China Ever-bright Bank (光大银行) and the Beijing-headquartered real-estate corporation Homelink (链家地产市场研究中心)jointly published an analytical report, indicating that the average age of people in Beijing who buy their first homes on a housing loan is 27. The average age has been gradually declining year by year, and is now much lower than that in most developed countries (42 in Japan and Germany, 30 in the United States). The report also demonstrates that the average monthly repaying loan is 9004 Yuan (about 1,324 US dollars), which is a considerable financial burden for regular Chinese households. Nevertheless, this financial burden still cannot stop young people in China from purchasing their own homes.
Why Buy a Home at Such a Young Age?
Ninety percent of the young people in China buy their homes by a mortgage loan and most of them get their down payments from their parents. “It is almost impossible for me to buy a home without the support from family,” said one homeowner. Most Chinese parents are willing to spend their life-long savings securing a home for their only son or daughter, because the one-child policy has put the only child to the center of the Chinese family structure. Furthermore, most parents in China still hold the traditional views that “owning a home is the precondition of marriage and settling down” and therefore serve as the primary impetus behind their son or daughter’s home purchasing decision.
The steadily increase in the commodity and housing prices in China also makes young people worry about the potential devaluation of their savings. Buying real estate properties is regarded by most people in China as one of the reliable ways to maintain the value of their fortune.
What Does Owning a Home Mean to Chinese?
For the Chinese people, the word “home” represents more than “a place to live in.” It is also the precondition of marriage, representation of personal competence, as well as a sense of security. Survey results indicate that 60% of the young home owners buy their homes in order to get married. Another 64% of the participants agree that there is a direct relationship between owning a home and a happy life.
Sixty percent of the participants to an online survey agree that “owning a home matters to love and marriage.” One Netizen argues that “owning a home means stability. Problems will occur with time for marriage without a home.” Pressure also come from parents and other family members. Reports show that 70% of the parents would mind if their daughters’ future husbands don’t own a home; 50% of the parents who have a son express a positive attitude in helping their sons to buy a home before marriage. Also, quite a few young couples delay their marriages due to inability to buy a house.
Try a “Naked Marriage”?
“Naked marriage”(裸婚) is a new concept among the post-1980s generation in China. It means marrying without a house, a car, a wedding and even a honeymoon. The word “naked” is used to express a frugal attitude to celebrating new marriage and the preference of love to material conditions. However, males and females hold distinctive attitudes towards “naked marriage” in China.
An online survey indicates that 80% of the male respondents are in favor of “naked marriage,” while 70% of their female counterparts regard “naked marriage” as “absolutely infeasible.” This distinctive gender difference can be explained by the different concerns men and women hold before getting married. Men tend to care more about the pressure they will shoulder, so he would regard “naked marriage” as an effective way to relieve tension, especially in terms of the financial burden. On the other hand, women tend to see more in the future when entering a marriage. They care more about practical issues such as the basic necessities of life (such as food, clothing, housing and transportation), and the birth and education of her children.