Friday the 13th – a Good Day to Buy?

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We’ve just survived another Friday the 13th where in France, too, superstition has a hold on people’s imagination, particularly when it comes to property

Last Friday was the only Friday the 13th of the year for 2014 and it’s a testament perhaps to the power of the human imagination that this date still holds a hex of sorts over society, with people divided between those who fear the date and those who see it in a positive light.

For those who gamble, superstitious notions are strong. The Française des Jeux company – France’s operator of its national lottery – says that statistics consistently prove this and French people spend twice as much money (€8 million) on lottery tickets during a week containing Friday the 13th as during a normal week (€4 million).

In the case of property decisions too, there is always a gamble involved and property company A Vendre A Louer carried out a poll to find out to what extent superstitions rule the psyche of the average French citizen when it comes to property.

The survey – conducted in conjunction with pollsters OpinionWay – found that buying or renting a home brings out the superstitious nature in French people. Whilst 23% of French people declare themselves superstitious generally, when the question is put in the context of real estate, the numbers are considerably higher: 48% of women and 35% of men say that they are superstitious.

Even though they have no problem looking at property on Friday the 13th, 15% of French people do not want to sign any sales contract on that day. And, for half of those who consider that this day brings bad luck (7% of those polled), there would no question of daring to hold a house-warming on Friday the 13th.

A lot of people don’t like the number 13 turning up in many other aspects of their property lives too. 17% of those polled said that they are bothered when it’s the number of their apartment and 8% categorically refuse to live in an apartment on the 13th floor. While these figures show that a large majority (80%) are not negative about the number 13 in the choice of their home, it’s also interesting to note that one French citizen in four actually prefers to live at number 13.

When it comes to moving house, superstition seems to weigh even more heavily on the minds of the French. Almost half of them have a ritual linked to moving in. Three quarters of French say that they must have a house-warming and 28% of those polled hang objects that are meant to bring luck in their new home – such as Buddhas, horseshoes or a rabbit’s foot. Others have more unusual customs: Almost 10% of French wear their lucky colour on the day of purchase or 7% throw coins in the corners of the rooms or else they install the furniture in a pre-ordained manner, with the table going in before the bed.

But it’s the area of ghosts and spirits that spooks French people the most in the domain of property. 46% of of French people think that spirits and ghosts really do haunt houses. Almost a quarter of them admit that they have either moved or are planning to move because of this reason and a quarter of them have either called on the services of an exorcist or are seriously thinking of doing so.

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