Tropical Geography ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (6): 1004-1014.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003292


Regional Differences in Access to Homeownership for China's Young Generation: A Case Study of Shanghai and Nanjing

Can Cui1,2,3(), Jiayi Li3, Junru Cui3, Wei Xu4, Fenglong Wang1,2,5   

  1. 1.Research Center for China Administrative Division, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
    2.The Center for Modern Chinese City Studies, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
    3.School of Urban and Regional Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    4.Department of Geography, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge T1k 3M4, Canada
    5.School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
  • Received:2020-03-19 Revised:2020-06-07 Online:2020-11-30 Published:2020-12-10


Homeownership crucially affects the quality of life of residents and the social stability of society. Therefore, access to homeownership has been extensively studied in the fields of housing studies, human geography, and sociology. In recent years, with the rapid rise in housing prices, China's young generation has been facing obstacles in accessing homeownership, which has attracted considerable attention from the media and scholars. Most of the existing literature centers on the debate of the "market transition theory" and "power persistence hypothesis", which focus on the impacts of market and institutional factors on homeownership acquisition. However, limited attention has been paid to regional variations in the influencing factors. There are widening differences in housing prices, housing purchase regulations, and demographic structures between cities and regions, which may result in variegated effects on the young generation's access to homeownership. To fill this gap in literature, this paper re-visits the "market transition theory" and "power persistence hypothesis" by comparing Shanghai and Nanjing, which are first-tier and second-tier cities, respectively, within the Yangtze River Delta. Based on the Yangtze River Delta Social Transformation Survey and Nanjing Housing Survey in 2013 and employing logistic regressions, this study investigates the factors that affect the young generation's housing tenure and the differences between the two cities. The results show that there are greater location differences within the city and more institutional barriers compared to Nanjing. The young generation's access to homeownership in Shanghai is associated closely with residential location, hukou status, and being a communist party member working in the public sector. In contrast, market factors such as educational attainment, job mobility, and demographic factors, including age and whether one is a parent, exert relatively little influence in Shanghai, but have significant influence in Nanjing. This study contributes to deepening our understanding of the regional variations in factors that influence homeownership acquisition among China's young generation. Furthermore, it sheds light on the implementation of the "different policies for different cities" strategy and the establishment of a long-term effective regulation system for the real estate market.

Key words: homeownership acquisition, regional difference, market transition theory, power persistence hypothesis, young generation, Shanghai, Nanjing

CLC Number: 

  • K901