The opinion piece, The Area-Code Plot to Kill L.A.’s Housing Market [LA Times], provides a tongue-in-cheek look at the status of area codes.

A new area code for West L.A. — a code so undesirable it will turn a 310 number into a bragging right.

They’re sneaky, these commissioners. They know how Angelenos think. This is a town more concerned than most with status. Higher interest rates simply make homes more expensive, and therefore more desirable. Conventional economic thinking doesn’t work here. But what if trading up to a bigger, more generously screening-roomed house involved some of kind of status penalty — negative egomortization, if you will? What if — hear me out — they forced you to take, say, an 818 area code with that new mansion in Beverly Hills?

I remember when my in-laws in suburban Detroit were switched by the phone company from a 313 area code to 734 a while back. A few years ago, Eminem made Detroit’s 313 a tough-sounding area in his movie “8-Mile” (my relatives live near 5-mile). Where I live there is even some snickering made of the sub-market at the telephone exchange number level as well. Old guard versus new. Please.

There was a classic Seinfeld episode where there was concern that the new Manhattan area code of 646 would cause a drop in status from the 212 mainstay. The reality here is that it makes for a good story, but as they say in the Seinfeld series, its a lot about nothing.

National Area Code Map



One Response to “Negative Egomortization: Area Codes As Status Symbols For Real Estate”

  1. BC says:

    Who was the developer that bought a cache of 212 numbers to provide to buyers of their new project? I think this was somewhere around 1999 or 2000.

    I remember the horror of having a mobile phone number that suggested I lived in Brooklyn when my residence was clearly Alphabet City.