The Power of Superstitions: How Number 13 Deters Apartment Buyers

13.04.2018 02:40

It's amazing that in our modern society advanced technologies and old superstitions rub along together fairly well. One has to turn around if a black cat crosses a road, knock on wood to get protected against trouble and in any case avoid breaking a mirror. Fear of number 13 is at the top of a long list of superstitions. Today, on Friday the 13th, we will analyze the impact of this phobia on the real estate market.

Fear of the number 13 is rooted in the distant past and got so widely spread, that there came up a separate term for it - triskaidekaphobia. People postpone flights on Friday the 13th days, software manufacturers release the 14th version after the 12th one, football players are not eager to wear a jersey with the number 13 ... There are many examples, including the real estate market.


A superstitious buyer of an apartment will certainly notice that a house has the number 13, and may refuse to purchase, considering it a bad sign. To confirm or refute this hypothesis, we selected apartment buildings with the number 13 and a rather large number of sold apartments for the last 10 years throughout Minsk.

The next step is to find items to compare. For each house with the number 13 we found the most similar "opponent". It should be located in one yard (or adjacent) and have the same characteristics. The year of construction should not differ by more than 3 years.

After pairs of houses were formed, with the only difference which was the number 13, we compared their average annual rate of apartment sales (adjusted for the total amount of apartments in the house).

In 82% of cases, sales of apartments in the "thirteen" houses were worse than those located nearby. On the average, demand for apartments in houses under the number 13 was by 11% lower than in neighboring ones.


Surely many people saw footage from Hollywood movies, where the elevator after the 12th floor goes right to the 14th. Does a perspective of living on the 13th floor frighten you? According to the results of the following study, many people find it a good reason to refuse purchasing an apartment. We analyzed over 10 thousand sales transactions in houses with no less than 13 floors.

The number of transactions with apartments on the 13th floor was compared to the average of the remaining floors. At the same time, first and last floors were not taken into account. Often there are less apartments on the 13th floor, plus some people refuse on principle to live there, which results in a smaller number of transactions.

The result was even more revealing than in the case of houses. Apartments on the 13th floor on average are bought by 18% less often than the ones on other floors. We separately analyzed 14-storey houses, 15-storey houses, etc. - in each case the 13th floor gave a "drawdown" in the number of transactions.


The most interesting example of fear of the number 13 is in the date itself. Not everyone is ready to enter into sales contract on the 13th with a light heart. The statistics confirms this: the number of transactions for apartment sale on the 13th is by 19% less than on other days of the month on average. At the same time on the 12th and 14th dates the number of transactions is registered at 12% more than usual. I.e. superstitious buyers (or sellers) are asked to shift the date of a transaction so that a spooky number, as they see it, would not appear in a sales contract.