I’m in the market to purchase a three-bedroom townhouse in Richmond and have been searching for a few weeks. For those of you who don’t know the Richmond, it’s a suburb in the Greater Vancouver area 30 minutes south of Downtown Vancouver where the Vancouver International Airport is located. The total population of Richmond is 189,000, and of that, 91,000 are of Chinese descent, which means that almost 50% of Richmond is Chinese! (Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey)
During my search, I viewed various townhomes from brand new to 8 years old. I came across a unit about a 5 minute drive from my daughter’s school. This unit was brand new, just over 1300 sq. foot, and the 2014 assessed value is $569,000. The list price was reduced from $608,000 to $549,800 and it’s been on the market for 638 days, which is quite unusual.
I decided to view the home just to see why nobody wanted to purchase at such a reasonable price, since the average price for similar new units in the area is currently listed and sold for $570,000. I then realized why a brand new unit close to transit, schools, and an outdoor mall was still available for almost 2 years.
It’s because it’s the dreaded Unit #4! According to Chinese numerology; the number four rhymes with the Chinese words ‘to die and death’. My parents have been avoiding the number 4 all their lives and have taught me and my siblings that four is bad, wrong, and don’t ever buy anything with a 4. Some of my traditional Chinese friends even go as far as avoiding check-out #4 at grocery stores!
Just like the number thirteen in most American cities where there is no 13th floor, Vancouver condos and hotels don’t have a fourth floor. Its bad luck; 4 is the new 13 in Vancouver.
When I posted this situation on Facebook, there were many of my friends who disagreed with me. My Vietnamese friend said, “ I’ll buy it and sell it to non-Asian people in the future. Actually it’s only the Chinese that believe its bad luck. Other Asian nationalities don’t believe that. Vietnamese, Japanese, Indo-Asian, and Filipino’s are oblivious to the #4 as far as I know.” My Caucasian friend joked, “4 scare the heck out of me too. Noooo…it’s the number 4!!!! It’s twice as big as 2!” My Realtor friend confirmed my point with a true story of his own experience; “I once owned a townhouse on No. 4 Road. Every Chinese family that came through said they liked it except for the fact that it was on No. 4 Road. It sat on the market for a while and eventually sold to an Indian family.”
After over 45 comments, I’m still not changing my position. After all, I am Chinese AND a Real Estate Investor who buys properties based on exit strategy, future growth, and market potential and I don’t see unit #4 being desirable in any of these areas in Richmond. Also, I would never hear the end of it from my parent’s and relatives. As I would say to Howie Mandell; NO DEAL!
Readers, would YOU buy Unit #4 knowing you may get bad luck?