Cooler housing market builds warmer love
What is the secret ingredient of a long-lasting love? Passion, beauty, humor, mutual understanding or similar mindsets? Those are all key ingredients, yes. But after witnessing the ups and downs of the housing market in Beijing, I would say housing prices should be added to that list.
Falling in love is not hard, but tying the knot and building a family is not easy, especially in a municipality like Beijing where a place of one’s own is indispensable. I cannot deny that by traditional Chinese culture, a house or an apartment seems to hold more value and security than with most of my Western friends. It’s often considered an essential factor for planting roots in a city. In fact, real estate is a rigid demand for couples and families since renting doesn’t work in the long run for many. Why not? Because it’s still a sellers’ market and tenants are in a very vulnerable position in the rental market in China. A landlord can simply decide how happy or miserable your life will be living in their apartment. I have been working in Beijing for five years, and I have already moved five times. No matter what happens, it’s always the tenants who foot the bill. For example, you can do nothing but leave when the landlord suddenly wants to sell his place. You have to endure if he insists on not returning your deposit for no reason. Most rental contracts are signed annually so that they can increase the price annually. You either pay more or leave. After encountering several unpleasant rental experiences, a person yearns for an end to the migratory lifestyle. For couples, the desire to settle down is even stronger. Therefore, changes and trends in the housing market are a hot topic among couples and affect relationships. Beijing’s housing industry witnessed a surge in 2016 and at the beginning of 2017. I still remember the panic and upset when my boyfriend and I pedaled around different communities look- ing at apartments that increase in price every week or even every day. We were not ready to marry or settle down but the rocketing prices kept reminding us that each day our hesitation came at a cost. It was like the stock market where no one wants to buy at the peak, but nobody knows what will happen next. We talked and quarreled a lot over this question as our sense of happiness became hijacked by a seemingly uncertain future.
During that time, a couple of my friends also broke up over their different ideas about apartments. Typically, the man was not willing to settle down, while the woman felt too pressured to wait and watch the prices escalate out of reach.
Fortunately, after a series of policies launched in the first half of the year, the market started to cool in 2017. Housing prices more recently have been dropping constantly and buyers finally no longer feel the need to rush. I feel a sense of relaxation and can focus on my own life based on my will, at my own pace. As for my relationship, we have quarreled less and find we have more time and patience to follow our true feelings. We can grow together until both sides feel it is time to settle.
I have to say that a lower, stable housing market grants couples more space to focus on their own happiness and to follow the natural rhythm of love.
I’m not saying that life essentials like shelter are not important, but we live to love, not love to live, don’t we?