Irrationally high housing price in China's large cities is bringing about a change to urbanites' ways of living and, in an implicit way, is putting some of, if not most of, young people in an awkward situation - a choice between houses and love.
A recent online poll found that nearly half of women chose to become "material girls" - picking men already owning apartments as their husbands.
The poll, byportal websitesohu.com, was intended to test women's preference in choosing fiances and husbands.
Not long ago, real estate magnate Feng Lun asserted "women of marriage age are driving up housing price" in China, where traditions require men to get ready of everything before marrying a goodwife. Having an apartment is becoming a decisive and competitive factor for men.
Blogger Wu Yiren wrote she believed a man should fight against rivals to win his lady's heart and making money to buy an apartment is a man's fight in modern society.
But this "fight" could be bloodier than that between cavaliers. Price of new apartments in Beijing, according to Golden Keys housing research centre, rose 15.2 percent in February over January, a continual buoyant increase since the Millennium.
In the eyes of Blueprint Housing general manager Fu Wenhui, pure love only exists in poems or among innocent kids. "It's a pity, but marriage means tangible responsibilities and materials."
"How can you trust him if the man even cannot buy you an apartment?" she argued.
Asking for a big house from the boyfriend is no longer deemed as unkind or too material-oriented, which used to be sniffed at by gentle women.
Home is something to house a couple, but for many ladies, where home is doesn't really matter as long as they are with the Romeo.
"We are young and promising. If I love him, I will marry him even if he doesn't own an apartment, I believe he is the potential stock," Yan Yan said, adding that she disliked those who expected to change their living status through marriage.
Even though scared off by women's "house desire", some young men participating in the debate tend to be on the back of the practical camp.
In the online survey at Sohu, nonetheless, nearly 56 percent of female netizens prefer to marry the man they truly love, even if he doesn't have money to buy an apartment.
This time, the delicate affection narrowly wins in a battle against stone-cold apartment blocks, but how long its advantage could last? Who knows.
portal website: 门户网站