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Should Chinese Men Buy a House?

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Submitted By ericzou
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Should Chinese Men Buy a House? Mr. Zou, who did not get married until he bought a house when he was 35 years old, sold his house last year and earned an extra profit about 200,000 RMB. In China, much more men did not get married because they did not own a house; however, housing price keeps soaring. According to National Bureau of Statistics of China, from 2001 to 2011, during the 10 years, the average selling price of commercialized buildings in China has increased 147% from 2170RMB to 5357RMB per square meter, especially in metropolitan cities like Beijing, Shanghai which increased 243% and 310% respectively. Nowadays, most youth and their parents in China are concerned about the price of apartment and hesitate to buy it; however, during the hesitation, the price has reached a high record. In my opinion, Chinese men should not only buy a house but purchase it as soon as possible because of the impact of traditional custom, fierce marriage market and the best investment strategy.
To begin with, if people especially men want to get married; they would better possess a house at first because of the traditional customs. Confucius, who was born in 2500 years ago, was a philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. The philosophy of Confucius has a great, deep and persistent impact on each generation in China until now. One of his most famous proverbs is “to rightly govern the state, it is necessary first to regulate one's own family” (Dawson, 1915) which in Chinese, means the man should process a permanent house and have a harmonious family before he has the capacity to govern the country. What’s more, another sacred philosopher Lao-Tsu seems to be the best-known Chinese philosopher to the western world, through his short treatise the Laozi or Daodejing, consisting of more than 5,000 Chinese characters, which has been the most frequently translated Chinese book (Shen, 1971). “Let them relish their food, beautify their clothing, be content with their homes, and delight in their customs.” is one of most famous proverbs. Under the influence of Lao-tzu and his philosophical view, Chinese people would chase the life goal of buying a house and settling down. They prefer a stable and peaceful life style and do not want to take risk. To this day, most Chinese people still have the concept of having their own house instead of renting a house for the reason that, comparing to buying a house, renting an apartment means more uncertain. For instance, leaser may not sign the lease contract with the renter any more so the renter should pack up and move out within a couple of days. What’s more, each time of moving house, it costs lots of money, time and energy, such as trucking expenses, time for finding another house and packing and energy in dealing with a bunch of trivial things. On the contrary, house ownership makes them feel that everything is stable and less risky so they can concentrate on their family and job.
Secondly, stress from women and the more and more competitive marriage market stimulate man to buy a house. In the ancient time, women always relied on men. Even to this day, according to National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council (2012), about 70% of women consider that men should only get married after buying their own house. It’s easy to deduce that most Chinese females prefer to marry a man who possesses apartment for the reason that she does not need to worry about the financial strains and poor living standard in the future because at least she and her husband have a house which is valued. As explained by Shuo (2010), the unnormal value of marriage in China mirrors the fact that most part of women considered marriage as another form of “social welfare”. The requirement from women makes men feel stressful so the men work hard for making enough money to buy a house. What’s worst, nowadays, men in China confront the most challenging thing—increasing male to female ratio; as the 6th Population Census states(2010), the ratio is 104.9% which means, on average, one in twenty men cannot get married. As a result, the competition in marriage market is fierce. Furthermore, even though woman agree to marry a man who has no house, her parents always demand their daughter’s fiancé to buy a house or they will not allow their daughter to marry him. For example, according to Li (2013), a high-income man forged a property ownership certificate to cheat his girlfriend’s mother so that her mother would allow her daughter to marry him. At last, the man was arrested. After considering the factors above, if the man owns a commercial building, it improves probability of getting married with his beloved women.
Thirdly, the average selling price of a commercial residential building is increasing dramatically; investment in property is one of the best investment strategies. According to the 2012 Statistic Yearbook, the average selling price of commercialized buildings in China has increased 147% during the 2002 to 2012 which means average 14.7% rise per year. Comparing to other investment strategies, housing investment has higher profits and is safer. To give an example, for people who purchased stocks on June 19th 2001 when the Shanghai Securities Composite Index was 2065, it only increased 10.5% during the past decade which meant that people can merely earn approximate 1% profit per year. Comparing to bank saving, if people deposit their money for the interest, which is 3% declared by The People’s Bank of China, they can get 3% for interest yearly which is much lower than the profits from investment in property. Furthermore, during the past 10 years, the house price continuously ascended and its extent is much larger than other investments so people will pay much higher price the later they buy.
However, someone would say that there is a housing bubble in China. According to Krainer (2003), “A house price bubble can be defined simply as a deviation of the market price from the fundamental value of the house”. There is no denying that the housing price increases sharply year by year; nevertheless, that does not mean it is a bubble but a normal rise because of the intensive demand and currency devaluation. Cao et al. (2012) found that, “Rapid urbanization was driven by economic growth of over 9% annually from 1978 to 2007” and “China’s urban population increased by over 300%, from 172.5 to 606.7 million, between 1978 and 2008”. Moreover, they assumed that urban population in China will approximately double from 2000 to 2030. Therefore, we can forecast that the demand of house will become increasingly stronger and will shoot the housing price up. Furthermore, currency devaluation is another factor that impacts the housing price. In China, currency devaluation embodies in the increasing consumer price. For example, 100 Yuan can buy 4 cups of Starbucks latte years ago but now it can only buy 3 cups. Another impressed reported that pork price in 2011 has increased 40.4% which hinted that the currency devaluation is serious (Yan, 2011). For the same reason, the currency devaluation leads to the increase of housing price.
In conclusion, deeply affected by traditional custom and stimulated by the fierce marriage market, men have a strong willing in possessing a house; furthermore, investment in real estate which appreciates increasingly is one of the best investment strategies for men. If a man owns a house, he will not worry about that his family will be kicked out from a rental house by the leaser and his family should deal with lots of trivial things about moving house. If a man owns a house, his family can decorate it in whatever style they want instead of accepting all the limitation, requirement set by leaser. If a man owns a house, he can concentrate on his job and his family rather than disturbed and distracted by the housing issues. Therefore, man should not only buy a house but purchase it as soon as possible.

Cao, G. Y., Chen, G., Pang, L. H., Zheng, X. Y., & Nilsson, S. (2012). Urban growth in China: past, prospect, and its impacts. Population and Environment, 33(2-3), 137-160.
Dawson, M. M. (1915). The ethics of Confucius: the sayings of the master and his disciples upon the conduct of" the superior man,". Putnam.
Krainer, J. (2003). House price bubbles. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Economic Letters, 6.
Li, F. (2013, May 27). What do You Think a High-Income Man Faked a Property Ownership Certificate to Cheat His Parent-in-Laws?. Guangzhou Daily.
Retrieved from National Bureau of Statistics of China. (2012). Average Selling Price of Commercialized Buildings by Use. Beijing, Hubei: Author.
Retrieved from
National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council. (2012). China Releases Chinese Marriage Situation Survey Report 2011. Beijing, Hubei. Retrieved from
Shanghai Stock Exchange. (2013). History of K Line. Market statistics. Retrieved from
Shen, V. (1971). Laozi (Lao Tzu). Philosophical Quarterly, 15, 213-235.
Shuo, H. (2010, December 23). Housing and Marriage. Chinadaily.
Retrieved from The People’s Bank of China. (2012, July 8). PBC Has Decided to Cut RMB Benchmark Deposit and Loan Interest Rates. Retrieved from
Yan. (2011, June 28). Pork prices continue to rise in China. Xinhua News.
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