Friday, April 15, 2011
For Many Chinese Men, No Deed Means No Dates
April 14, 2011
In the realm of eligible bachelors, Wang Lin has a lot to recommend him. A 28-year-old college-educated insurance salesman, Mr. Wang has a flawless set of white teeth, a tolerable karaoke voice and a three-year-old Nissan with furry blue seat covers.
“My friends tell me I’m quite handsome,” he said in confident English one recent evening, fingering his car keys as if they were a talisman.
But by the exacting standards of single Chinese women, it seems, Mr. Wang lacks that bankable attribute known as real property. Given that even a cramped, two-bedroom apartment on the dusty fringe of the capital sells for about $150,000, Mr. Wang’s $900-a-month salary means he may forever be condemned to the ranks of the renting.
Last year, he said, this deficiency prompted a high-end dating agency to reject his application. In recent months, half a dozen women have turned down a second meeting after learning that he had no means to buy a home.
“Sometimes I wonder if I will ever find a wife,” said Mr. Wang, who lives with his parents, retired factory workers who remind him of his single status with nagging regularity. “I feel like a loser.”
There have been many undesirable repercussions of China’s unrelenting real estate boom, which has driven prices up by 140 percent nationwide since 2007, and by as much as 800 percent in Beijing over the past eight years. Working-class buyers have been frozen out of the market while an estimated 65 million apartments across the country bought as speculative investments sit empty.
The frenzy starts with the local governments that sell off land at steep prices, and is frothed up by overeager developers who force residents out of old neighborhoods, sometimes prompting self-immolations among the dispossessed. But largely overlooked is the collateral damage to urban young professionals, especially men, who increasingly find themselves lovelorn and despairing as a growing number of women hold out for a mate with a deed.
Although there are few concrete ways to measure the scope of involuntary bachelorhood, more than 70 percent of single women in a recent survey said they would tie the knot only with a prospective husband who owned a home.
Posted by Yulie Foka at 11:02 AM