New housing rules may lead to divorce surge

08:40, May 04, 2010      

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Home buyers may resort to divorce or postponing marriage to get around the new housing regulations aimed at squeezing the real estate bubble in China, a report in the Economic Information Daily found.

On April 15, the central government decided to raise the down payment requirement for a family purchasing a second house from 40 percent to 50 percent, with the mortgage rate 1.1 times the benchmark interest rate.

Moreover, a much higher down payment and mortgage rate would be required for the third home and beyond.

A couple in Changsha in Central China's Hunan province found they would have to pay an extra 50,000 yuan and 100,000 yuan for the down payment and loan interest, respectively, under the new regulations, for their estimated 720,000 yuan second apartment.

However, the real estate agents dug out a convenient shortcut for the couple to save the increased 150,000 yuan cost--getting a divorce.

"The home regulations are family-based, thus I can pay a 30 percent down payment and enjoy the 15 percent discount in mortgage rate once I get divorced and become single," the husband calculated, "then we can remarry after the purchase."

And facing similar situations, others are postponing marriage in order to buy an apartment under the conditions of the old housing policies.

A lawyer surnamed Feng in Changsha told the Economic Information Daily that freely marrying and divorcing are protected by law even if the two sides do it out of some ulterior motive.



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