China's Material Girls II: No Home, No Marriage

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 4/18/2011 12:03:00 AM
Numerous studies in anthropology, social psychology, sociology and so forth corroborate findings that men value physical appearance most in their partners, while women value financial security most among theirs. This phenomenon generally holds across cultures. As it turns out, China's economic boom is exacerbating it in interesting ways.

A year ago, I featured a story on how China's demographic imbalances are causing a commoditization of marriage markets, with services aimed at matching rich men and beautiful women. Well, a year later, we have another story in a similar vein. Not only does it implicate gender imbalances, but the increasing choosiness of marriageable women for men who own real estate. Demographics mean that women can literally afford to be choosier. With home prices rising in China due to its economic renaissance, let's just say the material girls now think the man with the cold, hard, is Always Mr. Right:
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.

Among the qualities they seek in a mate, 50 percent said that financial considerations ranked above all else, with good morals and personality falling beneath the top three requirements. (Not surprisingly, 54 percent of single men ranked beauty first, according to the report, which surveyed 32,000 people and was jointly issued by the Chinese Research Association of Marriage and Family and the All-China Women’s Federation.)
We're living in a material world, indeed:
The marriage competition is fierce, and statistically, women hold the cards. Given the nation’s gender imbalance, an outgrowth of a cultural preference for boys and China’s stringent family-planning policies, as many as 24 million men could be perpetual bachelors by 2020, according to the report.
The PRC's material girls would certainly do Reagan and Thatcher proud. It's like the go-go 80s, China style. What's next, Cosmopolitan China?