/ Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, flats really are cheaper when they contain the number 4

Hong Kong is internationally famous for many things: dim sum, Bruce Lee, Wan Chai... But in this post I will discuss its skyscrapers and most prominent numerological superstitions, and how they interact.

Because of the limited area that can be built upon in Hong Kong, the vast majority of its population lives in skyscrapers. The highest floor number in dataguru.hk's database of Hong Kong property transactions is 90, which appeared in 6 property transactions, all for Zone 1 of Tower 21 of The Cullinan... although this building only actually has 23 floors, starting with floor 67 and skipping floors 74 and 84, which is rather less impressive. The residential buildings with the most floors in Hong Kong seem to be its neighbours, the three buildings making up Harbourside and Block 1 of Sorrento, with 65 floors apiece.

But why would floors 74 and 84 be skipped? One other thing Hong Kong is famous for is its numerous superstitions, some numerological. As the linked article explains with regards to numbers:

For example, number 8 is the most favored number among Chinese because it sounds like “prosperity” & “fortune” (“發”)... Number 4, on the contrary, has ominous connotations due to a similar pronunciation to the word “death” (“死”) in Cantonese. It is generally disliked by Chinese and many buildings in the city leave out the fourth, fourteenth and other “number 4” bearing floors so that their residents can avoid bad luck.

And indeed, we find in our buildings database that floors ending with 4 are unnaturally rare -- as is the 13th floor, in a nice Western touch to the Eastern taboo:

A similar effect can be seen in the number of transactions for each floor number:

Incredibly, this is even reflected in the price people are willing to pay for flats! However, while the effect for floors containing the number 4 is clear, there does not seem to be as much of a price bump for 8. (The graph shows the price per square foot paid on average over the last 5 years for each floor number across all of Hong Kong that had at least 66 transactions):


Are there any more analyses of Hong Kong property or any other aspects of Hong Kong that can be answered using open data that you'd like to see? Get in touch! And stay tuned for more posts that are in the pipeline!

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