More Chinese women buying houses independently: survey
More women in China are investing into themselves by purchasing properties as housing in the country is now regarded as providing a better sense of security than men.

A high-level forum on female consumption released its 2017 Bluebook on Lives of Women last Wednesday, indicating most Chinese women have started to buy homes independently. More specifically, 69.6 percent of women reached by the survey said they own properties in their own name.

Back in 2016, Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research at the National Association of Realtors, was quoted as saying that more and more young women were buying houses after several years’ turbulence in the world economy. Apparently, Chinese women have followed the international trend of “consumption upgrade”, although they are doing it for different reasons.

Owning a housing is a must in China, while it is not easy to acquire it through marriage. Based on a survey of a match-making websites, around 70 percent of women want their blind date to be a homeowner.

Between 1995 and 2005, 95 percent of homes and 80 percent of household-savings in China were registered under husbands’ names. Since 2010, women’s family status began to rise. “By 2011, 37.9 percent of women owned or jointly owned at least one real estate property,” based on a decade-long survey on women’s social status jointly compiled by the All-China Women’s Federation, a national women’s rights organization, and the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

Despite the fact that only a small share of homeowners are female, 85.2 percent of women felt “fairly satisfied or quite satisfied” with their family status. The data reflect that women’s family status is not fully connected to the name on property ownership certificate, but more to their decision-making power in household operation, investment, and home-purchasing. The survey indicated more than 70 percent of women were capable of participating in major family decisions.
Just as Eileen Chang (September 30, 1920-September 8, 1995), one of the most influential modern Chinese writers wrote, “Modern marriage is an insurance policy invented by women.” Although women were not financially capable of buying a home, they have influence on household investment to make sure every penny of men would be spent on them or their families.
Many years ago, women in the country asked for the “three major items” which were refrigerator, television and washing machine; now the three top things demanded by brides are “house, car and money”. As one famous quote goes, “Only a house could prove your sincerity and bring me orgasm and sense of security.”
However, marriage sometimes provides merely a fantasy of independence. If property rights were not clearly defined, once marriage failed, women may be deprived not only of ownership to their homes but also the right to live in there. Based on a relevant research, in big cities, 52.6 percent of women who apply for government financial support cite the reason of no stable residence. Once urban women get divorced, those with no ownership to properties may find it difficult to make ends meet.
If marriage could not be counted on, it would be wise for women to invest into themselves. Based on data from the Maitian Real Estate Agency from March 2016 to February 2017, over 40 percent of high-end second-hand home buyers were females.
In conclusion, the “consumption upgrade” of middle-class women in China comes from a stronger sense of property rights. If younger females could not afford big houses, they could at least buy cozy little ones.
According to the 2017 Bluebook on Lives of Women, women in three major occupations have bigger chance of owning their own homes, which are self-employed business owner, corporate partner, and civil servant.

The article is based on a New Weekly report. 


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