It looks like 2018 might be the year of the deal.
Many people know that eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture because when spoken in Cantonese it sounds like the word for “prosperity.” And it turns out 18 might carry the same good fortune.
When spoken aloud, the number sounds like the phrase “I want to be wealthy,” which could make 2018 a lucky year for real estate deals — and some brokers have already seen that in action.
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Corcoran Group agent Janet Wang told the Wall Street Journal that five of her clients decided to get serious about buying when 2018 rolled around. “‘Ok, this year we’re really going to look,’” they told Wang, without specifying a reason.
One Beijing-based buyer put off closing on a New York City home in the $5 million range so they could purchase it in the new year instead, said Carrie Law, chief executive of Chinese international real estate website Juwai.com. “There may have been other factors at play, but that’s the reason they gave us,” Law said.
Lucky numbers don’t only dictate when some Chinese buyers will buy, but where. An address or price or with eight is ideal, while addresses with the number four — which sounds like “death” — are avoided.
A condo building at 80 Park Avenue is particularly popular with Chinese buyers, not only because of its address, but because it’s near 38th Street, which in Cantonese sounds like “create wealth,” according to Geovanna Lim, president of Park Avenue International Partners.
Eighteen also plays a special role in the Jewish community, since the Hebrew word for the number, “chai,” also means life. Eastern Consolidated’s Adelaide Polsinelli pointed out its significance at the REBNY gala earlier this month. “It’s a lucky number in the Jewish faith, so 2018 has to be a good year,” she said.
Chinese numerology has ripple effects for non-Chinese buyers, too. In British Columbia, where 80 to 90 percent of condo sales are to Chinese buyers, no one wants purchase a unit with an unlucky address because it will make it harder to sell later on, said Calgary-based broker Peter Ng.
Coco Tan, a broker in Silicon Valley, was skeptical about the connection. She said that if there was a bump in real estate sales at the beginning of 2018, it was more likely because buyers were waiting to see the final tax reform bill.
Law of Juwai.com, however, predicts that August will be a busy for Chinese buyers, particularly the eighth of the month. After all, in Cantonese, the date sounds like “prosperity prosperity I want to be wealthy.” [WSJ] — Chava Gourarie