Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Pre-Marriage Property Ownership Less Realistic Now in China

From Dao Insights:

According to a survey on home ownership before marriage carried out by Hunjia (a Chinese database) as of 2019, over 70% of single respondents born after 1995 stated that they wanted to buy a property before marriage. Likewise, over 80% of female respondents perceived that owning a property is a crucial prerequisite for marriage.

This societal ‘norm’ stems back to generations. Traditionally, to secure a good marriage, grooms would pay the in-laws with either land, gold, or a horse to show off their high economic and societal status.

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Aside from the practice of ‘bridewealth’, according to a survey on home purchasing behaviour carried out by Beike Research Institute in July of 2021, around 75% of respondents both men and women aged 21 to 40 thought that buying a home before getting married would increase their sense of belonging and security. Similarly, many Chinese feel that buying a home can improve their quality of life and gain a foothold in property rights. For example, education, under the Hukou System (China’s registered resident system), children’s admission rights are strongly connected to this. And so, both women and men aim to buy property in a good catchment area for their future children.

The reality of achieving this cultural prerequisite in today’s property climate is becoming more and more difficult. Despite the slight increase in residential home sales and a dip of 0.2% in average new home prices, there is a growing number of unfinished homes which has caused many Chinese homeowners to consequently postpone their marriage and other future arrangements.

In China, future homeowners acquire houses through a pre-pay model, in which buyers purchase apartments that are unfinished. In return, property developers promise to deliver the completed homes within a specified timeframe, but with soaring debt, and a tightening regulatory environment aimed at winding down the industry, many developers have failed to meet their targets. As a consequence, this has left some people making mortgage payments years before being able to move into their home. Although it is common in other countries to pay a deposit on a housing unit before it’s built, unlike China, a mortgage payment is not required until the purchaser takes possession.

Read more here.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2022/09/property-ownership-before-marriage-in-china.html

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