Extracts from ‘For Many Chinese Men, No Deed Means No Dates‘, NYTimes, 14 Apr 2011 [hat-tip both Nemesis and Nick] -
“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.”
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.
Han Han, one of China’s most widely read bloggers, frequently assails the government policies that he and many economists say have contributed to rapidly rising prices. In an interview, he said one consequence of the single-minded focus on real estate, or on earning the money to make mortgage payments and repay family loans, is that young people have little time for anything else. “We’ve created a generation of young people whose sole ambition is to have a piece of property under their name,” he said.
While the social ramifications of the owner/renter divide in Vancouver is less extreme, it’s not a million miles from that described in this article. – vreaa