Can Certain ‘Lucky’ Numbers Better Your Selling Chances?

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Great staging can help buyers fall in love with a home, but can some lucky numbers help get them through the front door?

Some numbers may be more lucky than others when pricing a home for sale, according to market psychology. For example, prices ending in “9” can make some buyers feel like they’re getting a deal. So “$149,999” versus “$150,000” may not change the value too much, but it can sound like a better deal to potential buyers. Suddenly, the home is priced in the $140,000 range rather than the $150,000 range.

Fifty-three percent of listed homes that Trulia recently analyzed had a price ending in a “9.” Five was also a common last number.

For unknown reasons, listings were most likely to end in a “9” in several New England areas (like Boston; Hartford, Conn.; and Worcester, Mass.) and in upstate New York (like Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse). More buyers looking for a deal in those places, possibly?

However, the perception of a good deal may not matter with higher priced listings. The Trulia study found that more expensive homes were less likely to have a “9” in the price.

“Perhaps sellers think buyers who are ready to spend two million on a home won’t be fooled into thinking it’s a bargain at $1,999,900, and those buyers probably aren’t looking for bargains in the first place,” writes Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist, on a recent blog post detailing the study’s results.

The study of listing prices also found other trends with numbers, like fewer prices containing unlucky “13” in them and some areas of the country betting on lucky number “7” to bring about more sales. For example, Nevada was more likely to have a “7” in the list price than the rest of the U.S. The numbers “777” were three times more likely to appear in the list price in Nevada than anywhere else in the country too, according to the study.

Meanwhile, the “Bible Belt”–covering most of the South–places more bets on the numbers “316” in the list price, possibly a calling to John 3:16, one of the most popular Bible verses. And, ironically, the often associated Satan numbers of “666” are more common in list prices in the Bible Belt too.

In Asian-majority neighborhoods, “8” is a common last digit number in home listings. Eight in Chinese culture is often associated with “prosper,” “fortune” and “wealth,” according to the study.

Have you found any lucky numbers in your area?

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. I agree and disagree on this. The idea of bargain pricing such as seeing department store items and gas prices ending with a 9 does make a difference in the minds of buyers, but when you add into the fact that now being a single dollar short of a full number such as $150,000, you just removed your home from an entire section of pricing points that people looking being $140K-$150K will see, but NOT the people looking between $150K-$160K and for that you loose an entire section of pricing range.
    If they would price at $150K, then they attract and are seen by both the $140K-$150K and the $150K-$160K range buyers and if anything will make them look like a great deal being at the bottom of the $150K-$160K range, where as they are on the Top End of the $140K-$149K range if they use 9’s.

  2. Great call, Ryan. I use this strategy when listing all the time. After you’ve just explained how critical online marketing is, this next move just makes sense.

  3. That was an interesting side that I’m sure most of us had not noticed before. Well, lucky or not lucky, but I believe in the psychological aspect of tagging a price ending in 9…a trick that sellers must definitely make use of!

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