70% of China’s women regard “housing, a stable income and some savings” as vital for any man wanting to get married.
And they probably don’t regard architect Dai Haifei’s $300 Beijing ‘egg house’ (pictured) as their ideal.
The data comes from the “2010 China Marital Status Report“, which adds that the man’s personality and morals are only relevant if he meets these 3 requirements.
This is why the dramatic rise in China’s house prices, following the massive stimulus/lending programmes of the past 2 years, is causing such social tension. As China Daily comments, there is a clear risk that “China may breed a new group of bachelors, men caught in the trap of unaffordable houses.”
So far, the leadership seems divided on what to do. Understandably, current premier Wen Jiabao would probably prefer to ignore the problem until his term finishes in 2012. But likely new premier, Li Keqiang, is clearly very concerned that such a delay would then leave him with a bigger problem to solve.
The problem is that the housing crisis, where Beijing homes sell for an average 22 times earnings, is just the tip of the iceberg. As Yu Yongding, a very senior policymaker, noted last week, “the country’s investment rate now stands at more than 50 percent – a clear reflection of China’s low capital efficiency“. And Yu also worried that “investment in real estate development accounts for nearly 25% of the total”.
The blog’s best guess is that those in charge will continue to take small steps, such as Sunday’s interest rate rise, but fail to step hard enough on the brakes. In turn, the current ‘boom’ in China’s demand will continue to support the global chemical industry for the next few months.
But clearly the risk is rising that we may then discover, too late, we have simply been in the middle of yet another China ‘boom and bust’ scenario.