Flat price jump prompts hurried marriages

Most people get married for love and to build a family. But people do get married for other reasons, such as to get immigrant status.

In Shanghai (上海), some people these days are getting married fast to buy a flat. This is because unwed newcomers are not allowed to buy property until they become certified residents in Shanghai.

As home prices there are shooting up, people fear there could be more home buying restrictions. This has created a ‘now-or-never’ mentality that is prompting people to get married in a hurry. Some even enter into bogus marriages so that they can buy a home now.

Homes in Shanghai now are 21.4 percent more expensive than a year ago.

Wang, age 25, moved to Shanghai less than a year ago. She has just gotten married and bought a home. “I had planned to marry next year, but the prices jumped so quickly and the whole market sentiment is so filled with anxiety,” she said. She and her new husband bought a new 85-square-metre unit for 4.5 million yuan (HK$5.36 million).

Just two days later, their flat appreciated 270,000 yuan, as the developer raised prices six percent, Wang said.

The property boom in top-tier cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen has accelerated after the Lunar New Year. In Shanghai, people queued up outside property agencies and clogged roads to buy flats. Police has to be called to direct traffic and keep order.

The frenzy prompted Xinhua News Agency (新華社) to warn against ‘panic buying’.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 16 March 2016)

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