Wang Haijun, a real estate agent on Beijing's east side, said he can always tell when a desperate bachelor walks into his office.
"They're always the least rational buyers," Wang said. "They don't care how little money they have. They just want an apartment as soon as possible. They take on a mortgage with the longest terms and highest interest rates. But they have no choice. They have to get married. I feel sorry for them."
Zhang, [a] language tutor and interpreter, wanted to marry his girlfriend, a receptionist at a language school. The two shared a love for American TV — "Sex and the City" for her and "Lost" for him.
The closer they grew, the more she asked about their future and a home.
"I told her I loved her and would marry her if she didn't mind not having a house," Zhang said. "But she said no. I told her I wanted a house too, but I didn't know how. I'm not rich."
Zhang began checking real estate listings in his neighborhood a year and a half ago. He was stunned. An apartment of about 1,000 square feet cost $150,000. Zhang's parents, who run a modest bakery in northeast China, offered to help. But the $30,000 down payment was still well out of reach.
His girlfriend grew increasingly concerned. She wanted to get married while her grandparents were still healthy and could celebrate her wedding. Last December, she called off the relationship.
- Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2010