Attitudes of Chinese women are one factor helping fuel the housing bubble in China. Increasing numbers of women insist on a new apartment and a new car as a condition of marriage.

The LA Times has more on this interesting story in China’s housing boom spells trouble for boyfriends.

Many women won’t marry a man who doesn’t own a home. This recent shift, along with soaring real estate prices, has created a woefully frustrated class of bachelors.

“A man is not a man if he doesn’t own a house,” said Chen Xiaomin, director of the Women’s Studies Center at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law. “Marriage is becoming more and more materialistic. This is a huge change in Chinese society. No matter how confident a woman is, she will lose face if her boyfriend or husband doesn’t have a house.”

Dating websites are now awash with women stipulating that hopefuls must come with a residence (and often a set of wheels) in tow.

“I’m 25 years old, looking for a boyfriend…. I want you to have an apartment and a car…. The apartment has to be built after 2000 and the car has to be better than a minivan,” read one post on the popular Chinese Web portal Baidu.

Growing male frustrations have given rise to a new female archetype: the bai jin nu, or gold-digger.

On the wildly popular TV reality program “Don’t Bother Me Unless You’re Serious,” one woman tried to size up a suitor by asking matter-of-factly, “Do you have money?”

The man cut to the chase: “I have three flats in Shanghai.”

The hard-boiled bachelorette, Ma Nuo, has gone on to become one of China’s most recognizable bai jin nu. Marry for love? Fat chance, said the material girl: “I would rather cry in a BMW than smile on the back of my boyfriend’s bicycle.”

Chasing the Chinese Dream

The article points out that home prices in major cities including Beijing and Shanghai have easily doubled over the last year. “A typical 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bath apartment in the capital now costs about $274,000. That’s 22 times the average annual income of a Beijing resident.”

China bulls, including Stephen Roach says China’s Housing Boom is Not a Bubble; I say “Nonsense”

In China, there are malls, even entire cities that are vacant. A huge percentage of units in China are held for appreciation, never lived in. Yet because there is “demand” for property, Roach claims there is no bubble.

Nonsense.

Ridiculously strong demand is a necessary requirement to produce a bubble. The second requirement is a price increase that exceed the ability of buyers to repay the loans or sell to the next “Greater Fool”.

In the US, home prices rose several standard deviations above rental prices and above wages. The same has happened in China. Thus, China’s property boom is in a bubble state.

For more on China’s property bubble please see 10 Signs of Speculative Mania in China and a followup article, Email from a Chinese on China’s Real Estate Bubble.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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