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Developers don’t risk a 13th floor

September 11, 2013
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September not only ushers in the first day of fall, but it also carries the first Friday the Thirteenth of the year, followed only by December.

If you were to list people’s top fears, the list would likely consist of public speaking, heights and spiders. But where does the number 13 rank on this list?

Personally, I am terrified of the dark.  Friday the Thirteenth I can take head on but turn the lights off, and I quickly turn into a wide-eyed, petrified child.

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, even the smallest chance a buyer might opt out of a home due to a fear of the number thirteen is reason enough to not include the floor.

"I'm not particularly superstitious myself, but not having a 13th floor is a no-brainer," says Izak Senbahar, president of Alexico Group. "You don't want to preclude anyone, a buyer who happens to be superstitious. It boils down to that."

To cope with the adjustment, builders will follow two blue prints. One, for developers, includes a 13th floor, while the second, for marketing, omits floor 13, the article explained.

Although academic research shows the vast majority of people don't buy into the idea of unlucky 13, less than 5% of mid- and high-rise residential condo buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn have a designated 13th floor, according to an analysis of roughly 1,500 condo declarations by real-estate listings website CityRealty. In the rest, the 13th floor is labeled as the 14th, so no one in the building is saddled with the 13th-floor address.

Now there are occasional few, like Taylor Swift, who wave the number 13 around as their favorite. But if the developers are not fortunate enough to have Swift as their tenant, they would rather cut the floor out.

"If there's even a 1% risk that someone won't like it, then why would you do it? It's a simple change to the numbers," says Kevin Maloney, principal at Property Markets Group, a New York City-based real-estate acquisition and development firm. "It also makes a building seem a little bit taller, which is important in New York. You get an extra floor."