Business / Industries

Feng shui finds more fans in US real estate

By Niu Yue (China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-08 09:45

Feng shui, meaning wind and water in Chinese, is a belief system that goes back thousands of years. The search for balance in these forces is influencing the United States real estate market, as buyers of everything from condominiums to cemeteries want the input of the ancient art that channels positive energy.

Houses are being decorated based on feng shui, according to John Pan, associate real estate broker with Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty. Instead of having an address that ends with the numeral four (which sounds like "death" in Chinese), home owners try to have their address changed so that it ends with the number eight (which sounds like "getting rich" in Chinese).

"Feng shui is not only a plus," said Pan. "It's a key element to push some of the products, especially in areas where there's a strong interest from the Chinese population."

In Sky View Parc, a mixed-use real estate project in the Flushing neighborhood of New York City, retail space is designed such that the first floor of condominiums starts on the eighth floor. No floor has been designated as 14 or 24-or 13.

The roof of the Sky View Parc is a garden, laid out with a feng shui consultant. The colors of all structures were chosen for "the orientation of positive energy", and entrances to the courtyards are mapped out for the flow of energy.

David Brickman, vice-president of Onex Real Estate Partners, developer of Sky View Parc's second phase, agreed that the use of feng shui was largely to attract Chinese buyers.

Chinese are the largest group of foreign buyers of real estate in 46 of the 50 states, according to the National Association of Realtors and, an online market place for Chinese property shoppers. The association said that Chinese buyers spent $22 billion on US real estate in the 12 months ended in March 2014, and 76 percent of it was all-cash transactions.

Many entrepreneurs from China believe so deeply in feng shui that they have become experts in it themselves.

"Feng shui principles cross all ethnic and religious boundaries," said Bruce Lazenby, executive director of business development at Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary inWhittier, California.

"People are very open to feng shui in general. People like alternatives, just like for a form of medicine, they do yoga," said Peggy Fucci, president and chief executive officer of One World Properties, a Miami-based brokerage.

Lu Huiquan contributed to this story.

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