The irrational fear of the number 13 has a scientific name: "triskaidekaphobia"; and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (Friday), and dekatreís (thirteen).
And according to new research by Search Acumen, superstion surrounding this date could put the housing and commercial property markets on pause this coming Friday.
The property data and technology provider's figures point to a possible double-digit drop in both residential and commercial sales on Friday 13th.
HM Land Registry data shows that the average Friday workload for conveyancers and commercial property lawyers sees 9,394 residential property purchases completed and an additional 835 transactions signed and sealed on behalf of commercial buyers.
However, there are signs that superstition may be a factor in stalling the market and slowing the sales process, with activity dropping away whenever Friday falls on the 13th day of the month – an event which occurs at least once every year.
The effect is most visible in the residential market, where Friday 13th typically sees 5,733 home purchases completed – a 39% drop from the usual 9,394 Friday completions. The commercial real estate market is also impacted: Friday 13th has brought an average of 611 completed deals in recent years, down 27% from the usual 835 deal closures on the last working day of the week.
Andy Sommerville, Director of Search Acumen, comments: “Friday 13th has been referred to by some as the unluckiest date of the year, and these figures seem to suggest the property market isn’t immune to superstition disrupting normal routines. With the challenge of finalising paperwork on time and safely transferring life-changing sums of money, buyers with a superstitious nature might be forgiven for feeling that it’s tempting fate to schedule their completion on this notorious date.
Property transactions can feel frustrating, time-consuming and scary even at the best of times, but future generations might look back on 2019 as a milestone year in putting some of those fears to rest. Having taken part of the first global blockchain trial for property transactions, we’ve seen first-hand how new technologies are emerging to improve security and transparency within the property buying process.
Wider adoption promises to deliver a better experience for all involved, so buyers won’t need to keep fearfully looking back over their shoulders, no matter the date.”