

This seems like a good example of how "feng shui" can be just "good atmosphere". A open view over the water is worth a lot.

There is also no 4th floor in the science park which that research institue is located.

It's becoming common to build condo towers without fours in markets intended to appeal to buyers from Asia.


Units: 1,2,3,5,6,7...

A lot of the less upmarket (older) buildings don't omit the number four which could factor in. Older buildings, although bigger, tend to have high maintenance fees and are less desirable.

Yes, I didn't normalise for age/grottiness of building. But isn't it interesting that it's the older/grottier buildings that didn't skip the number 4?

But this doesn't really explain the difference in prices even for floor 44...

In Japan also frequently parking spaces skip the number 4. House numbers too. And probably assigned phone numbers limit the number of 4s you get at once. Its a little silly.

So the number 4 in Cantonese sounds like the word for death. Though a different tone is used.

Thing is the number 9 sounds just like the word for dog, why doesn't that cause a problem?

People have an aversion to death more than dogs.

4 is being actively avoided. And combines with other numbers, like 14(to die), 174(going to die) make it a very ominous number indeed.

174 sounds more like "dying together". How about 54 "not dying"?

1 can pronounce as 一(yi1), but sometimes can be also pronounce as 幺(yao1). The latter sounds similar to another character 要(yao4, meaning command to do something), and together represents as 要去死(something like you are going to die).

As to 54, maybe you are referring to 勿死(wu4 si3)? Its meaning is closer to, please don't die, than not dying, and though I am not sure, but 勿 uses to negating another word seems kinda ancient and outdated.

You're explaining with Mandarin, but Hong Kong is mostly Cantonese-speaking. http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/characters/468/

1 in Cantonese is "jat"

9 is also a homonynm for "enduring" which may be good. unless it's enduring death you're worried about.

Its a bit surprising to see this. I thought they go for using '3B' instead of an outright '4'

I only include integer floors in this analysis, but there very few flats with regex \d\w. Or you're surprised there are 4s at all?

The 4s aren't surprising because of the superstition with 4, it's that you find them that is odd. To best capitalise on the property it would be apt to rename them 3B or 13B. It's a well known practice to avoid the 4 because it wastes value.

4-containing houses and apartments sell for a discount even in Australia. Been to quite a few auctions, 0 Asian punters for 4s vs at least 5 for non-4s. Some apartment buildings are already built without level 4 altogether.

I'm the author of this post and the founder of dataguru.hk, AMA

There is no significant drop for 40 where 34 and 44 both do have these. Is this because 40 is pronounced differently and doesn't have the connotation?

Compare 39 to 40, and 49 to 50... I think it's just harder for people to avoid ALL floors starting with 4, but there is still a small effect.

Very interesting work! Just a quick note, for this kind of evenly spaced, discrete X data, stairs plots are usually better. For instance this highlights better the 13th floor issue, which in the line plot was obscured: https://i.imgur.com/cSjT5xx.png

I agree that a stepped line graph is better that a line graph, but since the data is discrete and not continuous a lollipop chart or maybe a bar chart would convey it better.

Monty from xiph.org learned me that: https://xiph.org/video/vid2.shtml @ 5:57

Also a good option, although they seem a bit "busy" for my taste when Y values are very close: https://i.imgur.com/4ePNXbp.png

As an R aficionado, I totally agree, but it's not available on Metabase yet, which is the front-end I want to offer non-technical clients to visualise data. I should put in a PR...

Its unclear whether the amount of transactions is compensated for the floors that do not exist (thus less supply).

But before that I include a graph of flats available, and indeed there are fewer flats with floor numbers ending with 4! So an interesting analysis would be to see if the turnover (transactions divided by availability) is different... But I think price paid is more interesting :)

Nice work! Do you see any differences when slicing the city into its various districts?

Great idea, I'll add it to the to-do pile!

What happen to Dataguru.hk between 2013 and 2018?

Stupidity tax.

Please don't post snarky one-liners.


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