Using a 1996 national survey of housing in China and a multilevel modelling
technique, we examine housing tenure choice in transitional urban China wh
ere households have been granted limited freedom of choice in the housing m
arket since the housing reforms of 1988. We find that both market mechanism
s and institutional forces affect households' tenure choice in urban China.
While some socioeconomic factors such as age, household size, household in
come and housing price have similar effects on tenure choice as in the West
, others such as the number of workers and marital status have rather diffe
rent effects. In addition, factors characterising institutional relationshi
ps among the state, work units and households, such as hukou, job rank and
work unit rank, still play important roles in tenure choice.